How To Make Moonshine Like A Bootlegger!

How To Make Moonshine Like A Bootlegger!

June 30, 2019 Posted by Jack Taylor - 12 Comments

How To Make Moonshine!

WolfYou are about to learn How To Make Moonshine. Not just any old Moonshine either. I’m talking about authentic hillbilly moonshine that will have you howling at the Moon after your first shot. You’re going to learn how to make homemade moonshine just like a bootlegger and I’m going to share with you a top-secret moonshine recipe from legendary moonshiner Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. Some people say that Popcorn made the best moonshine in the Appalachian Mountains.

Before we get started, you need to be aware of a few things first. Moonshine is illegal to make anywhere inside the United States without a Distilled Spirits Permit. Even if you are making your own moonshine at home, you still need to apply for a Distilled Spirits Permit in your state. While individuals of legal drinking age may produce beer or wine at home for family or personal use, Federal law does strictly prohibit you from producing distilled spirits (moonshine) at home.

So, if you decide to make your own moonshine at home. Understand that you are breaking Federal law and can expose you to Federal charges for serious offenses. I am in no way suggesting that you make moonshine and break Federal law. The information on this page is strictly for information and educational purposes. For more information on Home Distilling and US distiller laws, make sure you visit the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau at

Now that we got the legal stuff out of the way. Let’s make some moonshine! Go ahead and watch the video below and see how to make moonshine the easy way. Watch as a Tennessee Hillbilly teaches you how to make moonshine at home with a pressure cooker. This is the fastest way to make authentic moonshine so you’ll want to watch this all the way to the end. After you watch the video, I’ll give you step-by-step instructions so you don’t miss a thing.

Tennessee Hillbilly Shows how to Make Moonshine at Home – A (MUST WATCH) Video!

I hope you enjoyed the video as much as I did. I’m sure that you learned quite a bit but I will share this same exact moonshine recipe with you below for future reference. As you can see, making moonshine is a pretty simple process if you know what you are doing. The gentleman in the video shows you how to make moonshine the easy way. Making moonshine this way cuts down the process from a couple of weeks to a few days. And it’s real moonshine too!

I’m going to show you how to make moonshine at home the easy way and then I’m going to share a moonshine recipe from legendary moonshiner Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. Before I share his famous moonshine recipe with you. I’m going to share some moonshine history and folklore with you. For those of you that don’t much about the history of moonshine, you’re going to love this. So, let’s get started with this easy moonshine recipe first.

Easy Moonshine Recipe


  • 5 pounds of Sugar
  • 5 gallons of Filtered Water
  • 5 Pounds of Cornmeal
  • Fleischmann’s Yeast packet

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Thermometer
  • Cooler
  • 5 Gallon Bucket
  • Propane Stove
  • Pressure Cooker (best to use Stainless Steel)
  • Copper Tubing
  • Compression fitting (be sure to check for correct fitment before purchasing)
  • Water proof Sealant
  • Mason Jars (for an authentic container)


Step 1. Making Your Mash

Making Mash

The first step in the process is to open your cooler and add 5 pounds of cornmeal and 5 pounds of sugar. Now add 2 gallons of hot water and mix it thoroughly. It’s easier to add one gallon of hot water at a time because it’s much easier to mix it up this way. Once you have thoroughly mixed in those 2 gallons of water. Go ahead and add your remaining 3 gallons of hot water and continue to mix it. This is not pure corn whiskey because we are using sugar. To do it the other way takes much longer to make. The next thing to do is add your Fleischmann’s Yeast packet slowly while stirring your mix then close the lid and let it ferment.

Step 2. Allow your Mash to Ferment

How To Make Moonshine Mash

Before you close the lid to the cooler. Take your thermometer and check what the temperature of the mash is. The ideal temperature should be between 90 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit is too high so always monitor the temperature during the fermenting process. Should the temperature drop, just add a plastic gallon jug of hot water. It will sink into your mix and heat it back up.

It should take anywhere from 2 to 4 days to complete the fermenting process. You’ll notice during the process that the mash will begin to bubble as if it were boiling. When your mash is bubbling you are making alcohol. By the end of the fermenting process you will not see anymore activity (bubbling). It is at this time that the fermenting process is over and you are ready to start the next step.

Step 3. Ready your Pressure Cooker Moonshine Still

Pressure Cooker Moonshine Still

In the video, the gentleman shows you how to convert your pressure cooker into a moonshine still. You can follow these steps in the video if you want to but you can buy a pressure cooker moonshine still already made for you and ready to go. They are relatively inexpensive and much easier than converting a pressure cooker on your own. Once your pressure cooker moonshine still is set-up and ready to go, it’s time to start running your moonshine which is the distilling process. As soon as it’s ready, it’s time to run it right away or you will get less alcohol if you wait.

