How to Get Free Shots of Shine in Gatlinburg
Who isn’t a fan of the word free? Especially when it comes to being on holiday and everything seems to come with a heftier price tag than usual. It’s times like these you want to take advantage of all the freebies you can get, especially if it involves alcohol. That’s just what we did when we stumbled on not one, but two, moonshine distilleries while strolling around the strip in Gatlinburg. They were offering up free tastings of moonshine and we weren’t about to turn them down.
You’d expect a free tasting to involve just one tasting. Maybe two or three. But the great thing about these distilleries is that they have a variety of flavors and they want you to try them all!
We first happened upon the Sugarlands Distilling Company. made popular by the American TV series Moonshiners. As soon as we entered, our senses were overwhelmed by the intense scent of vinegar that is used in the distilling process. Our eyes were then drawn to the large distilling equipment behind the window where all of the magic takes place right before your very eyes. And then the sound of bluegrass music drew us to the back porch where people were kicked back in rocking chairs hanging out enjoying a live performance (also free!). I was just about to creep over to an empty rocking chair myself when my eye caught Charlie hanging out at the Sippin’ Post showing a staff member his ID. I knew something good was about to happen so I skipped the rocking chair and joined him. Sure enough, a free round of moonshine tastings was about to begin!
Charlie’s parents happened to catch us just as we were getting started. Our “bartender” led our group through the tasting and was extremely fun and knowledgeable providing facts and tidbits while he filled our shot glasses with an array of flavors. After 8 shots (okay..they were mini shots) of flavors and proofs, we all agreed our favorites were Tickle’s Dynamite Cinnamon (70 proof), Butterscotch Gold (40 proof) and Appalachian Apple Pie (50 proof).
After downing our free shots like a bunch of drunks (or a bunch of people that just really love free stuff), we learned they also offered a free tour of the distillery (there’s that word again). We found the tour to be really interesting and our guide was excellent. We love how Sugarlands prides themselves in being community-minded and a “give-back” brand, keeping everything “local, local, local”. It’s definitely worth stopping by for the tour even if you aren’t into the drinking part.
Still feeling some of the effects of our moonshine tasting, we wandered (err..stumbled) out onto the streets in search of a place to eat only to find…another moonshine distillery. This time, it was the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery and of course we had to check it out for comparison. Timing was on our side because we walked in just in time for yet another moonshine tasting. We really didn’t plan it but oddly enough we ran into some people from our previous tasting group doing the same, so maybe we aren’t the first to figure out this travel hack? Or maybe they just stumbled into it like us? Either way, no judgment here! We grabbed our spots and threw the first shot back. The 100 proof White Lightning didn’t go down as smooth as some of the others (as you can see by my face in the video)! Ole Smoky Moonshine provided not 8, but 13 tastings of their various flavors of moonshine and that wasn’t even all of them! They have so many flavors to choose from, there is surely one (or more) for everyone. After much deliberation, we went home with a jar of Cinnamon, Butterscotch and Apple Pie. That Margarita one almost got me though.