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Three Cocktails for January

The following cocktails were the highlights of our January Wandering Chef dinner.  We had fun pairing the cocktails with the seasonal food of the evening.  Our first course had pineapple and Hoisin sauce glazed shrimp, so we chose to go Oriental with the use of pineapple, ginger and Chinese five spice.  Our second cocktail, a take on a Manhattan or an A La Lousianne, was nicely paired with a lamb and risotto dish, the whisky cutting nicely through the fatty and rich meat.  Finally, we ended with a berry/moonshine cocktail garnished with a fresh basil leaf.  The aromatic experience is basil, while the berry sweetness compliments the meal of beef and root vegetables.

Shanghai 75

1½ oz Watershed Gin
½ oz pineapple ginger syrup (fresh made)
Chinese Five Spice
Sparkling white wine
Dried pineapple chunk on toothpick for garnish

Combine syrup, spice and gin in a shaker of ice. Stir, and pour into a rocks glass or flute. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a pineapple chunk.

"Drye" Bones

3 oz Roundstone Rye
1 oz dry vermouth
1 oz Benedictine
Orange bitters
Thin orange half-wheel for garnish

Combine ingredients in a shaker of ice. Stir, and pour into cocktail glass. Top with a dash of bitters, and garnish.

Only the Good Rye Young
Courtesy Brian Bachley at The Occidental, Washington DC.

2 oz Mosby's Spirit
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz simple syrup
½ oz cherry/blackberry syrup (fresh made)
Basil garnish

Combine ingredients in a shaker of ice. Stir, and pour into a rocks glass full of ice. Top with a single fresh basil leaf.

Mulled Cider with Rye

Mulled Cider and RyeThis cocktail comes to us from Sonja Bradfield, author of Ginger and Toasted Sesame.  Sonja has some amazing photographs and a delicious recipe for cider and rye, perfect for a warm winter beverage:

One of my favorite things to drink when the weather gets cold is something warm with a kick like a nice chai tea or a hot toddy. On Thanksgiving my family brewed an impromptu pot of mulled apple cider and for a little extra warmth we added a nip of whiskey. For this recipe I used some apple cider pressed in Virginia and some rye whiskey distilled in Virginia.


[This] rye is great in this mulled cider recipe. It’ll warm you right down through your toes. This recipe makes a half gallon but you can easily double that for a bigger group gathering for the holidays. Just let the spices and fruit simmer long enough to get the cider nice and spicy. For an extra kick, you can add a few black peppercorns and maybe a bit more rye.

½ gallon of apple cider
2 satsuma oranges
1 honey crisp apple
3 cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye whisky

Thinly slice the oranges and apple horizontally.

Pour the cider in a large pot and add the slices of fruit, the cinnamon sticks and cloves.

Bring to a boil over high heat then lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes until fragrant.

Fill up mugs about three quarters full and add about an ounce of rye whiskey to each mug.

Garnish with an apple or orange slice, half a cinnamon stick and cloves.

Recipe and photo by Sonja Bradfield, and used with permission.


Gibson II

This cocktail is another one from our brand ambassador, Chad Robinson.  Chad created a shrub to give this cocktail a little extra "zang".  A shrub, for those not informed, is a cocktail base made of vinegar, which brings the needed acidity into the drink in lieu of the usual citrus.  This cocktail tends on the less-sweet side, not quite savory, and is a perfect compliment to shellfish like oysters and shrimp.

Gibson II
2 oz Mosby's spirit
½ oz Manzanilla sherry (I used Lustau)
 ½ oz pear shallot shrub*

Combine all ingredients in a shaker of ice, strain into a rocks glass and enjoy.  Ice optional.

*Pear shallot shrub
4-6 large Bartlett pears
½ shallot bulb
16 oz Turbinado sugar
8 oz white balsamic vinegar

Coarsely chop the pears after removing the stems. Cover the pears in the 16 oz of turbinado sugar. Allow the mixture to sit in a sterilized jar for 24 hours. 

Mince half a shallot bulb and mix with the pears in the syrup. Let the mixture sit for another 12 hours.  Strain out the solids and add the white balsamic vinegar with the syrup. The shrub is good for up to 3 weeks.

I hope you get a chance to make it and enjoy the results.

Recipe courtesy Chad Robinson.

Spiced Rye Cider

Mugs are nice for this one, or it can be made as a punch.

32 oz fresh pressed cider (usually found in autumn in the grocer's aisle near fresh juices)
16 oz Roundstone Rye (about 2/3 of a bottle)
4 oz Honey
10 Cinnamon sticks
8 whole allspice berries

In a saucepan combine the cider and honey. Combine the cinnamon and allspice in a spice sachet and drop in the saucepan. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes and remove the spices. Stir in the rye whiskey, and serve and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Modified from a recipe by Kara Newman, Cocktails for a Crowd.

Chuck's Cranberry Revenge

Cranberry SauceThe name for this cocktail centers around a family story from Scott and Becky.  Every year at the Thanksgiving table, we would dutifully open a can of jellied cranberry sauce, slice it up, and place it on a platter on the dining room table.  And nobody would touch it.  Nobody liked cranberry sauce in our family.  But we felt obligated by the traditions of the season to offer it.

