Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Outlaw’s paradise: Frisco bar sells largest selection of moonshine in DFW
At Mash'd, moonshine is in the cocktails and the food. It's even on the walls.
FRISCO In the 1920s, making moonshine was illegal, punishable by imprisonment. In 2013, moonshine has bubbled back up, and now it's legally available at a new bar in Frisco, whose owners boast that they sell North Texas' largest supply of hooch.
“We love it because it really is so unbelievably American,” said co-owner David Kazarian, also a partner at TruFire Kitchen & Bar in Frisco. “It's the archetype for American spirits.”
Moonshine, by textbook definition, is un-aged corn whiskey. It’s a clear, neutrally-flavored liquor that averages 80 proof (40% alcohol) commercially, though there are likely plenty of illegal moonshining operations today.
Since moonshine is technically whiskey, it requires a distiller's permit from the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission to be legally manufactured and distributed (as with any spirit), according to Carolyn Beck, director of communications and governmental relations for TABC.
The liquor is so misunderstood by mainstream American culture that the government does not officially recognize it, said Evan Batt, co-owner of Carrollton distiller JEM Beverage Co., which manufactures its own South House Moonshine line. That means moonshine is both the American matriarch of spirits and the newest trend.
“On our jars you’ll see it’s classified as a ‘blended whiskey,’” Batt said, adding that the process, not the government label, is what makes the liquor moonshine.
JEM Beverage Co. adheres to an old-fashioned method of distilling. According to Batt, that entails using cooper pot stills to distill flavors like apple pie and peach in addition to the original blend. After distillation, the alcohol content is cut so it's palatable.
Mash’d sells more than 25 flavors of moonshine from eight distillers around the U.S., and the liquor is used in many forms. Specialty cocktails — listed on the menu under “hillbilly mixology” — reinvent classic drinks like the mojito. Mash’d Blue Moon Mojito (pictured above) combines blueberries, Ole Smoky original moonshine, fresh lime, sugar cane and mint. It's served in a mason jar.
Patrons at Mash'd can also substitute moonshine for other liquors such as vodka or whiskey in mixed drinks. Shots of moonshine come in miniature mason jar shot glasses. Prices range from $6-8 per serving; specialty cocktails cost closer to $10.
Kazarian and his partners Jay Clark and Robert Wechsler chose moonshine as their poison to incorporate a Cajun flair to Mash’d. That influence extends to menu items like po’boys and seafood by the pound. The other items are a combination of Tex-Mex like tacos, fajitas and guacamole, and fusion dishes like "Asian scampi."
Comparable to a sports bar, the space is 4,500 square feet with seating for 200 indoor and outdoor on a patio connected by garage doors.
Moonshine isn't just in the drinks, it's also on the walls: One of the restaurant’s defining features is the massive moonshine display of more than 500 bottles. Moonshine is also used in the restaurant’s barbecue sauce and seafood stock. A caramel-flavored moonshine is in the homemade whipped cream. And Moonshiners, a show on the Discovery Channel, plays on loop in the men’s restroom.
Moonshine overload? Maybe, but this is one place in Dallas-Fort Worth where you can feel like a rebel within the comfortable limits of the law.Follow @tineywristwatch