The concept of “legal moonshine” is very puzzling to a girl like me who grew up in North Alabama near the foothills that are the very end of the Appalachians. Isn’t legal moonshine an oxymoron? I’d heard lots of hushed stories about moonshine, but never sampled it, so when I saw it on the menu at Cochon (Donald Link’s very popular new restaurant in New Orleans), I ordered a glass to see what all the fuss was about. There were several choices-Catdaddy, Georgia Moon, Virginia White Lightning, and Conecuh Ridge—but our waiter recommended the Catdaddy.

I lifted the shot glass, threw my head back and gulped it down. Expecting a raw burn in my throat, I got a pleasurable tingle instead. The first hit was one of sweet vanilla and maybe a bit of nutmeg. Our waiter said that he could always taste a bit of citrus—maybe mandarin orange—but I didn’t get that at all. After the first gulp, the smooth sweetness sort of lingered in my mouth and was quite nice. So nice, in fact, that I declined dessert just to hold on to that moonshine magic a moment longer.

If you’re wondering what moonshine even is, it’s distilled corn liquor made in a still of copper pots. Catdaddy is made by Piedmont Distillers in the hills of western North Carolina. Check out their website and see how it’s made. You don’t even have to worry about the “revenuers”. For more information, check out