One year, Becky's brother Chuck was with us for Thanksgiving, and skipping all formalities, opened a can of cranberry sauce, walked straight over to the garbage disposal, and with a satisfying "SCHHHHLOOK!", dumped it straight down the drain.  Appalled, Becky's mom asked what he was doing.  "Just saving everyone the trouble."

We've never had canned cranberry sauce since.  This cocktail is a satisfying substitute.

1 oz Mosby's Spirit
1 oz Cranberry/orange syrup*
Ginger ale to top
Orange peel for garnish

Mix all ingredients and serve in a rocks glass.

*Cranberry/orange syrup

12 oz fresh orange juice
12 oz cranberry preserves or cranberry salsa

Combine both and let settle for two hours.  Strain out the chunks and save the liquid.

Courtesy Hannah Blymier.

Chad's Holiday Punch

Our brand ambassador, Chad Robinson, is a marvel of cocktails.  Here is his holiday punch, a delightfully easy beverage for a group of 20-30 people.

1 bottle of Roundstone Rye
½ bottle of REAL maple syrup (more or less to taste)
2 bottles of apple cider (more or less to taste)
10 dashes Angostura bitters
Anise, to garnish

Mix all the ingredients in a punch bowl with a cup or two of ice.  Float anise pods for garnish in the bowl.

Honey, I Drunk the Kids

Honey, I Drunk the Kids2 oz Mosby's Spirit
2 oz Ginger honey simple syrup*
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 bar spoon fig preserves
1 oz club soda

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Strain (using a sieve to collect fig pulp) into a rocks glass with ice.  Garnish with citrus peel.

Ginger Honey Simple Syrup

2 cups water
1 large piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 cups honey

Boil the water and steep the ginger in the water for at least an hour.  Remove ginger pieces and combine the water with the honey to dissolve.  Store in the fridge for up to one month.

Courtesy Hannah Blymier.

Smoked Maple Fizz

Smoked Maple Fizz2 oz Roundstone Rye
½ oz Absinthe, or use as a spray
1 oz Langdon Wood Smoked Maple Syrup
1 oz club soda
3 dashes Peychauds bitters
Orange peel garnish

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Strain into a rocks glass with ice.  Garnish with orange peel.

Courtesy Warren Bobrow.

Gina's Cocktail

Gina's CocktailThis cocktail was created in homage to Gina Chersevani (Twitter @mixtressdc), one of the great cocktail mixologists of DC. Gina created a cocktail for the Chefs for Equality event with rye, cider and lemon soda. This was as close as we could get to recreating her beautiful masterpiece.  This cocktail is not super sweet, but pairs well with fatty and rich dishes (like lamb and stew).

1 oz Roundstone Rye
1 oz Fresh apple cider
1 oz Fever Tree Bitter Lemon Soda

Mix all three ingredients in a rocks glass with ice.

Beet Blossom

Beet BlossomThis cocktail is a creation by Scott Harris and Hannah Blymier.  They were looking for a cocktail to pair with a beet salad at dinner, and thought it just might be possible to create a beet syrup.  The problem was not having the cocktail taste too vegetal, but this was solved by adding just a touch of salt to the syrup. The resulting cocktail is fresh and a lovely shade of magenta, without tasting too much like borscht!

1 oz Watershed Gin
1 oz Lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 oz Beet syrup*
Lime zest garnish

Mix all three ingredients in a cocktail shaker full of ice. Strain and pour into a cocktail glass.

Beet Syrup

5 cups water
3 large beets, peeled and diced
1 tsp of salt
5 cups sugar

Cook the beets in the water in a slow-cooker for 4-6 hours, or boil them in the water for one hour.  Discard beets, save juice.  Add the salt to the juice.  Then bring to a boil and stir in the sugar.  Once sugar is incorporated, chill in the fridge for up to one month.

Pearousia Pear Brandy Old Fashioned

Pearousia Pear Brandy Old FashionedWe were looking for a cocktail that highlighted our pear brandy without losing the delicate taste of the pear to a bunch of vermouth, citrus, and whacky bitters.  We finally decided, simpler is better.  The simplicity of this cocktail belies the fact that it is surprisingly sophisticated.

1 oz Pearousia pear brandy
½ oz simple syrup
Dash of rhubarb bitters

Mix all three ingredients in a rocks glass with ice.

Balsamic Berry Old Fashioned

Balsamic Berry Old FashionedThis cocktail uses balsamic vinegar as a shrub. The vinegar provides nice tartness along with the fruitiness of the berry juices.

1½ oz Roundstone Rye
½ oz aged Balsamic vinegar
½ oz Cranberry juice
½ oz berry syrup
2 raspberries for garnish

Combine all ingredients over ice and stir in a rocks glass. Garnish with two raspberries.

Berry Syrup

6 oz blackberries
6 oz raspberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Bring mixture to a simmer for 10 mins, puree and strain.

Courtesy Hannah Blymier.

Mosby's Cucumber Collins

Mosby's Cucumber CollinsSomething nice for summer!

1½ oz Mosby's Spirit
1 oz Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ oz Simple syrup
2 oz soda water
4 cucumber slices (2 diced, 2 for garnish)

Mix all ingredients except soda water in a cocktail shaker full of ice. Strain and pour into a rocks glass, top with soda and garnish.

Courtesy Hannah Blymier

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Purcellville, VA 20132

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