I generally avoid flavored spirits, but last week I was drawn to the Midnight Moon Moonshine section at the local ABC store and decided to try their Cherry Shine ($24). Perhaps it was memories of sipping Hungarian Bonbon meggy likőr. The spirit is produced by North Carolina's Piedmont Distillers, Inc. and according to their website "is inspired by Junior Johnson’s legendary moonshine recipe". As a reminder, Johnson was a moonshine and NASCAR legend who transitioned from running moonshine to auto racing. In between her served time for his illegal activities but was eventually pardoned by President Reagan. In 2007 Johnson became part owner of Piedmont Distillers with founder Joe Michalek.
Piedmont distills in traditional copper pot stills and the base spirit for the Midnight Moonshine Cherry is made from a corn mash cut to 100 proof with filtered water. The only flavoring comes from real cherries added to the mason jar. This is a strong whiskey, not necessarily hot, but nevertheless strong at 50% alcohol. There's a little heat on the nose but the sour cherries ease the heat on the palate providing a tart and slightly sweet profile. And it's pleasantly sweet and tart, not syrupy. All in all it's rather addicting -- particularly the soaked cherries.