I recently returned from a quick trip to Las Vegas and thought I'd show off a few choice items I picked up that, unfortunately, we can't get here in Alberta yet. Up first is Rittenhouse Rye Whisky.
As a patriotic Canadian, I do enjoy my Canadian whisky and have several bottles in my cabinet at the moment. However, the priority for these whiskies seems to be in their smoothness and subtlety, which makes them great for sipping neat, but not so desirable for mixing in cocktails, where the spirit base must be able to hold its own with other bold flavours. Consequently, I have been very excited to get my hands on some good ole' American Rye Whisky, which is known to be spicier and more flavorful than its Canadian counterpart.
Rittenhouse Rye is no exception. The bottle I found is the 100 Proof Bottled in Bond edition, which means that it conforms to the Bottled-In-Bond Act of 1897. This legislation specifies that the spirit must be aged in a federally bonded warehouse under government supervision for a minimum of four years and must be bottled at 100 proof, or 50% alcohol. These rules were put in place as a means of guaranteeing the quality and authenticity of American spirits.
The quality of Rittenhouse Rye is evident at the first taste. It has a huge peppery spiciness that is perfect for mixing with, and what better to mix than the classic Manhattan, a drink that cocktail historian Dave Wondrich feels is "as close to divine perfection as a cocktail can be."
2 oz Rittenhouse Rye Whisky
1 oz Noilly Pratt Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes of Angostora bitters
Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a twist of lemon.
After tasting my first true rye Manhattan I have to agree with Wondrich. The spice of the Rye balances perfectly with the sweet herbal notes of Noilly's delicious vermouth. Perhaps it's good that I can't get this Rye at my local store. Perfection should not be so easily attainable.