Sunday, January 10, 2010

rock & rye

I've been researching cocktails for a seasonal winter cocktail menu and I have become obsessed with Rock & Rye. I knew Rye was once a big Maryland export but I didn't know much else about it. (Pikesville is a Bmore suburb although it's now produced in Kentucky, it still says "Old Maryland Style" on the bottle) Rock & Rye in basically infused rye with rock candy (hence the rock) and various spices depending on who you ask. Most recipes also include some form of horehound- an old fashioned cough remedy. Rock & Rye itself was though to cure colds-- I found this quote all over the web: "At a 1952 conference of the Common Cold Foundation, a prominent Johns Hopkins virologist, Dr. Thomas G. Ward, was asked what medicine could do against the stubborn rhinovirus. “Personally, my favorite treatment is old Maryland Rock and Rye,” he replied." Maybe it's just because I want it to work... but I swear it has helped combat my current cold. I am also in love with the strings of rock candy- they are so pretty. Contemplating a way to use them as a garnish without melting them. This is my Rock & Rye recipe compiled from various historical and non-historical accounts:

  • 1 bottle of rye
  • handful orange slices
  • handful lemon slices
  • a string of rock candy-- maybe 6 inches or so?
  • a few cloves
  • a few cinnamon sticks
  • a few horehound candies (make sure they use real horehound)

Steep in a pitcher for two days or so- until the sugar and the candies have dissolved completely. Strain and use.
When it's done you can make R&R manhattans, toddies, on the rocks with gingerale or seltzer or even a R&R flip (pretty standard except for the rock and the maple which I added):

  • 1.5 oz rock & rye
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ oz maple syrup
  • dash bitters
  • 1 large egg white

Shake with ice then strain into a glass.

Flips are one of my favorite old fashioned types of drinks- they always involve egg white which makes them super frothy when shaken. I use powdered whites in drinks because they are easier and won't give you salmonella. You could make this drink with plain rye as well.

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