Spirits & Liqueurs Liqueur

This Is How to Bring Rock & Rye Back from the Dead

Rock & Rye bottles

Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

Shove over cocktails on tap, there’s yet another new bottled cocktail in town. Rock & Rye is ready for its close-up. Again.

Rock & Rye was all the rage in the 19th century, when straight rye whiskey mixed with rock candy, sugar and citrus. Any barman worth his salt, er, sugar would use these ingredients to soften the raw edge of then-popular straight rye, a fermented, distilled grain abundant and well-used by Revolutionary soldiers.

Mister Katz's Rock & Rye bottle
Mister Katz's Rock & Rye uses New York State-sourced rye.  Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

Now, after a year, when whiskey wrestled vodka to the mat in U.S. sales by volume, several producers are poised to revive Rock Y Rye—this time in bottle form.

“Rock & Rye would have been an impossible sell without the public’s new familiarity with rye,” says Robert Simonson, author of "The Old-Fashioned," a drink Rock & Rye strives to taste like. The similarity is especially uncanny in the most recently released bottled Rock & Rye, New York Distilling’s Mr. Katz’s Rock & Rye. This bottling is made from New York State–sourced rye and then flavored with Brooklyn’s own Sugar in the Raw, orange peel, cinnamon and cherry.

Just a hair of a month earlier than that release, Reilly’s Ginger Rock & Rye hit shelves, its orange-peel punch apparent at first whiff. Then there’s the brand that spawned the trend in the modern era, Hochstadter’s Slow & Low from the Cooper Spirits Company, which has been muddling around shelves since 2012, and offers a spicier treatment.

A little necromancy never hurt anyone, right?