Step 4. Start your Distilling Process

Running Your Moonshine

The next and final step in the process is to pour your mash into your pressure cooker moonshine still. First you want to put the pressure cooker on top of your propane stove and turn it on high after you pour your mash inside of it. You want to go ahead and put the lid on tight so no steam can escape. You can set everything else up while your waiting for your mash to heat up, it could take a while so be patient. If you are using the same set-up as in the video, you’ll need a sealer around the tube in the bottom of your bucket.

This is so the water doesn’t drip into your moonshine. After about 30 to 40 minutes of heating up your mash, it will begin to make its’ first run. Now it’s time to fill your bucket up will ice cold water. This will surround the copper tube inside the bucket and condense the steam coming from your pressure cooker back into a liquid producing your moonshine. Before your shine begins to run, place a mason jar below the copper tube of your bucket. Make sure to place a funnel on top of the jar and place a cotton ball into it to filter out any impurities.

As soon as your moonshine begins to run, turn the heat down a bit. You should start to get a small steady stream of moonshine. All you have to do now is be patient and let the distilling process do its’ thing. The first run is called the sweet run and you will not be making all that much. You’ll probably get a pint or so on the first run. This easy moonshine recipe is a small amount of shine so the whole run will be alcohol until the end where it will just be running water.

As you are running your shine, you can check and see f you’re still running alcohol by shaking the bottle and seeing if there are bubbles floating and staying at the top. The gentleman in the video gives you a great demonstration of this as he is making his run. He says that the moonshine he’s running with this recipe is well over 100 proof. That will definitely put some hair on your chest. And that’s pretty much it! Now you have your own homemade moonshine.

The History & Folklore Of Moonshine

Appalacian Moonshiners

We all know the term “Moonshine” which describes distilled high proof liquor. There are other famous terms you may of heard of like white lightning, white liquor, white whiskey, corn liquor, home-brew, mountain dew and hooch. By the dawn of the 20th century, moonshine became a main source of income for many Appalachian residents because of the limited infrastructure which made it extremely difficult and expensive to transport corn crops.

For example, you could transport much more value in corn if it was first converted into moonshine. A single horse could haul ten times more value on its back in moonshine than in corn. It was no wonder so many Appalachian residents turned to moonshining and bootlegging even though it was illegal. This is why throughout history, moonshining and bootlegging was traditional at night. This is why you have the name “Moonshine” today.

It has always been illegal inside the United States to distill liquor but it never stopped those determined to make their shine even to this day. Nowadays, you can pick up a bottle of moonshine at your local liquor store but it ain’t as good as the real thing. There are many Moonshine distilleries making white whiskey and packaging it up with fancy labels. Although some of these companies do a good job making moonshine. There’s no substitute for authentic moonshine.

Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton from Maggie Valley, North Carolina sold his legendary moonshine to many folks in nearby areas. They say that Popcorn made the best moonshine around. Nobody made moonshine better than Popcorn. Popcorn’s life was featured in a television documentary on the Discovery Channel called “Moonshiners”. Popcorn once said that the malt and (a combination of corn, barley, rye) is what really makes his special moonshine recipe work.

It Has Long Been Believed …

Popcorn Suttons Tennessee White Whiskey… That the word “moonshine” was derived from the term “Moonrakers” used for early English smugglers and illegal Appalachian distillers who produced and distributed whiskey. This is because moonshine distillation was always done at night to avoid being discovered by the local authorities. It was especially prominent in the Appalachian area.

Moonshine (white whiskey) made its way to the Appalachian region in the late 18th or early 19th centuries. Scots-Irish immigrants from the province of Ulster from northern Ireland brought their recipe for “Uisce Beatha” which is Gaelic for “water of life”. Early American pioneers made their moonshine without aging it and passed this recipe down from generation to generation which would ultimately become the traditional way of making moonshine in the Appalachian area.

From Moonshine To Finish Line!

From Moonshine To Finish Line

I bet all of you NASCAR fans out there never realized that your favorite sport got its start from good ole moonshine. That’s right, Nascar Hall of Fame driver Junior Johnson was a bootlegger long before he ever became a legendary race car driver. Junior Johnson was a NASCAR driver in the 1950s and 1960s and he won 50 NASCAR races in his career before retiring in 1966. He claimed it was his driving skills learned while bootlegging that gave him an advantage over other drivers.

Junior JohnsonIn the early days of bootlegging, automobiles were not very fast at all especially when you load them down with moonshine. So, bootleggers were always looking for ways to make their cars faster and faster. Of course law enforcement got wise to what they were doing so they were always modifying their cars as well. Legendary NASCAR driver and bootlegger “Junior Johnson” had this to say about his days as a bootlegger.

