How To Properly Store Moonshine After Opening It
Knowing how to properly store your moonshine after opening it is just as important as knowing how to distill it in the first place. A single wrong move can lead to changes in your drink’s flavor and aroma. Luckily, by following a few tips, you’ll be able to store your moonshine like a pro.
To properly store moonshine, you have to pick the right container, which should be made of glass. You also have to keep your moonshine away from heat and sunlight, and you have to reseal it tightly after opening. It’s best not to let it sit too long after you open it.
Let’s take a detailed look at what you should do to store your shine once you’ve opened it. Knowing the right steps to follow will allow you to maximize not just the pleasure of drinking your meticulously-crafted beverage, but also your safety.
Choosing the Proper Container
Once you’ve made a satisfying batch of moonshine, which has successfully passed a taste test, it is ready to be poured into a bottle or other container. There are three options you can choose from:
- Glass bottles and jars
- Ceramic jugs
- Plastic bottles and jars
These containers are not made equal, so you must carefully filter out your options. Let’s examine these materials and see if they’re good choices for storing moonshine.
Glass is the best material for moonshine containers, as well as all other beverages. This is because it does not affect the taste of the drinks. It also prevents them from spoiling and going bad.
It is a particularly good material for storing moonshine for prolonged periods. Glass is not permeable to CO2 and O2, which means that your moonshine will oxidize less and be able to maintain a consistent taste.
Additionally, glass goes through the process of alkalization. This process ensures that there are no substances that can leach into your moonshine. The less substances leach into it; the longer your moonshine will preserve its original taste.
Any glass container will do great for your moonshine. People either store theirs in glass bottles or mason jars, and both options will work just fine, provided that you’ve sealed them properly. Mason jars look a bit cooler, however, and they’re ideal for smaller quantities of moonshine.
Don’t pick containers that are bigger than necessary. For the best results, there has to be as little air as possible in the bottle to prevent oxidation.
Storing moonshine in a ceramic jug is the traditional way to go. The stoneware industry in America started in the south of the country, just like the moonshine industry. This made ceramic jugs a natural choice of container for storing and transporting the drink.
Storing your moonshine in a ceramic jug will give it a vintage vibe and is sure to impress your friends, particularly at parties and similar events. You can make even more of an impact by serving moonshine in cool-looking individual jugs.
However, many ceramic containers contain lead, which can easily get into your drink and cause health problems, so make sure to choose an option that’s labeled as food-safe.
It is safest not to use old containers and to opt for something made according to current regulations.
Plastic is the worst option for storing moonshine and other drinks. It is not a good choice because it is very permeable to CO2 and O2, which will alter the taste of your drink and make it go bad sooner.
Plastic bottles and other containers leach into your drinks very easily, polluting them with potentially harmful substances, unlike glass.
Therefore, you should avoid plastic containers completely. Some people recommend them because they’re cheap, but it’s best to spend some more money and protect the taste of your moonshine.
Where To Store Your Moonshine
Now that your moonshine sits tightly in an appropriate container, it’s time to find the right place for it.
Your moonshine should be stored away from direct sunlight and heat, preferably in a slightly cooler environment.
The perfect place for a bottle of moonshine is a wine cellar or a pantry without heating and direct sunlight. If that is not an option, you can store it in your drink cabinet in the living room or bedroom. It will be good to go as long as it’s away from sunlight and heat.
Sunlight is the main enemy of moonshine. The UV rays can heat up the beverage, changing its chemical composition and ruining its taste.
While moonshine that accidentally got in the sunlight for an hour or two won’t necessarily be toxic or dangerous, it will taste off and won’t be a pleasant drink at all. This might prompt you to pour it down the sink, wasting good shine.
Ceramic jugs can protect your moonshine from direct sunlight to some extent. If you have no choice but to store your moonshine in a place that occasionally gets hit by direct sunlight, put it in a ceramic jug.
Apart from sunlight and heat, you should also keep your moonshine away from pets and kids. Alcohol can be highly toxic for them, especially if it’s a drink with an especially high percentage, so you don’t want to take any chances.
Refrigerating your moonshine is not necessary. This is particularly true for pure moonshine, which has no sugar, so there’s nothing to spoil in the literal sense of the word.
Even after opening, you can simply tightly reseal the bottle and put it back in its dark and cool place. You shouldn’t leave it there for too long, though. The beverage is best to drink within a few months to prevent it from changing its taste.
However, not all moonshine is pure. Sometimes, people add fruit to it, particularly if it’s commercial moonshine. Adding fruit to your moonshine makes it taste better but also adds sugar from the fruit, making it more prone to spoiling.
