Moonshine on the Menu

Lillie Q Bloody MaryChef and owner Charlie McKenna opened Lillie’s Q this year in Chicago. To connect the Lillie’s Q menu with an emerging trend, guests can have a bit of “shine” to accompany the down-home, piled-high BBQ.

“Lillie’s Q will feature rotating small-batch moonshines,” explains McKenna. First up: Virginia Lightning from Belmont Farms in Culpeper, Va. “The Virginia Lightning bottles are poured into the 4-foot copper moonshine still — custom-made in Kentucky — sitting behind the Lillie’s Q bar.”

Shots of moonshine sell for $6, and moonshine cocktails in mason jars for $10. The specialty cocktails are big sellers at the venue and will remain on the menu indefinitely. Guests can choose from an array of concoctions, including the M&M&M (moonshine, Maker’s Mark, mint-infused simple syrup and mint sprig) and the Moon Eraser (moonshine, Kahlua and club soda).

McKenna admits he hesitated about offering the spirit, given moonshine’s somewhat nefarious reputation. “People previously had bad connotations on what moonshine would taste like. But when they’ve tasted our moonshine-based cocktails, the first thing they remark is that they’re very smooth,” he says. So far, he notes, the overall response has been positive.

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