“It gave me so much advantage over other people that had to train and learn how to drive.”


Junior Johnsons Ford Coupe

In 2007 Junior Johnson came full circle and went from a former bootlegger and teamed up with Piedmont Distillers of Madison, North Carolina to introduce the company’s second moonshine product, called Midnight Moon. Junior’s ‘shine is a legal version of his own famous family secret recipe and is now available in 8 different varieties ranging from 70 to 100 proof. Junior describes his moonshine as way “Smoother than vodka and better than whiskey. Best shine ever.” As you can see moonshine still runs in Junior’s veins.

Junior is not bootlegging anymore but back in his time bootleggers would smuggle moonshine all across the region in specially adapted cars which looked ordinary on the outside but modified with souped-up engines and extra interior room with heavy-duty shock absorbers to handle the load of all those jars of moonshine. Once Prohibition ended, out-of-work bootleggers kept their skills sharp through organized races which eventually led to the formation of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing known as (NASCAR) today.

Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton “This Is The Last Dam Run of Likker I’ll Ever Make” (Full Movie)

You can’t talk about moonshine and not mention the greatest moonshiner of them all, Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. He was a legend while he was alive and has become even more famous after his passing on March 16, 2009. In honor of Popcorn’s memory, please take a few minutes and get to know Popcorn yourself. Go grab some popcorn and a jug of moonshine and enjoy the show! This is a must watch video for all to see. You’ll feel like you knew the man after watching this award winning documentary.

“Popcorn’s” Appalachian Moonshine Recipe

If you are going to make your own moonshine. Then you might as well make the best moonshine there is from “Popcorns” own secret recipe. You are getting the best Moonshine recipe there ever was. This is the same moonshine recipe that legendary Moonshiner/Bootlegger named Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton uses in the documentary video above. Everyone that knew Popcorn said he made the best moonshine around! I first saw Popcorn on the Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners” years ago. Ever since then, I’ve been a huge fan of his and consider him to be a National Treasure.

This Is The Last Dam Run

Popcorn is everything you would imagine a moonshiner to be and is perhaps, the greatest moonshiner of them all living or dead! Popcorn was born in Maggie Valley, North Carolina on October 5, 1946. He lived his whole life in the rural parts of Cocke County, Tennessee and Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Here is Popcorn’s own legendary moonshine recipe that made him a living legend! This moonshine recipe was passed down to Popcorn from generation to generation and now it is being passed on to you.

Popcorn Distilling Moonshine*Special Note: Just so you know, I have done a ton of research in order to find Popcorn’s legendary moonshine recipe. However, even though I think this is Popcorn’s AUTHENTIC moonshine recipe. There’s no way to be 100% sure. Usually, moonshiners like Popcorn will share their recipe with family and close friends or take it to their graves. Popcorn once said …

“Jesus Turned The Water Into Wine, I Turned It Into Likker”

-Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton

“Popcorn” Suttons’s Secret Moonshine Recipe

Popcorn’s Secret Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds of Sugar
  • 4 gallons of Filtered Water
  • 2 1/2 pounds of Coarse Ground White Corn Meal
  • 1 small packet Yeast (preferably Distiller’s Yeast) (OPTIONAL)
  • 1 gallon of Malt (rye, corn or barley)

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Boiling Pot
  • Fermentation Bucket
  • Airlock
  • Siphon Tube
  • Cheesecloth
  • Copper Moonshine Still

Popcorn’s Directions:

#1. The first thing you want to do is add 1 gallon of water to your pot and bring it to boil.

#2. The next thing to do is to add your cornmeal and start cooking while occasionally stirring.

#3. Now you want to remove the heat and let the cornmeal cool down before you add the remaining water while mixing in the sugar and ground malt.

#4. Transfer mixture into the fermenter and let it cool to room temperature before adding your yeast. (adding yeast optional)

#5. Let your mash ferment completely until there are no visible signs of activity that can be detected. (no bubbling) Fermenting can take as long as two weeks.

#6. Rack your wash off the yeast sediment with your siphon tube into your still’s boiler.

#7. Go ahead and distill your wash as normal.

*It’s important to note during the fermenting process that you try to use a 40 gallon HDPE plastic barrel or 40 gallon pot for fermenting. It doesn’t really have to be 40 gallons for this small batch anyway. The size of your pot will vary according to the size of your mash that you’re making. This is important because you don’t want to contaminate your mash. In this AUTHENTIC Popcorn Sutton moonshine recipe, the mash undergoes open fermentation. You will need to cover the 40 gallon barrel or pot with your cheesecloth and let it ferment. (10 to 14 days)

In step #4 of this moonshine recipe, you’ll notice that it says to transfer your mixture into the fermenter and let it cool down to room temperature before adding your yeast. Popcorn never adds yeast to his moonshine recipe and here’s why. Popcorn specifically says that any kind of combination of corn, rye or barley is what makes everything work. He says what’s actually happening is the fermenting process is creating wild yeast that is already inside your mash.

