Why do moonshiners always discard the first jar of moonshine? Within the secretive world of moonshining, discarding the first jar of moonshine is a long-standing tradition. This ritual, performed by moonshiners during the distillation process, holds both practical and symbolic significance. We will explore the reasons behind this age-old tradition and its impact on the quality and safety of moonshine.
The first reason moonshiners discard the first jar of moonshine is to removing impurities. One of the primary reasons moonshiners discard the first jar is to eliminate impurities and undesirable components that may have accumulated during the initial stages of distillation. The first jar, known as the “foreshots” or “heads,” contains volatile substances such as methanol and other low-boiling-point compounds that can be harmful or produce unpleasant flavors. The “heads” of the run is usually 160 proof or higher. Methanol, in particular, is a toxic substance that can cause blindness or even death if consumed in significant quantities.
By discarding the first jar, moonshiners ensure that these harmful impurities are removed, safeguarding the integrity and safety of the moonshine. The subsequent jars, known as the “hearts” or “good run,” contain higher-quality alcohol with a reduced presence of impurities, resulting in a smoother and more palatable spirit.
Another reason moonshiners discard the first jar of moonshine is to enhance flavor and aroma. Beyond the elimination of harmful compounds, throwing out the first jar can contribute to enhancing the overall flavor and aroma of the moonshine. The heads typically contain volatile compounds that give off sharp or pungent odors, resulting in an unpleasant taste. These compounds, if not removed, can overpower the desirable flavors and aromas present in the hearts.
By discarding the initial run, moonshiners can refine the flavor profile of their moonshine. The subsequent distillate, often referred to as the “sweet spot” or “nectar,” is believed to capture the optimal balance of flavors and aromas. This careful separation ensures that the final product showcases the desired characteristics and nuances that reflect the skill and craftsmanship of the moonshiner.
Discarding the first jar of moonshine is also a tradition. The tradition of discarding the first jar in moonshining has become deeply ingrained in the culture and lore surrounding this clandestine practice. Moonshiners view this act as a mark of respect for the generations of distillers who came before them. It serves as a way to honor the wisdom and experience of those who developed and perfected the craft over time.
Additionally, superstition plays a role in this ritual. Moonshiners believe that the first jar contains impurities and negative energy that could taint subsequent batches if not discarded. By removing this initial run, they aim to ward off bad luck and ensure the success and quality of their moonshine.
The act of discarding the first jar holds significant practical and symbolic meaning for moonshiners. By removing impurities, improving flavor, and upholding tradition, moonshiners strive to produce a safer and more exceptional moonshine. This enduring practice stands as a testament to the artistry, pride, and reverence within the world of moonshining.