(Credit: Leah Rivera)

(Credit: Leah Rivera)


Moonshine goes by many names. White whiskey. Hooch. White lightning. Mountain Dew. As the subject of many country songs, moonshine – a high-proof distilled liquor – was once a homemade treasure in areas like Appalachia, bottled in Mason jars and sold locally. However, true moonshine has since been outlawed in the United States. Instead, local restaurants and bars craft cocktails with a new moonshine: a legal, lower proof corn whiskey or similar distilled liquor. To get your hands on some legal moonshine, stop by these popular Orange County hot spots.

(Credit: Lillie’s Q in Brea)

(Credit: Lillie’s Q in Brea)


Lillie’s Q
240 South Brea Boulevard
Brea, CA 92821
(714) 482-2001
www.lilliesq.com

Classic barbecue flavors contrast flawlessly with the restaurant’s contemporary yet rustic design. But, their variety of moonshine-based cocktails are what really stands out at this Brea eatery. Served in old-fashioned Mason jars that couple perfectly with the Lillie’s Q décor, their moonshine consists of an unaged corn whiskey. Their menu offers two different moonshine-based cocktails. The first, the Morning Lillie, is a moonshine-filled Bloody Mary; the second, the Raspberry Moonshine Fizz, comes with raspberry moonshine, simple syrup, soda water and lemon. Aside from the cocktails, Lillie’s Q offers seven different types of moonshine that range from 80 to 125 proof. Hailing from places like North Carolina, Kentucky, Washington and Wisconsin, they are crafted with things like corn, rye, sugar cane, organic wheat and malted barley. The only locally sourced option is the Ballast Point Devil’s Share Moonshine, a sweet 100-proof liquor that blends malty and tropical tones.

(Credit: Haven Gastropub)

(Credit: Haven Gastropub)


Haven Gastropub
190 South Glassell Street
Orange, CA 92866
(714) 221-0680
www.havengastropub.com

Aside from their selection of gourmet food, Haven Gastropub offers an extensive variety of beer, wine and cocktails chosen by the pub’s beverage director. There is one type of moonshine at Haven: an Original Moonshine that is part of the whiskey family. Also unaged and crafted out of corn, this moonshine is clear with corn tasting undertones. In an effort to incorporate it into the menu, Beverage Director and Managing Partner Wil Dee crafted the Full Moon Manhattan, a drink that perfectly showcases the moonshine. Mixed with Carpano Bianco vermouth and fennel bitters before garnishing with a sprig of dill, this cocktail fits in perfectly with their other recipes. Haven also happens to have one of the largest selections of whiskey in the area so it’s no surprise that you can find moonshine on their bartop.

(Credit: Who Song and Larry’s)

(Credit: Who Song and Larry’s)


Who Song and Larry’s
1535 West Katella Avenue
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 639-9550
www.whosongandlarrys.com

This self-proclaimed Cal Mex cantina is a blend of communal dishes, Mexican flavors and the hip California dining trend. Their menu filled with carnitas sliders, habanero shrimp pasta and sizzling chicken fajitas is paired with fresh, creative cocktails that push the boundaries so it’s no wonder they have moonshine on the menu. The Strawberry Moon (pictured) combines White Lightnin’ Moonshine with strawberry moonshine and lemonade, which makes for a refreshing yet strong blend. A similar drink, the Peach Moon, uses peach moonshine in place of the strawberry and orange Kool-Aid in place of lemonade. Two other moonshine-filled cocktails include the Black Cherry and the Full Moon, both of which contain moonshine-marinated cherries as accents. The Black Cherry blends blackberry moonshine with the White Lightnin’ and cherry Kool-Aid while the Full Moon is a blend of peach and blackberry moonshine with grape Kool-Aid.

(credit: kazmulka/shutterstock)

(credit: kazmulka/shutterstock)


Lazy Dog Restaurant
13290 Jamboree Road
Irvine, CA 92602
(714) 731-9700
www.lazydogrestaurants.com

This dog-friendly restaurant and their menu of interesting, flavorful and healthy options have been steadily gaining popularity over the last few years. But their cuisine isn’t the only appeal. With plenty of happy hours and patio fire pits perfecting for sipping cocktails, it’s a classy spot to have a drink. With margaritas, mules, housemade sangria and hand-shaken mojitos, the bar menu is filled with delicious choices. But it also includes two distinct moonshine-filled drinks. The first is called the Smoke, Shine and Sour, and it combines moonshine, mezcal and housemade sweet & sour. It also contains black cherries, sweet peaches and bitters. The other, which is completely different from the first, is the Peaches & Moonshine. Crafted with moonshine, peach schnapps, ginger beer and cranberry juice, it’s garnished with sweet peaches and mint. Both are recent additions to the menu so keep an eye out for possibly more moonshine at Lazy Dog soon.

(Credit: Leah Rivera)

(Credit: Leah Rivera)


Old Crow Smokehouse
21022 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 536-0381
www.oldcrowsmokehouse.com

Old Crow Smokehouse has a lot of moonshine-based cocktails, starting with the Front Porch Punch. Blackberry moonshine is mixed with elderflower liquor, club soda, lemon sour, blueberries and raspberries. A similar option, the Blackberry Crow, uses the same moonshine but combines it with muddled blackberries, lemon sour and a mint sprig. For a more fruity option, savor the Mad Moonshine. Cranberry moonshine and cranberry juice are blended with orange juice, oranges and moonshine cherries to create a tasty drink. Other moonshine-based cocktails include the peachy Peach Collins, the watermelon-flavored Old Crow Hoedown and the Spiced Apple with gingerbread syrup. Moonshine cherries are even added to the restaurant’s Smoked Manhattan. Beyond cocktails, some of their signature shots also contain moonshine. The Gold Rush and the Bourbon Cowboy both contain apple pie-flavored moonshine, though the former combines it with cinnamon schnapps and pineapple juice while the latter is blended with bourbon and cranberry juice. The Daisy Dukes is strawberry moonshine mixed with pomegranate liquor and the final Smashville Shooter simply blends blackberry and peach moonshine.

(credit: 5ph/shutterstock)

(credit: 5ph/shutterstock)


The Copper Door
225 North Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 880-9989
www.thecopperdoorbar.com

If you’re looking for a bar that serves moonshine, The Copper Door is the place for you. Upon arrival, you’ll head through an actual copper door and underground to a spot that offers great live music and even better cocktails. One such drink is the strawberry peach moonshine, but they also offer a tequila moonshine that is infused with apple slices—spiced apple pie in a glass! Also on their list of revolving signature drinks are things like peach moonshine tea, a pomegranate moonshine cocktail and a Moonlight Spritz with moonshine and fresh fruit. Their drinks come in Mason jars and are available in four, eight and 16-ounce quantities.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.

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