News

A Seasonal Guide: How to Drink Rye Whiskey Anytime of the Year

Rye whiskey is a spirit often acclaimed for its spicy, peppery flavor profile, boasting a complex finish with subtle notes of oak, smoke, fruit, or nuts, depending on the distillery. 

Known as a liquor that found its early roots before Prohibition, rye whiskey has been around long enough to have a storied history of cocktails. Most casual drinkers recognize rye as a spirit best enjoyed in the Autumn or Winter, but we’ve compiled a drinking guide for the patron that wishes to expand their palate throughout the year. Switch up your mixology with the seasons, and explore the world of rye whiskey cocktails.

Summer Cocktails To Beat the Heat

When you can’t escape the heat, try one of these rye whiskey cocktails to help you cool off and relax. Our list of summer cocktails includes a host of cocktails with tasting notes that are light, bright, and citrusy.

Brown Derby

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • Honey syrup
  • A grapefruit twist for garnishing

Delight in a cocktail that creates a complex flavor profile from simple ingredients. The perfect balance of sweet, tart, and slightly bitter, a Brown Derby is a drink that will keep you refreshed throughout the Summer months.

Ward 8

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Lemon juice
  • Orange juice
  • Grenadine
  • An orange twist or a cocktail cherry for garnishing

Citrus flavors combine in a cocktail that blossoms with tang. A Ward 8 is typically served up and it’s a great sip for sweltering days. Refresh with a Ward 8 while enjoying a day of baseball or make it your brunch companion.

Whiskey Smash

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Simple syrup
  • Lemon wedges
  • Mint leaves
  • A sprig of mint for garnishing 

The Whiskey Smash is refreshingly tart. Notes of citrus and mint leave a cooling sensation lingering on the palate, perfect for enjoying on a patio with good company as the sun goes down.

Blood & Sand

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Cherry heering liqueur
  • Freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • Garnish with an orange peel

This cocktail’s bitter, saccharine flavor profile will wash over you like the tide. One of the dryer rye cocktails on the summer list, the Blood & Sand’s crisp nature is hoisted by a fruity finish. Take a sip and dig your toes in the sand while imbibing at the beach.

Rye Whiskey Drinks for Autumn

As it starts to cool down and the leaves begin to change, so should your choices at the bar. Trust us, some things just taste better at certain times of the year. This selection of fall cocktails provides a variety of flavor profiles that explore all of the nuances of autumn. 

Old Fashioned

Basic Ingredients

  • Sugar
  • Angostura bitters
  • Rye whiskey
  • Garnish with an orange peel

The classic you know and love, the Old Fashioned’s relevance today remains a testament to its taste. A list of simple ingredients combine to make a drink that is aromatic, spicy, and subtly sweet. One of those fall cocktails that can be complementary to any occasion, we recommend you try it alongside an entrée like duck confit.

Stone Fence

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Angostura bitters
  • Apple cider
  • A sprig of mint for garnishing

The sweetness in this drink is leveled out with a tasty dose of spice that’s perfect for a fall afternoon or Thanksgiving cocktail. Uncover notes of vanilla, caramel, and spice in a concoction that’s perfect for enjoying amongst company.

Old Pal

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Campari
  • Dry vermouth
  • A lemon twist for garnishing

An Old Pal sits on the bitter side with the introduction of campari, complemented by lighter notes of dry vermouth and lemon. As a cocktail that allows the liquor to be the focal point, drinkers will discover a tasting experience elevated through mixology.

Trinidad Sour

Basic Ingredients

  • Angostura bitters
  • Rye whiskey
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Orgeat
  • A lemon twist for garnishing

A warming citrus cocktail with autumnal notes that will provide you with a refreshingly sharp experience while the leaves fall. Sip a Trinidad Sour ahead of the fire or during happy hour for a combination of nutty, citrus flavors that will help you seamlessly transition to wintertime.

Rye Cocktails for Winter

When the snow starts to fall, tinsel is hung, and chestnuts begin roasting, our favorite winter cocktails will be there to help you imbibe throughout the holiday season. Stoke your celebrations with rye cocktails that coincide with the mood or enjoy life at a slower pace, baking cookies and imbibing in the warmth of a wood-burning fire.

Black Manhattan

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Averna amaro
  • Angostura bitters
  • Orange bitters
  • Garnish with a brandied cherry

A twist on the classic Manhattan, the Black Manhattan replaces sweet vermouth with Averna amaro, resulting in a heavier rendition accented by bitter, herbal notes. A Black Manhattan is one of the winter cocktails best enjoyed during the evening under the guise of gentle conversation and hors d'oeuvres

Boulevardier 

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Campari
  • Sweet vermouth
  • An orange twist for garnishing 

As the temperature starts to change and the evenings become more crisp, the Boulevardier is the perfect cocktail to provide you with an extra layer of warmth. A bitter confection with a touch of booziness, the Boulevardier provides a rich experience that melts away on the palate.

