Whiteness: It's Not Just For Vodka Anymore

What up, dog?

In another sign of our growing national rejection of all things brown, the Times takes a look at the world of whiskey, which is itself undergoing a caucasianation, at least among its more trendy adherents. Welcome to the world of white dog.

White dog, or white whiskey, is, basically, moonshine. It’s newborn whiskey, crystal-clear grain distillate, as yet unkissed by the barrel, the vessel that lends whiskey some or all of its color and much of its flavor. And white dog is currently having its day.

Well, every dog does. And I guess it’s nice to see that one of America’s oldest traditions is being revived and refined and commercialized to appeal to a wealthy elite who would otherwise disdain its low class origins. (Although I am certainly no less guilty of that than anyone else: The first time I drank moonshine was in the back of a country store in Columbus, Mississippi, where it was passed around in a flask. When I sipped it the first thing I said was, “This tastes just like grappa!” I remain mortified to this day and will probably go to my grave still cringing about it.) In any event, the article summarizes the growing popularity of these albino liquors, many of which are indeed excellent. Of course, much as with any other hobby, there’s a certain amount of snobbery which creeps in. This quote from an anonymous moonshine aficionado is pretty much the pro forma response to any previously obscure interest that begins to gain popularity:

He said he was not surprised by the advent of commercial white dogs. “I’ve been telling people for years that they have to taste corn whiskey, so that when they taste whiskey, they can find their way around the inside of their mouth.”

That said, he’s not overly impressed with what’s coming out. “The hobby distillers who are on the foodie bent are making better whiskey than you can buy. Period. No question about it. You just can’t do as good a job making 1,000 gallons at a time as you can making 10 gallons a time. There’s people making white dog that is mind-blowing.”

Expect a distiller to show up on the cover of Whiskey Drinker magazine wearing a T-shirt that says “Corporate Moonshine Still Sucks” any day now.