Manhattan Cocktail Classic Review

Chasing the White Dog: The History of Moonshine with the Legendary Junior Johnson and the Craft of Distilling Today.

Max Watman, author of “Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw’s Adventures in Moonshine”, led a panel discussion with legendary moonshiner, Junior Johnson. They were accompanied by craft distiller, Joe Michalek. The discussion reviewed the roots of moonshine in the American South. Junior gave first-hand stories and accounts of what it was like to produce the product as well as distribute it, which sometimes involved hair-raising chases with Revenuers on the rural roads of North Carolina! When asked how he got in the business, Junior’s response was-“Well, my Daddy was in it, and his Daddy was in it since 1900, so it just seemed natural.” Those crazy days of outrunning revenuers honed his driving ability which he parlayed in NASCAR stardom and the Hall of Fame.  His experiences in the ‘shine trade and racing made for a great story-telling hour. Max, who did a great job at directing the discussion, has become a moonshiner himself to research and help write his new book, which is a great read! Joe discussed how his Piedmont Distillers combines the traditions of old moonshine with modern innovations to create the high quality “Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon” and “Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine.”

Reviews on the spirits:

• “Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine” –  Smoother than you would think. Very viscous and a bit strong. It was flavored and had a creamy cherry characteristic. Not for the weak drinker but a nicely made spirit.

• “Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon” – A lower proof than the old ‘shine at 80 proof, it still had a nice kick. It was silky and viscous with little flavor per say and did not burn, as I would have suspected.


This was a fascinating time in American history, one which I am personally enthralled with. Look for a full story in the fall edition of in the Mix, “From Moonshine to NASCAR.”