I admit it, when it comes to whiskey, I tend to gravitate to bourbon. The sweet smoothness just blends so well in just about anything I can think to whip up. Every now and then, however, smoothness isn't the goal at hand. Rather, I'm looking for a cocktail with depth, spice and complexity. Rye whiskey is the natural choice in this case. I got inspired to try out a particular bottle when a waiter at The Aviary suggested I seek out Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond Rye.
Seeing as how I trust the opinion of anyone working at The Aviary, I hurried over to Binny's to seek out said rye and a few other new ingredients for inspired experimentation. Surprisingly, the bottle was under $30 for 100 proof strength and a delectably described flavor profile. Some quick research helped me to understand that the concept of Bottled-in-Bond dates back to an effort to regulate the quality production of whiskey in the late 1800s.
Bottled-in-Bond whiskeys must be:
- created in one distillation season,
- made by one distiller and at one distillery,
- aged for a minimum of four years under government supervision, and
- bottled at 100 proof.
While small craft whiskeys have been taking over the market, Bottled-in-Bond options are dependably sourced, quality alternatives with a punch. Rittenhouse Rye is considered one of the best of this winning category and I'm so glad to have it in my arsenal.
This cocktail was my second Rittenhouse Rye adventure. How, you ask, did the idea materialize? Will was in the mood for cherry flavor and a boozy composition, and a vibrant rye seemed like the perfect complement. I have quite a few jars of cherries hanging out in my fridge for cocktail purposes, but Morello cherries are one of my favorites. I love the tart, authentic cherry flavor that I can get from both the syrup and the cherry, and this version from TJs is both affordable and not overly sweet. As a finishing touch, I added a bit of lemon juice to highlight the tartness of the cherry and Quince and Apple Rhubarb Hops for a bit of lingering, almost pie-like sweetness.
Lastly, if you're like me and enjoy getting fancy with your garnishes, investing in these cocktail spears is the best idea for winning presentation
- 2 oz rye whiskey
- 1 oz Morello cherry syrup
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp rhubarb hops
- 3 Morello cherries
Shake the first four ingredients with ice until shaker is frosted. Strain into a coupe glass. For an extra special touch, garnish by threading 3 Morello cherries on a cocktail spear and setting on the rim of the glass. Enjoy while celebrating National Cocktail Day and the coming of spring.