I know nothing about the chemistry of whiskey's distillation. Did it require lots of sugar? If so, that would explain the significance of a case I recently discovered involving my great grandfather, John J. Kinney. From the Indian Journal (Eufaula, OK) 12 January 1887: "Detective Kinney, of the Missouri Pacific Railway Secret Service, brought in three negroes last Monday, whom he, by the help of some of our Indian Police, captured near Checota. They found in possession of Hardy Colbert and Dick Jefferson 131 pounds of granulated sugar."
It just so happens that I have recently researched a somewhat famous mooonshiner in Western Arkansas who killed 2 deputy Marshals and did 6 months time.
Moonshine did require sugar, grain (often corn), and water. Boiled and the steam (condensation) went through a coil and when
liquified became whiskey.
The song: COPPER KETTLE
by Albert Frank Beddoe; sung by Joan Baez 1966 or earlier
Get you a copper kettle
Get you a copper coil
Just fill it with some good corn mash
You'll never have to toil
Just lay there by the juniper
While the moon is bright
And watch them jugs a-fillin
In the pale moonlight
You build your fires of hickory
Hickory, ash or oak
Don’t use no green or rotten wood
They’ll catch you by the smoke
My daddy he was a moonshiner
My grandpappy he was too
And we ain’t paid no whiskey tax
Since Seventeen Ninety Two
Of course I have never made it so I am by far an expert. I tried to as a kid but it flopped.
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