The other day a small box arrived at my door. It was about the right size to hold a wristwatch. When I opened it, I discovered a small brown bottle in a sea of styrofoam peanuts. It looked like a cough medicine bottle, but I wasn’t sure because there was no label, no note, no scribbling, no nothing, nada. I dug through the peanuts and discovered at the bottom of the box a small insert that finally informed me that this was a hootch called Low Gap. As I read on, it all started to make sense in a strange way.

It was from those insane geniuses in Ukiah, California in the heart of Mendocino County. I am familiar with these folks having tasted and enjoyed some of their other offerings, especially the brandy of Germain-Robin. Crispin Cain is the mad scientist/distiller behind this particular creation. Turns out Crispin studied with the Frankenstein of distilling, Hubert Germain-Robin, using an antique double-distillation copper potstill in that process and in the process of distilling this whiskey.

OK, so what is Low Gap Whiskey? Why it’s Mendocino Moonshine! It’s un-aged, un-oaked, very young, just distilled last night and bottled early this morning whiskey made from malted Bavarian hard wheat. Now get this, they take the wheat and ferment it into un-hopped beer then take that beer and distill it twice and bottle it pure and clear and young. They immediately take it and fill the trunks of antique, souped up Chevy’s and Ford’s and rush it down from the Mendocino mountains in the middle of the night at break neck speeds to speakeasy’s up and down the coast and even sneak it aboard fishing trawlers in San Francisco Bay for distribution to far off places. Well, maybe that last part was a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea.

I’ll give ‘em this, it doesn’t taste like moonshine at all. A sip of real Moonshine will make you dance and holler and spin madly about as your mouth erupts in spasms of pain from the fire you just put on your tongue. Seconds later, as you swallow that molten lava, your throat constricts in convulsions and fissures form and erupt blood as it sears your insides. It finally lands in your belly where your stomach acid ultimately puts out the fire but not before the combination turns your tummy into a seeping sieve that spills its contents and begins to eat out your intestines. Now, that’s real moonshine!!

This stuff looks like either water or vodka but is a tad thicker than either one. It has a rich nose reminiscent of fresh baked bread or flour being worked on a kitchen table by your grandmother on a Sunday morning. It tastes a bit like dough or bread or even biscuits as it lays pleasantly upon the palate. It’s smooooooth going down leaving a pleasant warmth in a moderately lasting finish. This is good California Whiskey, and I can’t wait to see what it will taste like once it’s had the opportunity to rest in a barrel for a few years. I can certainly see why they chose to go to market with this un-aged product, as it is worth the $40.00 or so per bottle.

As I stated before, this stuff is distilled in Mendocino County by some folks who really know what they’re doing, all of which got me to thinking. The most famous and most prolific and world acclaimed agricultural product being grown in Mendocino county (certainly not grapes) is marijuana – world class, high quality marijuana! Now what would happen if these guys distilled some of that and transformed it into Mendicino Medical Marijuana Moonshine Whiskey Medicine? Granted, they would only be able to sell it through medical dispensaries but I bet it would be a huge hit. Hell, someone in Colorado is already making a marijuana based soda pop so why not this? You guys listening?

George Brozowski

For more George’s Rants and Raves click here