by Allen Katz
Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation,
Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all.
Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation
In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.
Now that the election is finally over us there is one thing we can all truly celebrate. We will soon have a President who enjoys a tasty tipple. Hallelujah!
And in that Presidential vein there is no better time to hail Rye Whiskey, America’s true native spirit, the source of pleasure and profit of our very first Commander in Chief, George Washington. For all of Washington’s accolades in military and political accomplishment, he spent his final years at Mount Vernon adept in a multitude of businesses, among them the distilling of rye whiskey. So successful, in fact, was Washington that from 1797 – 1799 (when he passed away) he sold in excess of 11,000 gallons of rye whiskey each year – an extraordinary quantity.
After the Revolutionary War rye whiskey was the likely beverage of choice as it was both plentiful and cheap, rye being the chief grain of the mid-Atlantic states, principally Maryland and Pennsylvania where the distillation of rye was most prevalent. As the cocktail renaissance in United States continues, rye whiskey has regained more than a cult following among bartenders and whiskey devotees. And to our great fortune the distilleries (now primarily in Kentucky), which preserved the tradition of producing rye during the lean years post-Prohibition, have begun to release greater quantities and variety of aged marks as well.
If you have never tried a rye whiskey Manhattan, there is probably no finer cocktail. Savory, silky and refreshing, the addition of rye (rather than bourbon) adds a rather smooth finish that is even more noticeable on the second round.
Here’s hoping your candidate was victorious. Either way, celebrate our heritage and enjoy a tipple grand American rye whiskey.
2 oz Rye Whiskey
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Stir ingredients over ice until exceedingly well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
By profession, Allen Katz is the Director of Mixology & Spirits Education for Southern Wine & Spirits of New York. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Slow Food USA. [ed. please note that Allen is also newly-famous for growing an incredibly lustrous and absorbent beard, in the name of charity.]