Sugar, yeast, grain, water and malt are the basic components of a typical moonshine mash. However, moonshine recipes come in a wide range of flavors and levels of complexity, so moonshine mash ingredients vary accordingly. A simple corn whiskey mash recipe consists of water, flaked maize and crushed malted barley.
Corn is abundant during the summer, and is a preferable moonshine base when compared to fruit, which is often used to make moonshine during winter when corn is less available. The corn component of corn whiskey mash is provided by cracked corn kernels, cornmeal or flaked maize. Fruit whiskeys are often prepared with mashed peaches, cherries, pears, strawberries or apples.
Granulated sugar, dark malt extract syrup, molasses, dextrose or a combination of these ingredients provide the sugar component of any moonshine mash. The simplest type of moonshine mash contains only water and sugar. Although the sugar-only mash lacks the flavor and smoothness of a corn whiskey mash, it is very convenient to make and is a good choice for fruit brandies, because it readily takes on the flavor of the fruit with which it is combined.
Yeast is required to ferment a moonshine mash, and whiskey distiller's yeast, ale yeast or bread yeast are all acceptable choices. Grains, such as barley, rye or wheat, are added to the corn or fruit. A mash must contain at least 20 percent malted grains to activate the beta-amylase enzyme, which converts the grain starch into fermentable sugar.