Shove over cocktails on tap, there’s yet another new bottled cocktail in town: Rock and rye is ready for its close-up. Again.
Rock and rye was all the rage in the nineteenth century, when straight rye whiskey mixed with rock candy, sugar and citrus. Any barman worth his salt, er, sugar would use these ingredients to soften the raw edge of then-popular straight rye, a fermented, distilled grain abundant and well-used by Revolutionary soldiers.
Now, after a year, when whiskey wrestled vodka to the mat in U.S. sales by volume, several producers are poised to revive rock and rye—this time in bottle form.
“Rock and Rye would have been an impossible sell without the public’s new familiarity with rye,” says Robert Simonson, author of The Old-Fashioned, a drink rock and rye strives to taste like. The similarity is especially uncanny in the most recently released bottled rock and rye, New York Distilling’s Mr. Katz’s Rock & Rye. This bottling is made from New York State–sourced rye and then flavored with Brooklyn’s own Sugar in the Raw, orange peel, cinnamon and cherry.
Just a hair of a month earlier than that release, Reilly’s Ginger Rock and Rye hit shelves, its orange-peel punch apparent at first whiff. Then there’s the brand that spawned the trend in the modern era, Hochstadter’s Slow & Low from the Cooper Spirits Company, which has been muddling around shelves since 2012, and offers a spicier treatment.
A little necromancy never hurt anyone, right?