If you think moonshine can only be good when it is illegal, you haven’t tasted Junior Johnson Midnight Moon paired with D.B.A. Barbecue.
The Virginia Highland restaurant recently held a Harvest Moonshine Dinner – four courses paired with a different moonshine.
The infamous spirit is made by distilling corn – a process that is legal if the distillery is licensed by the government and pays taxes. Moonshine is clear and without color, and has an alcohol percentage around 40% (80 proof).
Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon can appeal to fans of the illegal stuff as well as cocktail drinkers. Though today’s distillation process is state-of-the-art, Midnight Moon stays true to its origins.
The moonshine recipe was handed down through several generations of the NASCAR legend’s family. It is still made in Johnson’s home state of North Carolina using American-grown corn.
It is the triple distillation that sets Midnight Moon apart from other moonshine. This gives the spirit a smooth and clean taste (and presumably won’t make you go blind).
Midnight Moon can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or in cocktails. More flavorful than other clear spirits, the moonshine adds a different dimension to mixed drinks. Shake it with a touch of vermouth for a martini or add it to Bloody Marys for a new version of the brunch favorite.
Junior Johnson imparts even more flavor to his moonshine by adding fresh fruit. The range bottled in mason jars includes cherry, blueberry, cranberry, strawberry and apple pie moonshines.
These flavored moonshines go great with barbecue – and D.B.A. owner Matt Coggin offered up some of his best dishes to show how delicious sweet and savory can be.
Mouthwatering pulled pork sliders were paired with a cocktail made with Junior Johnson Cherry Moonshine. Covered in a tangy barbecue sauce and topped with coleslaw, the juicy sliders were nicely complemented by a touch of sweet cherry in the dangerously easy to drink cocktail.
Smoked maple bourbon glazed pork belly and creamy parmesan grits were paired with Junior Johnson Strawberry Moonshine that was served on the rocks. The cold moonshine was nice and refreshing after each bite of pork belly.
For the main course D.B.A. served up a standout dish — smoked beef short rib with horseradish mashed potatoes and caramelized Brussels sprouts. Alone each item was excellent; together they were extraordinary. The short rib was served with a Pickled Moonshine Martini. Junior Johnson’s original moonshine was mixed with pickle juice and served over ice for a unique take on the dirty martini.
Both separately and together, the dish and drink were the highlight of the evening. The flavors in the cocktail went really well with the short rib and especially the Brussels sprouts, which are one of the more difficult foods to pair. The martini was dry and crisp, a great palate cleanser after each bite with a kick from the brine.
Dessert offered two sweets: D.B.A.’s wonderful apple cobbler and Junior Johnson Apple Pie Moonshine. Infused with apples and cinnamon, the moonshine was sweet enough to enjoy on its own.
One meal and you’ll be hooked. Dine at D.B.A. Barbecue for a pairing so good you’ll be glad it’s legal.
D.B.A. Barbecue, 1190 North Highland Avenue NE Suite B, Atlanta, 30306.
Click here for more information on Junior Johnson Midnight Moon.