There are moments on summer days — as the ceiling fan is blowing hot air around, you’ve got the screen door open, and you’re sweating in your porch chair with a pitcher of quick-melting ice water — when all of a sudden you get a craving for the Southern that can’t be cured with just a class of lemonade.
When it’s too hot to fry chicken, consider something a bit different to soothe your Southern appetite: moonshine and cupcakes. It probably sounds odd. Perhaps you are wondering where one acquires moonshine now that Prohibition is long over.
You may be concerned that supporting moonshine distillers means you’ll be arrested for skirting some liquor sales tax. But fret not: this is not a dangerous operation, but merely a new way to rethink an old summertime treat.
Moonshine and sweet tea cupcakes
Nothing is more innocent than a cupcake. Give these little delights a rebellious flair by adding moonshine to the batter … for a fruity, booze-y tinge and a little kick on those hot summer afternoons when there is nothing to do but relax and pray for rain to cool things off.
Start with ingredients for a typical vanilla cupcake batter, then include about one cup of milk and 10-12 bags of tea. The more tea bags you include, the stronger the tea flavor in your cupcakes.
Heat the milk in the microwave or over the stove until warm, but not boiling, and then allow the tea bags to steep in the milk for about five minutes; again, longer steeping time makes for a stronger flavor. Typically, black tea is used for cupcake recipes, but you can use any strong flavor — sweet and spicy Good Earth tea might be an interesting alternative for the holidays.
Mix in the rest of your cupcake ingredients (see recipes here), and then comes the kicker: replace some of your liquids with moonshine — any fruit flavor of your choice will do.
You can also chop up the fruit at the bottom of the bottle, or soak some fresh fruit in moonshine overnight, and then add them to the batter or the frosting. If you want to keep the kick, add the moonshine to the batter (the alcohol will bake off in the oven), then place one of these soaked fruits on the top of the cupcake after it has been frosted.
Make your own moonshine
If you really want to make these cupcakes fresh, consider making your own moonshine at home — it does add a bit of that rebellious feel — and you can make the proof as strong as you like. A number of moonshine recipes can be found online, or in distillery books, and you can make it at home the same way beer can be brewed, or wine fermented … in the basement or the garage.