Moonshine Vs. Vodka: What Is The Difference? (Explained!)

Moonshine and vodka are both famous, and many people love the flavors of these drinks. But what exactly is the difference between both of them? Let us find out.

So what is the difference between moonshine and vodka? These two differ in plenty of things, but basically, a moonshine is produced from a mash that is also used to produce whiskey, and it is usually from corn or some other grains. On the other hand, vodka is produced from grain neutral like potatoes, grapes, wheat, and some other things.

A lot of people aren’t familiar with the differences between these two. Today will be a solution for these people because this article is all about explaining the differences between moonshine and vodka. If you want to know too, stay for a very knowledgeable read.

What Is Vodka?

To fully understand the differences between moonshine and vodka, let us discuss each of them. Let us start with vodka. Vodka is a massive and diverse liquor. 

It is not the same with the other spirits in the market because, legality-wise, there are no set of regulations and legalities holding the production of the product. Vodka is believed to be first made in Russia. It is known to be a neutral grain spirit. 

The reason is that the vodka will undergo fermentation and distillation of grain. The grains can be from rye, wheat, corn, and any other grain that the manufacturer prefers to use. In Poland, the famous ingredient is potatoes. 

In some other areas that are growing many potatoes, they are also using potatoes as their ingredients. These places include Scandinavian countries and Idaho.

Vodka is considered to be diverse because it can be distilled from almost anything. You can find vodkas that are distilled from other ingredients like grapes and even beets. Vodka is also called a rectified spirit.

When we say rectified spirit, it means that the vodka is usually distilled at least three times. The number will vary, though. A vodka can even be distilled five times or even more than five times. 

This is why the vodka manufacturer must let the public know how many times their product was distilled. This is in line with the common notion of the public that the number of times the vodka will be distilled will also be able to tell how clean and smooth the vodka is. This is true, though. 

After the distillation, the vodka will become cleaner and have lesser impurities. When the distillation process is done, the vodka will then be filtered through charcoal. Unlike wine, vodka will not need any more aging or maturation; it can be ready to drink right away.


What Is Moonshine?

Moonshine is defined as a homemade spirit. It is unaged whiskey, and it has a clear color with a corn base. It also has a high alcohol content. 

The alcohol content level can be as high as one hundred ninety proof. It is produced in a homemade still and bottled in a mason jar in a traditional way of making moonshine. Moonshine was brought to the United States in the eighteenth century. 

The Scottish and the Irish immigrants are the people believed to bring the moonshine to the United States. The moonshine gained its popularity. However, so does the government’s interest in taxation. 

The tax was then imposed on the production of whiskey. But legalities and taxation aside, moonshine is considered to be one of America’s greatest spirits. Some people would compare moonshine with a one hundred fifty one rum. 

The people who have first tried moonshine had their mouths and throats burning up. The moonshine is using a corn base with a high level of alcohol. The traditional moonshine might also have an earthy flavor with every drink.


What Is The Difference Between Moonshine And Vodka?

To further understand the differences between moonshine and vodka, let us list down all its differences.

1. Alcohol Content

The moonshine and the vodka have a different alcohol level in them. The moonshine has very high alcohol compared to vodka. The alcohol level of moonshine can be as high as one hundred ninety proof. 

On the other hand, vodka only has forty percent or eighty proof. The gap can be wide, so if you want to drink a lesser alcohol level, you can try vodka and avoid moonshine. If it is the other way around, moonshine can give you that high alcohol level.

2. What They Are Made Of

A moonshine is produced from a mash. This mash is also used to produce whiskey. It is usually using con and other grains. 

On the other hand, vodka is produced from grain neutral. These can be potatoes, wheat, grapes, and other things.

3. Level Of Proof While Bottled

Both the moonshine and the vodka do not need aging or maturation like wine. Both of them are bottles directly from the still. 

However, the moonshine is bottled at around one hundred twenty-five proof. On the other hand, the vodka is bottled from around eighty or one hundred proof.

4. Legalities

In terms of legalities, moonshine and vodka are different. Vodka is legal in almost all countries nationwide. However, we cannot say the same with the moonshine. 

Moonshine is not considered legal in some countries. They have a scandal with how they are produced and distributed.

Does Moonshine Taste Like Vodka?

It depends. The moonshine and vodka do not taste the same. However, due to the many moonshine flavors and all the recipes, you can find a recipe that would taste like vodka. 

A traditional moonshine is made from a corn base, and some people would compare it to a taste of rum. Therefore, you will have that burning sensation in your throat and mouth. 

On the other hand, vodka is known to be colorless, odorless, and tasteless. That is the opposite of the burning sensation you can get from the moonshine.

Also Read: What Does Moonshine Taste Like?

Is Moonshine Stronger Than Vodka?

In terms of the alcohol content, you can consider moonshine to be more strong. This is because moonshine has an alcohol content as high as one hundred ninety proof, and vodka only has eighty proof. When drinking too, the moonshine will have a burning sensation in your mouth and also into your throat.


In summary, moonshine and vodka have some similarities. However, they also have some differences. The alcohol level is different. 

Moonshine has more alcohol than vodka. Moonshine also is not as free and legal as vodka is.


Image credits – Canva

[1] What Is Vodka?

[2] Moonshine on Wikipedia

And as always, my good old taste buds.

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Hey, I'm John and I'm a lover of good drinks and food. Especially the drinking kind. My favorite drinks are vodka and whiskey. Anyway, this passion has led me to create this blog of mine about all things drinking. Read more