clyde may whiskeyClyde May’s Whiskey is the official State Spirit of Alabama.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

People have been making illegal moonshine in Conecuh Ridge of Bullock County, Alabama for generations. Farmers used excess crops to make illegal whiskey. And apparently they still are. Four illegal stills were shut down in 2014 as this went to press. It was here that Mr. May spent his life in pursuit of perfecting small batch whiskey.

From Mr. May’s still much of his stash was sold as White Lightening. Yet some was produced in small batches and laid down in charred oak barrels. This whiskey was poured into unmarked bottles and became known as “Mr. May’s Special Reserve.” And from Mr. May’s Special Reserve came this original craft whiskey.

Renowned for making illegal whiskey, Conecuh—at one point in its history—had the highest concentration of stills in the U.S. Having a grandmother from Union Springs, I have shared some sips of vintage Union Springs moonshine with my dad back in the 90s. This unmarked bottle was part of the collection my great grandfather Mason had stored under his porch in Union Springs. Smooth, with hints of blackberry and caramel—and strong it was indeed. Memories get sweeter as time goes by. So my bar was high for Clyde May’s whiskey—made since 1946.

Deep, clear bronze in color, with notes of caramel, butterscotch, apple, maple—and lesser hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and oak—this rich, smooth whiskey rises to the occasion with layers of integrated, complex flavors. And best of all it is not only legal but also The Official State Spirit of Alabama (Resolution HJR100).

galley and garden cocktailThe Kindness of Strangers Cocktail  gallery and garden cocktails
1.5 oz Clyde May’s whiskey
1 oz Lustau Manzanilla Sherry
1 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz Orgeat syrup 2 dashes coffee bitters
Lambrusco Float
Created by Galley and Garden Bartender, Steva Casey


Never Love a Wild Thing Cocktail
1 oz Clyde May’s whiskey
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
Stirred served in OF glass on an ice sphere
Created by Galley and Garden Bartender, Steva Casey

Review Published B-Metro magazine, October 2014

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