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10.15.10 by  

Hooch Patrol: Forbidden Cocktails.

Our hunt for Moonshine takes us straight to New Orleans.

The authorities haven’t got anything on Cochon Restaurant in New Orleans. Stop in for Chef Donald Link’s world-renowned Cajun cuisine and ask your bartender to pair it with a customized moonshine cocktail. We caught up with Bar Manager Will Davis to make sure that what he’s serving us won’t put us behind bars.

served raw: your bar features an interesting variety of bourbons … any that should be on our radar.

Will Davis: Of course I’m gonna say that I love all of our bourbons, but if I had to pick a few that stand out from our selection, I would go with these:

— Black Maple Hill is a nice smooth bourbon bottled in small batches from Black Maple Hill Distilling Co. in Bardstown, Kentucky. Sippin’ on Black Maple Hill is perfect for sitting on the back porch and enjoying the autumn breeze.

— Noah’s Mill is another small batch bourbon I enjoy. Distilled in Bardstown, Kentucky, it’s a class-act spirit that has tastes of vanilla and caramel. A little strong at first, but drinkable, at 114.3 proof.

— Elmer T. Lee is a single-barrel variety from the makers of Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, Kentucky. This is a good starter bourbon for someone who wants to expand their horizons.

Headquarters for legal moonshine cocktailing.

you’ve also got moonshine … can you talk about that or is it off limits?

Traditionally, the name moonshine is given to any liquor that is illegally sold or produced. It has to be made of 100 percent corn and aged and bottled for no less than 30 days. It also contains sugar, yeast, sour mash and water. Other terms for moonshine are Mountain Dew, Hooch, White Lightning, etc. It’s illegal because the moonshine producer, or moonshiner” is not taxed or the location of where it’s made is not registered. Today, moonshine is taxed and some aren’t necessarily made with corn, like Catdaddy Moonshine, which is one of our more popular brands. It tastes like nutmeg and cinnamon and can be served more as a dessert liquor. Moonshine is as true to the Southern American experience as the Louisiana Cajun heritage.

are you mixing moonshine cocktails?

Most certainly! I have a cocktail called the Boss Hogg, named after the one and only commissioner of Hazzard County from my childhood. I also make The Dukes of Hazzard cocktail which has moonshine, cucumber vodka, watermelon juice and limeade. It’s great for the summer because of the watermelons we get from the local farmer’s market. I don’t know how much longer I can keep it on the menu, though. We also have a Hillbilly Mary cocktail. It’s our version of a bloody mary made with Junior Johnson Carolina Lemon Moonshine and Cochon’s spicy bloody mary mix. It’s great for the fall and for Saints season.

how do you incorporate a Southern feel into the food and cocktails at Cochon?

Besides serving Southwestern Louisiana cuisine, we like to incorporate ingredients and produce as local as possible. Our forager goes out to the farmer’s markets at least twice a week finding the freshest local vegetables. Just like our cocktails, I try to find whatever is in season and come up with the herb or ingredient would complement that spirit, without making it too “fou-fou” — just a simple cocktail that tastes good.

let’s talk about Southern food and cocktail pairing …

I would prefer to pair wine or a good cider with our pig-friendly menu, but if I had to choose a one of our cocktails, it would be the Orange Whiskey Cocktail. It has Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Peychaud’s bitters, fresh squeezed orange juice, a little simple syrup and splash of soda, and pairs well with our slow-roasted pulled pork and pickled turnips. The citrus in the cocktail complements the dish well.

Southern bar bites and moonshine, the theme of your next party.

The Dukes of Hazzard

What would you do while drinking moonshine in Hazzard County?

  • 1 1/2 ounces Junior Johnson Carolina Moonshine
  • 1/2 ounce Square One Cucumber Vodka
  • 4 ounces fresh watermelon juice
  • 1 ounce homemade limeade
  1. Shake over ice, then strain into a tall collins glass filled with fresh ice.