During my undergraduate years, I did my fair share of drinking, and this is no secret to my parents. Now that I am older, I rarely have more than a couple beers per week, but I do enjoy alcohol from time to time. Knowing this, during our visit, my parents took us to Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, a distillery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
The distillery is relatively informative, with an outside display with placards explaining the history and process of making moonshine. But then once you have sufficiently learned about it, you can also enjoy a free tasting.
We got in line, and when it was our turn, stepped up to the counter and flashed our IDs. Then we each got a plastic cup–similar to communion cups–for our samplings. The person working talked us through the tasting, explaining the flavor and the distillation, and the drinks range from straight-up rubbing alcohol-like moonshine, to very sweet ones like pink lemonade, blueberry, and more. M. wasn’t too fond of the latter, since he neither drinks much nor likes sweet things, so after about half the tastings, he left me in favor of listening to the bluegrass band playing outside. I stayed on, enjoying the respite from the heat and chatting with the couples next to me.
After the tasting ended, I checked out the different shelves of moonshine, and while I considered getting a bottle, transporting it to San Francisco and then back to Germany would have been more of a hassle than it’s worth, so I opted not to.
All in all, the alcohol isn’t very remarkable, but the experience was a fun one nonetheless, and the drinks are refreshing on a hot day, in the same way that wine coolers might be. Though it’s not something to go out of the way for, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who happens to find him or herself in Gatlinburg.