When Troy Ball and her husband moved their family to Asheville, North Carolina, she never expected to get into the business of making hooch. They’d relocated from Texas and other parts of the country to keep her boys healthy, not to open up a distillery making whiskey — but after discovering the local moonshine makers’ habit of keeping the best of the spirit for themselves and selling the rest of it, she became intrigued by the “keeper” moonshine.
“I finally had some and was shocked at how smooth it was, nothing like the throat-burning stuff outsiders typically got,” she said.
She and her husband soon decided to open up a legal distilling operation of their own, naming it after their three sons. The Asheville Distilling Company produces Troy & Sons Platinum, an heirloom corn-based white whiskey; Blonde Whiskey, made using heirloom Turkey Red Wheat and white corn and aged in charred oak barrels; and Oak Reserve, made with heirloom white corn like the Platinum but aged in bourbon barrels. These have recently begun selling in Texas.
(It’s worth noting that the whiskey is ‘moonshine’ in name only. Moonshine by definition is illegally distilled alcohol — but legal whiskey producers like Ball often add it to their labels because it’s a folksy reference to Appalachia’s history of making the burning corn alcohol.)
The Troy & Sons website has a variety of cocktail recipes for moonshine newcomers to try the whiskey with. One such recipe, called the Strawberry Blonde, calls for the Blonde Whiskey. Having aged two years in oak, it will taste more like bourbon than either of the others.
1 1/2 oz. Troy & Sons Blonde Whiskey
1/4 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. Fragoli strawberry liqueur
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 lemon rind
Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain into cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist.
— Asheville Distilling Co.