Toronto

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Fernet-Branca
  • Simple syrup
  • Angostura bitters
  • An orange twist for garnishing

A Canadian interpretation of the Manhattan, replacing the traditional sweet vermouth with Fernet-Branca. Patrons can expect this mix to fall in the line of rye whiskey drinks that are dry, rich, and mildly bitter. You might not expect it, but this glass pairs perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as the night winds down. 

Vieux Carré

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Cognac
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Benedictine liqueur
  • Aromatic bitters
  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry or twist of lemon

Amongst the ranks of rye cocktails originating in New Orleans, Vieux Carré, pronounced voo-ka-ray, boasts a flavor that’s boozy, bittersweet, and easy. The casual drinker will delight in a strong spice accompanied by fruity, herbal notes. Rounded off with a honey-like sweetness, this drink is a great accompaniment for your New Year’s Eve celebration.

The Best Whiskey Cocktails for Spring

As the flowers bloom and groundhogs surface, you’ll want to adapt your cocktail preferences to compliment the weather and the occasion. These spring cocktails provide drinkers with options that are sure to brighten the mood and impress. 

Whiskey Sour

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Simple syrup
  • Egg white (optional)
  • Garnish with Angostura bitters

A classic cocktail that’s as refreshing as it is delicious, the Whiskey Sour is delicately tart with a sweetness that cuts through it in a wonderful way. Combined with a silky texture that makes it go down easy, this drink should be on your list of spring cocktails best enjoyed while day drinking.

Scofflaw

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Dry vermouth
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Grenadine
  • Orange bitters
  • Garnish with an orange twist 

A cocktail with Parisian origins, the Scofflaw is freshly acidic, sweet, and citrusy. You’ll find this is one of those rye whiskey cocktails that eases you into a conversation, best for enjoying over an outdoor lunch date.

Sazerac 

Basic Ingredients

  • Absinthe to rinse your glass
  • A sugar cube
  • Peychaud’s bitters
  • Angostura bitters
  • Rye whiskey
  • Cognac
  • Garnish with a lemon peel

The Sazerac is amongst a list of rye whiskey cocktails with beginnings in New Orleans. Licorice flavors of absinthe elevate the combination of rye and cognac, creating a flavor that’s smooth, spicy, and magically dark.

Manhattan

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Angostura bitters
  • Orange bitters
  • Garnish with a brandied cherry

One of the most renowned rye whiskey drinks amongst casual drinkers, the Manhattan is a liquor-forward spirit that’s enhanced by its complimentary ingredients. Expect a strong contrast between sweet and spicy notes, with subtle herbal, citrus overtones that round out the flavor. A great option for the person looking to simply appreciate a drink, or for pairing with a varied menu of items like chicken & waffles, rack of lamb, or chocolate pie!

Let Your Rye Cocktails Change with the Season

Everyone has their favorite cocktail, but we encourage you to explore all the variations in the world of rye whiskey drinks. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find. With a cocktail for every occasion, your expertise for drinking won’t just be admired by confidants, it will be a valuable asset to any occasion with a selection of spirits on hand.

Latest News

Catoctin Creek - Best of Virginia 2022

Once again, Catoctin Creek has been awarded #1 BEST OF VIRGINIA for Distillery in Northern Virginia in Virginia Living magazine! Nestled* on the banks of its namesake creek, Catoctin opening in 2009 as the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since...

Read more

American Whiskey: Profile on Catoctin Creek

Maggie Kimberl of American Whiskey magazine recently caught up with Becky Harris for an update on the distillery: MK: Catoctin Creek whiskeys have garnered some major accolades over the years. What are you most proud of? RH: This is a really challenging...

Read more

The Spirits Business: Ten female-founded spirits brands

Nice to see Becky included in The Spirits Business roundup of ten female-founded spirits brands on International Women's Day. Becky Harris co-founded Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in Virginia with her husband Scott in 2009. Based in Loudoun County in the north...

Read more

Contact Us

Catoctin Creek Distillery

Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W Main St
Purcellville, VA 20132

Tel +1-540-751-8404

catoctincreek.com

buyvirginiarye.com


Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

Virginia is for Lovers

Latest Events

Hot Honey Finish Release

  MAY 23   Barrel Select Hot Honey Finish Whisky Release 8:00am Beginning Monday, May 23rd at 8am, we will release the Catoctin Creek Barrel Select Hot Honey Finish whisky!  Just in time for Father's Day!! ...

Read more

Summer Dinner at the Distillery - Chef Erik Foxx

  JUN 10   Dinner at the Distillery with Chef Erik Foxx 7:00pm—9:30pm Join us for our summer dinner at the distillery with special guest chef, Erik Foxx!  Dinner will be a four-course affair, using seasonal...

Read more

Catoctin Creek Bottling Workshop

  JUN 18   Bottling Workshop 10:00am—12:00pm 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 Roundstone Rye. Get...

Read more
ennlfifrdeites