Warm Up With Rye! Classic Rye Whiskey Cocktails

It’s winter weather, so get to Spec’s for warming cheer in this chilly time of year! With the ongoing trend in master mixology, some long-lost libations are making a comeback in classic cocktail form. For a cocktail to take the chill off, Spec’s recommends rye – a type of whiskey popular in the early part of the century that’s making a comeback among discerning cocktail sippers.

Rye is a whiskey that is traditionally made with at least 51% rye in the mash. (By contrast, bourbon is made with at least 51% corn.) The use of rye imparts a spicier, drier flavor to the whiskey than bourbon whiskey. While rye was a popular whiskey prior to Prohibition, it largely disappeared from the market until recently – although Canadian whisky has historically been referred to as “rye” whiskey, there is no regulation on the rye content of the mash as there is with American rye.

Several classic American cocktails are made with rye. All of them have many variations, but here’s Spec’s selection of common recipes for each one.


One of the most classic rye cocktails!

2 oz rye whiskey
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
maraschino cherry for garnish

Put all liquid ingredients into a shaker with ice. Stir until blended, then add a cherry to a chilled cocktail glass and strain into the glass. One popular variation on the recipe, a “perfect Manhattan,” combines equal parts sweet and dry vermouth (1/2 oz each) to the recipe.


Watch out for this strong mixture – like its name, it packs quite a bite!

1 ½ oz rye whiskey
¾ oz applejack or bonded apple brandy
¾ oz green Chartreuse

Put all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Stir until blended, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Old Fashioned

An old-fashioned cocktail that’s still pleasing palates!

2 oz rye whiskey
2 dashes Angostura bitters
¼ oz simple syrup, or one sugar cube
orange peel
ice cubes

Put the ice cubes, syrup, bitters, and orange peel in a, old fashioned glass and muddle the orange peel to release the aromatic oils. Add the rye and stir.


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