New York Times spirits columnist Robert Simonson reports on the return of rock and rye. The American liqueur, a blend of rye whiskey and rock candy syrup, along with some citrus and other flavors, was popular in the late 19th century but generally disappeared after Prohibition.
While many bartenders at the time touted rock and rye’s medicinal qualities, some cocktail historians say the practice of serving rye with a side of rock candy syrup or a piece of rock candy, was to improve or mask the flavor of poor quality whiskies. Today’s interest is more about curiosity about antique spirits and the trend of drinking sweeter libations.
Craft cocktail enthusiasts will likely be intrigued by new rock and rye offering from boutique distillers. For instance, spirits entrepreneur Robert Cooper (of St. Germain fame) launched Slow & Low rock and rye in 2012, while Brooklyn’s New York Distilling Company just released its Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye.
The rock and rye comeback also dovetails with the popularity of flavored whiskey, particularly the honey expressions. Here’s the full NYT article.