Reading the bourbon threads, I see quite a few mentions of rye. So today when I stocked up on bourbon for juleps, I saw they had three brands of rye, and I was curious. I suspect the Russell’s or Wild Turkey would be a considerably higher quality, but I didn’t want to gamble $20-35 on something new, so I went with the Jim Beam for now.
So do I just use it in place of bourbon in my Old Fashioneds and Whiskey Smashes? Any particularly good cocktails that showcase rye? And if I like this, is it worth investing in the Russell’s Reserve?
Manhattans are made with rye. IIRC from bartending school, a “perfect” manhattan is made with equal parts sweet and dry, and the other variants include either sweet or dry vermouth. I don’t recall, but I think the cherry garnish is traditional only for ones with sweet vermouth – a lemon twist for the dry manhattan. (Isn’t that right? Lime is for clear liquors, so I’m assuming lemon is for the brown liquors). And I’d drink them down, over, on ice, however you want to call it.
I’d drink it in a “Cape Fear” though – I don’t much care for the taste plain, so I’d mix it with Pepto Bismol.
I recommend talking to your rye. It likes to be whispered to. “Can you hear it? Sometimes, I swear I can hear it, that worm in my gut. Eating away at me, laying its eggs in my belly. All my life I’ve felt it. I thought I had it beat. You know what I mean – when she came along. She was a tomato, alright. Ripe. Rotten. And now I feel the worm again. Do worms laugh? Help me, Old Overholt. Help me drown the worm, one more time.”
Moscow Mules are quite good. My Manhattan is heavier on the bitters than most: 2 measures rye (Russell’s reserve for me), 1 measure sweet vermouth, 4 shots Angostura bitters, 1 scant teaspoon cherry juice. Stir with ice until frigid. Strain into martini glass and garnish with a cherry.
Bulliett Rye is also very good. I sip that one neat.
I have a big rye collection. I like it neat, but there are a couple cocktails I’ve learned how to make recently that I really love…
The Little Italy
2 oz rye
1/2 oz Cynar (or maybe another amaro would work?)
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
Stir on ice, strain, garnish if you like.
Cocktail a la Louisiane
3/4 ounce rye
3/4 ounce Benedictine
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
Couple dashes of absinthe (or Herbsaint, Pernod or some other pastis)
Couple of dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
Stir on ice, strain, garnish if you like
I’ve been drinking the Thomas Handy rye tonight. Incredibly intense flavors, but at 129 proof, watch out!