With the longest legacy in American whiskey distillation, rye is the spicier and edgier brother to Bourbon, sharing a similar distillation process but replacing 51% corn with 51% rye grain. Typically preferred the by the seasoned whiskey drinker due to its peppery taste and lingering, smoldering essence of grain and fruit. No self respecting bar is complete without a good bottle of rye like Old Overholt, one of America’s oldest whiskey brands or Sazerac, arguably the premier representation of the style. In fact, if you were to wonder into a bar and ask for a rye cocktail, odds are the bartender would sling you a cocktail called The Sazerac while whistling some New Orleans jazz. We’d also recommend giving The Scofflaw a whirl if you want to see rye truly shine.
If you have a broad palate and can’t decide between bourbon and rye, rest assured, there is a whiskey for you and it comes with a whole host of tasty opportunity: blended whiskey! Precisely what the name implies, blended whiskey’s are mix different levels of rye, bourbon and often times neutral grain spirits with other flavoring. More malleable and conducive to honing in specific flavors in terms of taste or for cocktails, blends embody no limit but the sky when it comes to versatility and creativity. To understand what we mean, we recommend giving Redwood Empire Lost Monarch a taste, first “straight up” to experience the intricacies of its remarkable taste, and then find yourself some sweet vermouth, bitters and cherries to whip up a Manhattan!
Looking for an amazing Manhattan kit? Check this out, along with our Hi-Lo take on the Manhattan: The Confirmed Bachelor.
Mike is the wine and spirits program manager at Hi-Lo, doing the honorable work of tasting all the great stuff he can find, and then handing us his all-time favorites. Mike keeps it seasonal, of-the-moment, fresh and fun.