Takin’ a Shine to Moonshine
Among the flavors Thaxton bartenders have made are raspberry, mixed berry, fruit cocktail and citrus, the last being a combination of lemon, lime and pineapple – and a favorite of owner Kim Pitliangas, who opened the underground bar in November 2008 with partner Peter Venezia, co-owner of Atomic Cowboy in The Grove neighborhood. But the top seller continues to be cherry, a potent, ruby-red concoction with a supersweet taste. The Moonshine is served as a shot or as a deceptively light cocktail mixed with club soda and a splash of 7UP. Another offering is the Shine Bomb, a mighty mix of Moonshine and Red Bull, served chilled as a shot.
The Thaxton’s Moonshine is made using the common infusion process of adding fruit to pure grain alcohol and allowing it to steep for at least four days; the longer it steeps, the more mellow and tastier the flavor. “For sake of freshness, we don’t usually let them go beyond two weeks,” Pitliangas said. But a 4-gallon batch doesn’t usually last that long anyway; the Thaxton’s white lightening has become so popular that the dispenser has been known to run dry after a single night.
Should you want to try a bit of this hooch yourself, you’re in for a bit of an adventure: The Thaxton Speakeasy playfully upholds the tight-lipped tradition and clandestine character of Prohibition-era establishments. Hours are very limited, and patrons can’t enter from the building’s main entrance but must walk around the side of the building and down a dark alley between 10th and 11th streets to a lackluster metal door. If you don’t know the password (which you can find on the Web site, thaxtonspeakeasy.com), you’ll pay the doorman a couple bucks extra for the normally $3 cover charge.
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