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Drinking Moonshine in an Alabama Juke Joint

There’s a photo I have in my phone from a trip to Alabama that always makes me smile. Well, there’s many actually, but today I’m going to remember this one:

Moonshine in Alabama

Now it all looks very pretty, and relatively innocent. But those who have been to a real Juke Joint will know that the liquid in that jar packs quite the punch

When I first realised I was being offered some Moonshine at the Juke Joint, Gips Place, in Alabama I thought “Oh hell no!”. I’m one of those gals who has to psych herself up before a shot of tequila. So Moonshine was a scary concept.

But hey, when was I going to be back in a Juke Joint listening to the legendary Henry Gipson play blues again? So I did it. And yes, it was like pouring fire down my throat. Which is why you’re not seeing photos of me drinking said liquid. To say they aren’t pretty is an understatement.

It’s also why I missed the next few rounds, only dipping back into that jar very occasionally. But oh yes, it was fun. As was the whole Juke Joint experience at Gips Place.

Held in the backyard of Henry Gipson’s home in Bessemer, Gips Place is a traditional Juke Joint where some of the best blues musicians have performed over the past 50 years or so.

They say no one knows how old Henry Gipson is, maybe he doesn’t remember either. But one thing’s for sure, he’s a fascinating man with an incredible presence. And no, that wasn’t the Moonshine talking!

Gips Place is found along the curve of the 3100 block of Avenue C in Bessemer, Alabama, which is about 20 miles out of Birmingham. It all happens there on a Saturday night, and is well worth tracking down. Though you may just want to enlist the help of a local as it can be tricky to find.

So how about you? Have you ever dipped into that jar, or danced the night away in a Juke Joint?

Heading to Alabama? Some other great ideas for you….

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  1. Nice post!

  2. Nice post. I was working in Birmingham AL earlier this year. Hadn’t found a place selling moonshine. Will look out for this place if I go back 🙂

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