Since fruit moonshine has a shorter shelf life and is more likely to spoil, it is not a bad idea to put it in your refrigerator once you’ve opened it. This will extend its shelf life a bit and allow you to enjoy it a bit longer.
Additionally, refrigerating moonshine can make it go down smoother. If that is your preference, leave it in the fridge. It won’t harm the taste in any way, plus it will keep it away from light and heat.
How Long Can Moonshine Last?
Pure, unopened moonshine can last indefinitely. After opening, you should drink within six months. Moonshine with fruit can last shorter because its sugars can cause bacterial growth and spoil it.
Luckily for you, moonshine can technically never go bad. Moonshine is distilled until there is absolutely no sugar left in it, so there is very little in it that can spoil. This is particularly true for pure unopened moonshine that you sealed and stored properly.
It is also important to note that moonshine with a higher alcohol content will last longer. The high alcohol content will basically act as a preservative and save it from spoiling.
The situation is a bit different when it comes to moonshine with fruit and commercial moonshine. Both types contain either added sugar or fructose and other sugars from the fruit (or both). The higher sugar content may promote bacterial growth, spoiling your shine.
It is difficult to estimate how long these moonshines may last since there is no standardized procedure for making moonshine. The estimates are usually between a few years to a few months after making it if it is unopened.
When it comes to opened commercial or fruit moonshine, it’s best to finish them right after opening the bottle. You may leave the bottle in the fridge for a few days or a week or two, but it’s best to play it safe and finish it as quickly as possible.
Of course, this moonshine will not kill you or make you blind, but you probably don’t want to spend a few days in bed recovering from alcohol poisoning. As always, it’s best to play it safe.
How To Know if Your Moonshine Has Gone Bad
You may have opened a bottle of moonshine, had a few drinks, and then put it back, forgetting about it. Then, you find it sometime later, but you’re unsure if you can still drink it safely. There are a few things to do to check if it’s still good.
- Check the taste.
- Check the color.
- Do a spoon test.
Checking if your moonshine is still fit for drinking is very easy. Let’s look at what you need to do and pay attention to.
Check the Taste
Of course, I’m not encouraging you to drink unsafe moonshine, but a little sip to check the taste will not harm you.
If your moonshine tastes foul or worse than expected, it has gone bad.
If it is simply different; if there’s a deeper aroma, and it feels positively different, then it is still good to drink, it has only aged a little.
Even if you accidentally ingest more than a sip of moonshine that’s off, you will not be in grave danger, provided that the moonshine was distilled properly in the first place. You may get your stomach pumped in the worst-case scenario, but you’ll live to tell the tale.
Check the Color
Color changes may indicate that there is something wrong with your moonshine. Of course, if it is slightly darker or lighter, that may come because of aging, and the drink is most likely fine.
However, if your moonshine has acquired an interesting nuclear green tinge, then it is definitely off. I’m exaggerating a bit, but if your moonshine’s color has changed drastically, then there is something wrong with it, and you should throw it away.
Do a Spoon Test
“Spoon test” is quite a misleading name for what you’re about to do. A better name would be “burning test” since the test boils down to burning a bit of your moonshine.
Take a spoonful of moonshine and set it on fire. If the light is blue, the moonshine is likely safe to drink. If it burns yellow or red, that means there’s lead in it, which means that you should dispose of it.
This test is not the most accurate, as there may be other pollutants in your moonshine that don’t create a specific color when burned. However, if you suspect lead contamination, this is a good trick to check if there’s any.
What Happens if You Drink Bad Moonshine?
If you drink moonshine that has been sitting for too long, you can get much drunker, have a terrible hangover, and you might even need a stomach pump. Drinking moonshine that wasn’t distilled properly can cause blindness and even death.
Drinking moonshine that is slightly off will probably not cause any significant harm. If it just tastes bad, you can suffer from nausea, but you won’t necessarily suffer from more serious problems. The bad taste will probably just deter you from drinking.
If something else goes wrong, you will probably get much drunker, leading to a worse hangover. You can expect nausea, diarrhea, and a splitting headache. If you go wild with it, you might end up hospitalized for a day or two until the alcohol is flushed out of your system.
Of course, if your moonshine wasn’t properly distilled and contains methanol, it will be dangerous no matter how fresh it is. Even a tiny amount of methanol can damage your eyesight, and a larger quantity can kill you.
Make sure you reseal your moonshine bottle tightly after opening it and put it in a cool dark place. Don’t let it sit for too long after. If you’ve got moonshine that contains fruit, it’s best to put it in the fridge after opening.
This is because fruit moonshine can spoil more easily, which is why you also shouldn’t let it sit as long as the traditional variety. It’s best to drink it a few months after making it or a few days after opening.