Rye whiskey has made quite a comeback in the past decade: we drink almost 10 times as much rye as we did a decade ago. Aficionados enjoy the spicy, fruity notes of the whiskey, which is less sweet than its cousin bourbon.
Your options in choosing a rye seem endless. A lot of the distilleries you know from their excellent bourbons have started producing great rye… names like Knob Creek, Bulleit, and George Dickel.
Enter distilleries like WhistlePig who are devoted exclusively to creating the best rye whiskeys with an almost endless variety of characteristics and finishes, and high-end bourbon makers like Basil Hayden who have gotten in on the rye game. Or try the uniquely Canadian blend of maple and rye from Tap 357.
To get you started, here are a few rye recipes based on classic cocktails featuring the excellent Resurgens Rye from American Spirit Whiskey. They make Atlanta’s first rye since prohibition in Scottish-style double copper still pots, which are as impressive as the rye itself is tasty.
The Old Fashioned, Reborn
3 parts water + 2 parts Resurgens Rye + 2 parts 1821 Coffee Vanilla Cacao simple syrup + 10 drops 1821 Tart Cherry Saffron bitters + 1 Orange Peel
Stir all ingredients except the orange peel and serve over ice. Express the orange peel in the glass, then garnish with it. For style points, make the ice a single, large cube.
The Renaissance Manhattan
The Manhattan dates to the 1870s, when Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, called for something especially celebratory at New York’s Manhattan Club. Although the Manhattan now often features bourbon, the original called for rye. Resurgens’ chocolatey character adds additional complexity.
2 parts Resurgens Rye + 1 part Carpano Antica vermouth + 10 drops 1821 Tart Cherry & Saffron bitters + 1 orange peel
Stir Resurgens, vermouth, and bitters in an ice-filled glass or shaker for 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe or Martini glass and express a twist of orange peel into the glass.
Born in the 1830s at the Roosevelt Hotel bar, America’s oldest cocktail combined the aged whiskey that had found its way down the Mississippi River with that most savory of New Orleans’ drink inventions, Peychaud’s Bitters. This recipe substitutes ASW’s own Armour & Oak Apple Brandy for the anise-flavored absinthe.
2 parts Resurgens + 1/2 part simple syrup + 5 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters + Spritz Armour & Oak Apple Brandy + Lemon peel
Spritz glass with Armour & Oak Apple Brandy (easiest with an atomizer). Express the lemon peel into the coupe and drop in. Stir the Resurgens, simple syrup, and bitters with ice and strain into the glass.
If you’re a beer person rather than a whiskey person, we have you covered there, too. Try Athens’ Creature Comforts Reclaimed Rye, Sweetwater’s LowRYEder IPA, or Magic Hat’s Ticket To Rye. They offer the spice and fruitiness of rye whiskey, in a beer glass.