Hooray for the return of the cocktail!

Catoctin Creek spirits are excellent neat, but also very nice in cocktails. Many classic American cocktails call for rye, and Roundstone Rye is a faithful reproduction of 19th century rye whisky that would have been common in old classics like the Manhattan, Sazerac, and Old Fashioned. With Watershed Gin, you have a great cocktail for Gimlets, Martinis, French 75's, and much, much more.

Don't forget, you don't need to page through all the cocktails below, searching for the one you want. Use our convenient SEARCH feature to find a favorite ingredient or cocktail name.

For example, try searching for "manhattan", "watershed", "amaro", "sidecar", "lemon", or "orange"... just to name a few.

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Patowmack Peach Water Rye

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.

Mascarpone and Kosher Rye Whisky Whipped Cream

Pumpkin Pie

The following is a cross-post from Meatballs and Matzah Balls:

If you are having pumpkin pie, you need a great whipped cream. Here mascarpone both sweetens and helps stabilize the cream (a huge help if you want to make it a little in advance). Kosher rye whiskey adds just the right butter and toffee notes to complement the pumpkin flavors. And it’s all even better sprinkled with nutmeg.

If you’re lucky enough to be bringing dessert (my favorite assignment) to Thanksgiving or another holiday gathering this season, you’ll likely be making or buying a pumpkin pie. And that’s one pie that truly benefits from a dollop of homemade whipped cream (if dairy will be permissible).

This year I put together what I think is the perfect match for the strongly flavored pie—a mascarpone and kosher rye whiskey whipped cream. The mascarpone not only sweetens and enhances the flavor of the cream but also stabilizes it. That means you can make the cream up to a couple of hours ahead and it will hold its volume, a nice bit of flexibility for freshly whipped cream.

As for the whiskey, just 1 tablespoon per cup of cream gives the right hint of butter and toffee without making the topping boozy. I was pleasantly surprised to find certified kosher rye whisky (as they spell it) being made locally and eco-ganically at Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville, Virginia (well worth a visit if you are in the area). Their Roundstone Rye’s nuanced flavor really shines in the cream, but you can of course substitute any whiskey or bourbon (or even rum) that you have on hand.

This luscious and richly flavored whipped cream truly makes the pie—and it takes just a couple of minutes to literally whip up. Here’s to a sweet holiday season!

1 cup very cold heavy cream
1 Tbsp sugar or more to taste
1 Tbsp mascarpone
1 Tbsp Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye whisky
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
ground nutmeg for garnish (optional)

Place the heavy cream in a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer on high speed to beat. Once it gains a little volume (after about 30 seconds), add the sugar, mascarpone, whiskey, and vanilla. Continue beating just until the mixture holds soft peaks. If needed, cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Meatballs and Matzah Balls and used with permission.

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.

Boozy Apple Drunken Raisin Pie

Boozy Apple PieThis recipe comes to us from Melissa Krumbein of Kitchen Thyme, Richmond Virginia.  Check her out at KitchenThymeRVA.com.  What better time of the season to make pie than November?  And to use Roundstone Rye in the recipe is simply being smart!

Drunken Raisins:
1 cup golden raisins
Pour Roundstone Rye to cover raisins let sit overnight in sealed, air tight container.

Flambé raisins until flame has dissipated.
Remove remaining liquid for pie crust and filling.
Set raisins aside to cool.

Pie Crust Ingredients:
Yield: two 9 inch crusts
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
8 teaspoons granulated sugar
8 tablespoons cold salted butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces
2-3 tablespoons bourbon

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and stir briefly until the mixture is aerated. Using your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s in pea-size pieces that are slightly yellow in color, about 4 to 5 minutes. Then take 2 tablespoons of the bourbon and mix just until the dough comes together. (Add the last tablespoon of bourbon, if necessary, but don’t overwork the dough or it’ll become tough.) Shape the dough into a flat disk, cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Once cooled, roll out 1 disk to cover bottom of pie pan and trim dough over the edge of the pan.

Pie filling Ingredients:
2 tablespoons flambéd Roundstone Rye
6 Stayman apples
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Peel, quarter, and core apples; cut into 1/4-inch slices (should have 6 cups). Combine sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, apples, raisins and bourbon. Spoon apple filling into the chilled pastry shell; cut butter into very small pieces and sprinkle over the apples. Roll out remaining pastry. Cut slits in pastry dough and lightly brush egg wash around edge of pie. Cover pie and trim overhang. Turn edges under flush with the rim; crimp all around to make a stand-up edge. Bake pie at 425 ̊ for 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and juices are bubbling up. Cool on wire rack.

Kitchen ThymeRecipe courtesy Melissa Krumbein of Kitchen Thyme, Richmond Virginia.  Check her out at KitchenThymeRVA.com.  Used with permission.

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.

Latest News

Scott Harris talks GWAR collaboration on Distill & Disrupt

Check out Scott Harris talking on episode 4 of the Distill and Disrupt podcast.  Here he is talking about the GWAR collaboration and how we came to bottle whisky for the heavy metal band.  Listen on Spotify, here.

Read more

Daily Beast: Yes, Heavy-Metal Band GWAR Has a Rye Whiskey and It’s Good

The Daily Beast has the round-up on the history of our collaboration with the heavy metal band, GWAR.  Max Watman, who has been writing about craft spirits for well nigh twenty years now, has the whole backstory on the band...

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Catoctin Creek Distillery

Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W Main St
Purcellville, VA 20132

Tel (540) 751-8404


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Latest Events

Dinner at the Distillery, with cocktails and more!

  OCT 15   Dinner at the Distillery 7:00pm—9:30pm Dinner will be a four-course affair, using seasonal produce and local suppliers, prepared by Chef Justin Garrison, who is widely known for his simple, yet eclectic food combinations...

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Catoctin Creek Bottling Workshop

  OCT 16   Bottling Workshop 10:00am—12:00pm WORKSHOPS ARE BACK!  Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will conduct one of our famous Bottling Workshops!  Here's your chance to volunteer and learn how to bottle, cap, seal, and label...

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Maple Finished Cask Proof Release Day

  OCT 18 Release Day!  Maple Finished Cask Proof Roundstone Rye 8:00am On Monday, October 18 at 8am, we will release the Maple Finished Roundstone Rye Cask Proof in our ONLINE STORE and tasting room. ...

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