Moonshine Cocktail

savvyhousekeeping classic cocktail moonshine gin absinthe vermouth maraschino
The other day I decided to try the classic Moonshine Cocktail. I got the recipe from The Savoy Cocktail Book, but the drink itself has been around since the 1920s or so.
No, this cocktail doesn’t have moonshine liquor in it. It has gin, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and just a drop of absinthe. It looks kind of like moonlight, thus the name.
Secondly, contrary to popular belief, absinthe does not cause hallucinations or any other strange reactions in the body, other than it will get you drunk if you drink enough of it. Used sparingly, absinthe adds a liquorish undertone and a silky texture to a drink.
Here’s the recipe:
Moonshine Cocktail
(makes one cocktail)


    1.5 oz gin
    1 oz dry vermouth
    .5 oz maraschino
    1 dash absinthe
    Brandied cherries to garnish

Add a dash of absinthe to a cocktail glass. Slowly move the glass around so the absinthe coats the glass. In a cocktail shaker, mix the gin, vermouth, and maraschino. Strain into the cocktail glass. Garnish with brandied cherries, if desired. Enjoy!

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5 thoughts on “Moonshine Cocktail”

  1. Hello! I’m going to have to disagree with you on the absinthe point. True absinthe (containing thujone) was banned in America in 1915 and hasn’t been allowed in country legally till a few years ago. A friend of mine smuggled a bottle back from Germany just before the ban was lifted. Drinking Absinthe does have additional effects beyond those of alcohol. My friend compared it to a giddy version of a marijuana high (i couldn’t comment, i’ve never tried pot) and the effects last longer than the alcohol buzz. The reported hallucinations only manifest after years of heavy usage because of the nurotoxic effects of the thujone.

  2. Redsol1:
    Thanks for the comment. You are right about the specific wormwood in “true” absinthe being banned until recently. Now it can be sold in the United States. The reason the US started letting it in is because in order for thujone to cause hallucinations/get you high, you would have to drink so much absinthe (i.e. gallons of it), you would get alcohol poisoning before the wormwood could kick in. I’ve seen lots of smart people believe this myth about absinthe, though, so your friend shouldn’t feel too bad.
    Actually, the history of absinthe is pretty interesting. The reason absinthe was banned in the first place has to do with lobbying from the wine industry in France–there was a grape blight that led people to switch from wine to absinthe, which led to financial drops in the wine industry. The reports of it causing hallucinations really had to do with people switching from a habitual intake of a beverage of about 2%-5% alcohol to a beverage of 40% alcohol (undiluted), as well as people making their own “moonshine” versions of absinthe that used all kinds of funky chemicals not recommended for consumption. And… you know what? I think I will write a follow-up post about this subject later this week. Keep tuned.

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