OF MICE AND MINESTRONE by Joe R. Lansdale preview: “The Watering Shed” and “Watering Shed Moonshine”
Watering Shed Moonshine
After the Watering Shed got slapped with a few citations for distributing moonshine without a license, they quit making it in the bathtub, letting it ferment for weeks at a time, and started using the stove. Seemed like a novel idea, you ask me. Not being much of a drinker myself, I couldn’t really taste the difference of that made in the tub and that on the stove. Either way, it all has a flavor about
as subtle as rocket fuel.
Enough cinnamon sticks that is starts to smell like Christmas (about 10)
1 gallon apple cider (see below *)
4 cups apple juice (You can buy it at any Piggly Wiggly.)
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
Everclear, 190 proof (only illegal in some states)
(If you happen to be a Yankee—anywhere outside of Texas—you may need to find a high-proof alcohol alternative. You’ll need a little over 3 cups.)
1 cup rum, 70 proof (Rumor has it that Shank uses Captain Morgan, and has even used up to 2 cups per batch instead of 1.)
And gather up 12-ish Mason jars and their lids from whatever jams you and your cousins have finished off.
*Easy way to make apple cider:
1/3 bushel fresh Delicious apples
Clean the apples and cut out any rough spots. Leave the skins, no need to make extra work for yourself. Quarter them and toss them in the blender until they look like applesauce. Get you a cheesecloth, and place that mush on top of it. With the cloth over a bowl, start squeezing like you’re milking a goat. There. Fresh apple cider.
Making the shine:
Take the sticks (cinnamon, that is), apple cider, and apple juice, and put them together in a big pot on a stove or over a campfire and bring it to a mild simmer. When it looks like Leonard’s bathwater, add in the sugars and stir 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar is gone. Turn off the heat and go find you a book. Read that book, then come back and check on the shine. Now that the mixture is at room
temperature or slightly below, stir in the Everclear and the rum. (If you skip reading the book and go straight to adding the booze, it’ll burn off some of the alcohol.) Now you can pour that soul-scorching nectar into a Mason jar, and if you’re feeling fancy, you can add a cinnamon stick inside there too. Pinkies up.