Most people think that white lightning is any pop skull whisky that’s white in color
and has the same effect on a man as sticking his tongue in a wall socket.
Actually, however, white lightning was a whisky made on Hardin Creek around 1900 by a moonshiner named Gar White. A distillery chemist once examined Gar’s whisky and found it nearly three days old, 160 proof, and composed of corn, weevils, wild yeast, sassafras, poke berries, coal oil, prune juice, wagon grease, slake lime, cow chips, and three hairs from Gar’s mustache. The chemist said there was more, but he quit when the liquid ate up the test tube.
This whiskey had great versatility. It was good for drinking, dipping sheep, burning off tobacco beds, removing warts, and spraying privies. But it became known as white lightning when a revenooer slipped up the creek, caught Gar running off a batch, put him under arrest, and sat down under a tree to test its potency.
At the first swallow, a bolt of lightning hit the tree, knocked out the revenooer and burned off his pants, socks, and shoes. When he came to, he limped into Loretto, rounded up a posse and said that any man making whisky that powerful ought to be hanged, not jailed.
Gar disappeared and nobody knows what became of him, but his white lightning remains today.
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