Moonshine was originally a slang term for high-proofdistilled spirits usually produced illicitly, without government authorisation. Now considered an art form, and legal in the states since 2010. Moonshine was banned due to the dangers associated with home distilling and the toxins that it might contain from the contaminated machine and car parts used to create the still.  The theory was that a safe distillate burns with a blue flame, but a tainted distillate burns with a yellow flame. Practitioners of this simple test also held that if a radiator coil had been used as a condenser, then there would be lead in the distillate, which would give a reddish flame. This led to the mnemonic, “Lead burns red and makes you dead.” or “Red means dead.” Unfortunately any methanol (also poisonous and leads to blindness) present cannot be detected as it burns with a colourless flame.


However, except for perhaps the spirit of the name, our narrowboat Moonshine does not share much in common with the illicit production of this dangerous liquor.