Local restaurants and mixologists share details and recipes for their most prized creations.
Before Prohibition, rye was the most popular grain American farmers distilled with regularity — it’s a cinch to grow and exceptionally resilient. But during Prohibition, Americans relied on softer Canadian liquor and rye was swept under the rug. From the brink of shelf elimination, from the ashes, rye whiskey has risen, and there’s now a more extensive selection of quality rye than ever before. And it’s happened in a flash, with American rye whiskey sales increasing 662 percent from 2009 to 2015, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. More brands continue to join the rye fray, whether big players, small distilleries or non-distiller producers. Rye’s rebirth is in many ways owed to the bartenders who re-popularized the spirit. Here are some local recipes from those very bartenders who believed in rye.
Montage Palmetto Bluff River House
2 1/2 ounces Palmetto Bluff Label Manifest rye
5 dashes Angostura bitters
Muddled orange peel and cherry for garnish
Directions  Muddle the sugar cube with the bitters. Add whiskey. Add an orange peel and muddle lightly.  Add ice to a mixing glass and stir for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Strain into a rocks glass with a large cube of ice.  Garnish with muddled orange peel and a Luxardo cherry on a skewer.
“We chose this as our signature cocktail because of its tie to the Lowcountry and the spirit of entertaining in the South.” — River House
Chez George Bistro & Bar
1 ounce Michter’s rye
3/4 ounce Courvoisier cognac
3/4 ounce B&B (Bénédictine D.O.M. and Brandy)
3/4 sweet vermouth
Directions  Combine all ingredients into a glass beaker, add ice and stir.  Strain with a julep strainer into a coupe glass or over a large ice cube in a rocks glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist.
“Named after one of our own, Eric Bissonnette, bar manager, he created this riff off a classic Vieux Carré highlighting Michter’s rye by adding Courvoisier and B&B in place of the bitters. It showcases the beauty of rye, leaving this cocktail smooth and layered.” — Monica Collins, Chez George Bistro & Bar
Lowcountry Smoked Manhattan
2 1/2 ounces house-blend of Woodford rye, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters
Directions  Stir ingredients together.  Strain into a coupe glass.  Garnish with a cherry.
“Our Lowcountry Smoked Manhattan combines cold smoked Bulleit rye, Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters for a smooth and bold cocktail that’s perfect after your next round of golf.” — Fraser’s Tavern