Rock the Bells
1 1/4 oz Rock and Rye <Hochstadters>
1 oz amber rum <Folly Cove>
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz orange juice
Few dashes Fee Bros whiskey barrel aged bitters
Shake with ice, strain into ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with orange peel
There was a restaurant in the town where I grew up that billed itself as a trendy, modern italian place. It was the first restaurant I ever saw that had “trattoria” in its name. While I don’t remember much about their food, they did have a giant jar upfront filled with rock candy. I have no idea why, but I didn’t ask questions. I would just make sure to grab one every time I was in there. It was like candy crack to me. Imagine my surprise years later when I found out about a cordial made by combining rye whiskey, rock candy, orange peel and some bitter herbs. Needless to say, I grabbed a bottle as soon as I found it.
Rock and Rye goes back to the early nineteenth century, when bartenders would play ersatz doctors and prescribe it to their patrons to soothe a variety of ailments. This approach certainly helped as prohibition neared, as they could claim the drink truly had medicinal value. It didn’t survive Prohibition that well, but it seems to be making a comeback. Hochstadters and Mr. Katz’s are some bottles I’ve seen around.
While it’s basically a cocktail in a bottle (serve over ice, or throw some bitters in there to spice it up), I thought the flavors might work well for a holiday themed cocktail. Aiming for something you could sip at a holiday party and still hold a conversation, I featured the rock and rye as the main base spirit. The addition of rum brought in some vanilla notes that were a nice compliment. Benedictine gives it some clove and mulled wine flavors, while a bit of orange juice helps bring out the orange peels in the rock and rye itself. A few dashes of barrel aged bitters blanket everything in warm cinammon.
Airing of Grievances
1 1/2 oz blended Scotch <Sheep Dip>
3/4 oz Becherovka
1/4 oz Creme de Cacao
Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Sticking with the holiday theme, I decided to bring back the Becherovka from last week’s Jagroni (see what happens when you end up with a weird bottle in your bar). In addition to the cinnamon flavors, there was a minty profile somewhere in there, almost like those peppermint candies or candy canes. Playing off the candy thing, some Creme de Cacao seemed like a natural choice to up the sweetness ante a bit*. A blended scotch serves as the base, and makes this a perfect candidate for contemplative sipping in front of the fire. The Becherovka lends some digestif properties as well. I named it Airing of Grievances, in honor of one of the lesser known holidays.
*On my first attempt, I used a 1/2 oz of Creme de Cacao, but the drink was quite chocolaty. Even after dropping it to 1/4 oz, there was still plenty of chocolate flavor coming through, but closer to what I envisioned. Suit to your, and your drinker’s, tastes.