NASCAR with Sugarlands Shine

On the NASCAR Circuit with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

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There’s something about horsepower belching out of a V8 that kicks on an adrenaline switch in my body. The raw power of an internal combustion engine that’s been tuned to perfection holds all sorts of promises of adventure, and it’s with real difficulty that I sometimes drive cars that don’t have the ability to accelerate like I just broke the law.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

Some of my first tinkering projects involved rebuilding these engines and cars with my dad. He bought a pickup truck that had a dragster engine, and I learned a lot about the mechanics behind these machines along the way. The most important lesson I learned was that the more power you produce, the easier it is to break, which is how I became proficient at fixing things.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

I broke a lot of expensive parts (sorry, Dad) learning how to mash the throttle, bang a clutch and burn rubber. I wouldn’t trade those days for anything.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.
At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

I grew up reading Car Craft and Hot Rod magazines, JEGS catalogs and shop manuals. I spent most of my teens working on and racing that pickup truck, a 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass, and some of my friends’ cars and boats. And I religiously watched top fuel funny cars and NASCAR on television.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

The roots of the trend of engine modification for maximum speed are deeply intertwined with the Prohibition era because bootleggers needed to outrun the cop cars while they ripped up and down Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee on delivery runs of distilled corn nectar.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

The history of moonshine, outlaw brewing and hot rods is a fascinating glimpse into a time that, while unfortunate for the folks who enjoyed a stiff drink, produced three carburetor engines called “six-packs,” innovative suspension systems for high-speed turns and a culture that endures to this day.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

This tie between NASCAR and moonshine was something we dove deep into when we traveled the length of the Tennessee Whiskey Trail two years ago. It was also then that we met the fine people behind Sugarlands Distilling Co. in the Great Smoky Mountains town of Gatlinburg and fell in love with the products they serve up in their 10,000-square-foot tasting room, both full flights of samples and liquor-by-the-drink specialties (try the one with Cheerwine, and just trust us on this).

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

Going to My First NASCAR Race

Sugarlands is the official moonshine for NASCAR so it was a natural marriage for us—lovers of distilled spirits and the rocket cars that were spawned from them—to visit the iconic track at Bristol for a taste of the action.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

We had Hot Passes for the race, which included access to the pre-game pit setups, pace-car laps and a VIP suite overlooking the start/finish line. Being the first of the day to take full-throttle runs on the empty track in the newest version of the Chevy Camaro was a real treat and surprisingly fun for Kristin, who normally freaks when I reach ludicrous speed in my own hot rod.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

The racetrack at Bristol, Tenn. is one of the shortest on the NASCAR circuit and is memorable for its steeply banked turns and roaring thunder of noise from 40 hotrods zipping around the stadium.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

Naturally, I was in heaven.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

Wait until we go to the raceway at Talladega! That track is one of the longest of NASCAR, and the stock cars get up to 200 miles per hour on the regular.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

For those of you looking to recreate our NASCAR weekend, Sugarlands Shine 250 will be held on Oct. 12 in Talladega and is the perfect place for next level super speedway action.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

NASCAR Series with Sugarlands Shine
NASCAR Series with Sugarlands Shine

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

Tailgating at NASCAR

Tailgating is a rite of passage in the South, one I wasn’t introduced to until I met Kristin and started attending UT football games with her at Neyland Stadium. The parking lots surrounding any NASCAR event are full of grills, coolers and full bar spreads, but we made do with a bag of ice, a couple of cups and Sugarlands’ latest, the coconut-and-childhood-memories elixir of fruit juice in a box called Cole Swindell’s Pre Show Punch.

NASCAR with Sugarlands Shine

We sipped a few pre-race drinks from the boot of Kristin’s Jeep while entertaining the idea of traveling to Charlotte, N.C. for Cole’s concert at the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race on May 19. Cole’s also on the Sunset Repeat tour with Luke Bryan for you country music fans looking to share a pre-show shot with him; we were at one of his shows in Nashville last month when he told us this collaboration was born out of his own pre-show ritual (makes sense, right?).

Tailgating at NASCAR with Sugarlands Distilling

But NASCAR fans go all out where tailgating is concerned. Not only do they camp out in the parking lots of the racetracks, but they even take coolers stuffed with booze inside the grounds with them. Coolers are allowed inside the speedways, but can be no larger than 14 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches. This is polar opposite from what I have experienced at NCAA and NFL games where you’re patted down and prohibited from so much as sneaking a mini-bottle in.

At the NASCAR track with Sugarlands Distilling Co.

Making Our Own Sugarlands Shine Cocktails

Sugarlands has a deep well of recipes available on its site, but we were loading up the Jeep to go to NASCAR for the day, so I also set up a mobile bar of sorts, throwing in a mixer here, a garnish there, and created my own race-day concoction.

Tailgating at NASCAR with Sugarlands Distilling
Tailgating at NASCAR with Sugarlands Distilling

In all honesty, the 50-proof Pre Show Punch is really great just on its own. All you need is a cup and some ice, and you’ve got yourself a pre-made drink, perfect to sip when you’re on the go and don’t want to pack up your entire home bar. But I wanted to kick it up a notch and moderate some of the sweetness of the base moonshine, so I brought along a little vodka, sparkling water, pineapple and pure lemon juice.

The Hot Gas Punch

This drink is best made in batches, so keep the ratio about the same, and whip up a pitcher to share. Stirred, not shaken.

Making Cocktails with Sugarlands Shine

Back home, I got into the mixologist spirit once more and started crafting another cocktail with a flavor we had on the shelf. Kristin has always been a fan of the classic Tennessee milkshake, the Bushwhacker, and I’m nothing if not creative in keeping her entertained. I came up with my own spin on it, using one of her favorite flavors: hazelnut.