This is Popcorn’s alternative to using distillers yeast and one of the secrets to making some of the best moonshine around. Making great moonshine takes a whole lot more than a good recipe. It also takes a lot of skill, making moonshine is an art and takes many, many years to perfect. I’m going to share a moonshiners secret with you that will help you make the best moonshine possible. What’s the secret to knowing how to make great moonshine?

If you want to make moonshine just like Popcorn did it. Make sure that you use a copper pot moonshine still for this particular recipe in order to make it the way Popcorn would have done it. This will also ensure the closest moonshine possible to Popcorn’s. Make sure you manage the cuts thoroughly, because you’ll be aiming for the hearts to get Popcorn’s legendary moonshine flavor. Adjust your moonshine recipe to the size of your pot or barrel. Your cornmeal should equal about half or less of your barrel.

The Different Parts of Moonshine

The Different Parts of the Moonshine

All right, this is where all the magic begins. The secret to making the best tasting moonshine ever is knowing the different parts of your product that you’re producing. Being able to understand and identify the different parts of moonshine will not only produce a superior product but it will also ensure the safety of the moonshine as well. Not understanding and being able to identify the different parts could be deadly or cause severe injury.

The first 5% of your run flowing from your still is known as foreshots. This part of the product contains methanol and is deadly. This should not be consumed because it has been known to cause blindness and even death. So make sure the first 5% is NOT consumed at all!

The next 30% of your run flowing from your still is known as the heads. The heads still contain a smaller amount of methanol and smell like nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. You definitely don’t want to consume this part of the product as well even though it is not lethal and not known to make you blind.

Even though it doesn’t cause blindness or will kill you, in most cases, you will have one heck of a hangover in the morning. When it comes to making moonshine, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, be patient and wait on the quality of your product before consuming it. Believe me, you’ll understand once you make that perfect batch. You’ll taste it and smell it!

Popcorn Sutton Moonshine Recipe

Now comes the quality product you’ve worked so hard for to achieve. The next 30% produced from your still after the heads are known as the hearts. You’ll know when you’ve reached the hearts when you smell the sweet aroma it produces. There’s nothing else like it! This is when the BEST moonshine is being produced.

Finally, once you reach the end of your run it’s known as the tails. You’ll be able to know immediately because this part will not smell as sweet and has a slick feel on your hands if you touch it. This is because the amount of ethanol has drastically decreased plus water, proteins and carbs have taken over.

Another way you can tell when you’ve reached the tails of your run, you may begin to see an oily film developing on the top of your moonshine. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Like I mentioned earlier, making moonshine is an art and you will get better the more you make it. Popcorn made moonshine all of his life and perfected the perfect moonshine. I would love to get a hold of one of his bottle just to try it out. It’s said that he was the best moonshiner ever!

Now You Know How To Make Moonshine!

The Lost Ways Special Edition BookYou just learned how to make moonshine just like legendary moonshiner Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. The BEST moonshiner and bootlegger that has ever lived. Making moonshine is a lost art but lives on in those that still preserve the craft so it will never be lost to history. Living in the Appalachian Mountains myself, I think this would never happen because these people are determined to preserve their mountain heritage.

Besides being proud of their heritage, they still love their moonshine as well. Just remember that it is illegal to make your own moonshine even in the privacy of your own home. Now that you learned how to make moonshine like a seasoned pro. How would you like to learn more skills like this used by our forefathers to build the GREATEST country the World has ever known. Inside The Lost Ways Book are skills our ancestors used in their everyday lives.

We consider these to be survival skills while it was just day to day life in early American History. This magical book will take you back in time when America was wild, hostile and untamed. Learn how the early American pioneers not only survived this wild and hostile land but thrived as well. I consider The Lost Ways Book to be the owners manual of North America and a National Treasure that should be on every American households bookshelf. These skills and knowledge of our past must be passed down to future generations.

Inside The Lost Ways Book is a treasure trove of information lost to us just a few generations ago. Click on the link below and learn how to live off the land just like our forefathers did. You will learn a whole lot more than How To Make Moonshine. You’ll learn real American History and actually get a unique view on what life was like in early America and how they survived. It’s like having a blueprint to building a great country. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below now. I’ll see you on the next page.

Thank you for spending your valuable time with us today,

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