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Tastemakers: Squire Morgan‘s Original Volcao Sauce/ Ole Smoky Moonshine

Rick Coates - January 31st, 2011
Squire Morgan’s Original Volcano SaucE
Jeff and Jean Ackerman of Kingsley spend their winters in the Florida Keys. Several years ago they discovered Squire Morgan’s Original Volcano Sauce at one of their favorite eateries while wintering in Florida. Developed by restauranteur Tom Tiberii during his many trips to the Far East experimenting with various peppers and seasonings, his Volcano Sauce became the rage of the Key West dining scene. A few years back he decided to sell his restaurant and travel the world. The Ackerman’s didn’t want to see the Squire Morgan’s Original Volcano Sauce to disappear so they asked Tiberii if he would sell it to them. He agreed and Tiberii also shared his secret recipe.
The Ackerman’s moved the production of Squire Morgan’s Original Volcano Sauce to Northern Michigan and the sauces (Hot & Lava) are available at several retailers throughout Northern Michigan as well as restaurants. They also do a large mail order and wholesale business around the country.
The secret to the sauces is the balance between sweet and hot. Often hot sauces over power the dishes they are added to. not the Volcano Sauces. While the Lava has an extra kick, both sauces are great flavor enhancers to soups and stews and may be used in place of BBQ sauces on ribs and chicken. Try on grilled salmon or shrimp and this also works as a great wings sauce.
Look for it throughout Northern Michigan or for additional information check out or call Jeff and Jean directly at (888) 266-8749. ---Rick Coates

Ole Smoky Moonshine

Several years ago I was headed to Washington D.C. for a conference and after a successful flight out of Traverse City, mechanical issues cancelled my connector flight to Washington D.C. My wife and I quickly rented a car to drive the rest of the way. In typical male fashion I refused to look at a map or ask for directions and figured I knew a short cut and before we knew it, we were in West Virginia mountain country. Low on gas we came across a small mountain town with only a general store with a gas pump. It looked like a movie set, guys in rocking chairs with shot guns and hound dogs. I filled up quickly and went in to pay. The clerk had no shirt on, a straw hat and overalls and a few missing teeth. As I went to pay for gas he said “you look hungry, you need a couple of sandwiches.” I agreed and then he told me I was thirsty and he had something special in back for me, and as the others chuckled I started having visions of “Deliverance.” We walked in back where there was a small still and Mason Jars full of moonshine. I bought a bottle and they gave me directions and told me to come on back.
We tossed the sandwiches as who knows what sort of meat they used, but I kept the moonshine. It turns out that it was very tasty and smooth and I always wished that I was able to get more. A few weeks back that wish came true as a friend of mine was passing through Tennessee and came across the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery. Recent changes in the distilling laws in Tennessee have allowed for “Moonshine.”
Now moonshine or “white lightning,” “mountain dew,” and “hooch,” as it was often referred got its start in the U.S. at the time the country was founded. Moonshine is essentially any distilled spirit made in an unlicensed still. Typically it would go right from a homemade still directly into a bottle or jar and rarely would the home distiller have time to age it in wooden barrels.
When Prohibition started, moonshine grew in popularity and even NASCAR grew out of the moonshine industry as distillers modified their cars to out run federal agents.
Now Ole Smokey Tennessee Moonshine has opened and is sharing their family tradition of generations of making moonshine. They offer complimentary tastings at their distillery. Ole Smoky is the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee.
Currently they have three products available for sale outside of the distillery, their Original Unaged Corn Whiskey, an authentic mountain moonshine made from locally grown corn and a secret ingredient that gives it its distinct character and bold Tennessee moonshine flavor. The distiller says this is best sipped right from the jar. It is surprisingly smooth for being 100 proof. They also have White Lightnin’ which is a moonshine to be used in place of vodka or gin in mixed drinks.
I also had a chance to taste Moonshine Cherries, something they refer to as a “Party In A Jar.” These cherries are great in desserts or cocktails and once the cherries are gone you have “cherry moonshine” which is tasty just sipping or in your favorite mixer.
Ole Smoky offers seasonal moonshines, including Apple Pie, Butterscotch, Egg Nog, Pineapple, Peppermint and Tea. The seasonal offerings are only availabe at the distillery, which if you are driving to Florida for Spring Break, visiting the Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery would be worth a side trip. For more details check out as the Gatlinburg area has much to offer. ---Rick Coates
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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