More Tales from Balder the Bartending Bard: XXX Moonshine

“Now,” said Balder turning and pulling a bottle of clear liquid from the shelf behind him, “If it’s stars you want to toast, why not start with the fairies who make the moon shine?”

“Moonshine!” exclaimed Charlii. “Do I look like a hick?”

Balder shook his head, saying, “Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Don’t insult what you don’t know.”

“There are X’s on the bottle, Balder. What am I supposed to think?”

“Tradition,” said Balder as he took a glass down from the rack, “Tradition dictates an X for distillation. I say tradition, and it’s an American tradition created to conceal the maker from the Revenue Man.”

“I know the stories,” said Charlii, but Balder raised his hand to stop her saying more.

“Do you? Do you know how this staple of American produce provided your forefathers with income and comfort in hard times? Do you know how the passing of the bottle sealed friendships and bonds of affection?”

Charlii picked up the glass and held it to her nose. Her eyes widened, and she held it away from her face.

“You won’t know till you try,” said Balder.

Charlii took the smallest of sips. She licked her lips and closed her eyes. She repeated the sip and sighed. “Smooth,” she said. “It’s not what I expected.”

“Grains mixed and cooked. Long hours of waiting. Slow drips. Time,” said Balder. “All these things and more are needed for this one glass. And in all this time, the fairies of loss for the past, anguish for the unknown, and the joy of determination enter the bottle and pass to you. There is a story for your book.”

Charlii nodded and took another sip. “Perhaps.”

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