Suzi (k00kaburra) wrote,

Hough Lore: Sorghum Syrup

My grandfather sent me this story back in 2009. At the time, I wasn't very interested in alcohol but I found it a curious little vignette about farming in ye olden times. Now I can't help but share his curiosity about the impact of sorghum vs. molasses on the flavor of moonshine...

Sorghum Syrup, the Long Sweetening for Moonshiners.

We lived at just about the northern edge of the climate where you could grow sugar cane, and we had special techniques for handling the plant through the winter and for growing it. We knew all about sugar cane and making molasses. We also knew that, way back, people in our community grew sorghum, and that, further to the north, people still made syrup from sorghum. It had a tang quite different from regular molasses. I liked that taste and decided I wanted to grow some. I believe the year was 1940, so I got the seed and planted about 1/8 of an acre. It grew beautifully and headed out in early August, so we knew it was time to harvest it and make it into sorghum syrup. We began to get our molasses-making equipment together when Mr. Billy Walker, who also had eaten sorghum in his youth, offered to make it up into syrup for 1/10, one container of each 10. He simply hankered for some old-fashioned sorghum. We took the truckloads of sorghum stalks over to Mr. Walker's and helped him grind the stalks and cook the syrup. It was as good as any sorghum I ever tasted before or since. I had some almost daily until I left home for college in 1941. But the rest of my family did not like sorghum as much as I, so they still had some on hand when sugar-rationing began in WW II. Suddenly one day some Merry Hell moonshiners appeared, asking if we still had sorghum syrup. My brothers were glad to sell the entire supply to them. I have always wondered if moonshine made with sorghum syrup tasted differently, but I never learned.

Tags: family, farming, grandparents, hough lore, moonshine

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