The Squirrel Smuggler

Making Cocktails with Sugarlands Shine

Dump all of the ingredients into a blender, mixing until the liquid is the consistency of a milkshake. Drizzle chocolate syrup into a glass and pour the mixture from the blender to the rim.

Making Cocktails with Sugarlands Shine
Making Cocktails with Sugarlands Shine
Making Cocktails with Sugarlands Shine

Garnish with grated nutmeg (optional, though we have some delicious nutmeg leftover from Grenada we are always looking for an excuse to use).

Homemade Bushwhacker with Sugarlands Shine

Interested in making your own shine cocktails? Sugarlands Distilling Co. is sponsoring a raffle giveaway of their swag for a lucky C&C reader! Simply tell us in the comments what your favorite cocktail is to make from home, check the box that you’ve done so below, and we’ll choose a winner to get a gift bag that includes T-shirts, cups, flasks, gift certificates and other Sugarlands swag.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cocktails made with Sugarlands Shine

This project was sponsored by Sugarlands Distilling Co. All opinions are our own.

 

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Sugarlands Shine NASCAR Events
Sugarlands Shine NASCAR Events
Sugarlands Shine NASCAR Events
COMMENTS
  • April 18, 2019

    Sounds like you guys had a blast! I love how mixable the Sugarland’s ‘shine flavors are. You really just need ice and you’re good to go.

    • April 20, 2019

      Me, too! So drinkable without any accoutrements.

  • April 19, 2019

    Hey there,
    I am about 2 weeks behind reading 🙁 And for this post I came for the drinks! Yes, drinks. Jokes aside, you are on a roll… I can’t keep up with the speed you are pumping out the posts. Good for you and keep going! I always smile when I get the chance to read yours! Nikki

    • April 19, 2019
      SVV

      Buckle up your seatbelts! 🙂

    • April 20, 2019

      Ha, yes! We’ve been trying to get caught up on all our recent trips (I still have Puerto Rico to blog from the winter and Azores from last year!) before our summer rush starts 🙂

  • April 20, 2019

    What a fun time! My parents live near MIS (Michigan Int’l Speedway) so growing up there we always heard the cars racing! Love those cocktails, my fave isn’t as fancy: Lemon Drop Martini! RECIPE: https://www.christinascucina.com/the-best-lemon-drop-martini-youll-ever/

  • April 20, 2019

    Sugarlands was our favorite moonshine when we did the moonshine trail in Gatlinburg. I took my parents and the sample/taster pourers (I’m not sure what you’d call them because they were entertainers too) were hilarious and we had such a great time. The cocktails sound delicious- we have a few bottles in our cabinets already but would’t mind a few more!

  • April 20, 2019

    What a fun event! My husband would love it!

  • April 20, 2019
    Payal

    I’m going to try that Squirrel Smuggler, sounds delicious! I’m not as proficient in making cocktails as I am drinking them, however, I like making an elderflower with bourbon one (bourbon, elderflower syrup, lemon juice, ice). It can be made into a martini also, just sub in vodka/gin for the bourbon.

  • April 20, 2019
    Brianne

    Hmm… I’m pretty lazy when it comes to making cocktails at home (I usually just have beer or wine, or a straight drink after dinner.) But on a warm summer night, I do enjoy a mojito made with fresh mint from my garden!

  • April 20, 2019

    Stop the presses, how did I not know hazelnut rum was a thing?I tend to stick to the classics at home, give me a Old Fashioned or Dank ‘n Stormy any day.

    • April 21, 2019

      Right? I didn’t either until I stumbled upon Sugarlands! Old Fashioned is normally my go-to, too.

  • April 21, 2019

    I recently did a ride along on a nascar track in North Carolina- what an experience! I had no idea how much rubber from the tires was flying around.

    • April 21, 2019

      How fun! Were you in Charlotte? My sis used to go there and attended the track often with the Petty family.

  • April 21, 2019

    What a fun day! And that cocktail SVV came up with sounds delicious. Having a Brazilian in the house here means that our go-to cocktail is the caipirinha.

    • April 21, 2019

      Oooooh. I’ve only had them when in Brazil! You don’t see caipirinhas on the menu in the US too often.

  • April 22, 2019
    Kristen

    That sounds like the most fun ever! I generally stick with a homemade margarita, but it does the trick on a hot summer day!

  • April 22, 2019

    50-proof punch! That sounds like a great way to get the party started. Looked like you guys had a fantastic time! There’s always a first time for everything!

  • April 22, 2019
    bn100

    margarita

  • April 23, 2019
    Andrea

    Looks like a lot of fun! My go to cocktail is a margarita with fresh lime juice and extra salt.

  • April 23, 2019
    Rachel

    Arnold Palmer. It’s what I drink all summer when sitting by the pool and watching my daughter swim. Can’t live without it. LOL. I have to say I love the fact they have the Moonshiners on the bottles. Makes me giggle to see Patti’s Mayhaw and Mark and Digger’s Apple.

  • April 25, 2019
    Julie

    I love any and all martinis!

  • April 25, 2019
    Nicole in WI

    Fun post! If I’m making a drink at home its either a margarita or a bloody mary.

  • April 25, 2019
    Cassandra D

    Watermelon Bellini.

  • April 25, 2019
    Amber Blair

    My favorite cocktail to make is an old recipe from a sweet old man named Otis. His frozen margaritas were so amazing. So make a simple syrup and kinda eyeball it about a teaspoon to a tablespoon. A little bit of salt. Shot Grand Mariner, eyeball the tequila, we use Patron’s silver. A bit of sweet and sour mix, ice and blend and yay!

  • April 26, 2019

    I love live sports events like this! I don’t generally watch sports on TV, but love to get in front of the action live. I’m also a big fan of Sugarlands, so that would be a great combo for the day!

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