In the 19th and early 20th century, rye was the go-to liquor. Many traditional cocktails–like the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned–originated as rye cocktails.
But after Prohibition ended in 1933, American distillers turned all their attention to bourbon.
No one knows for sure why, but it could be because corn was cheaper than rye. It wasn’t until a few years ago that rye started to come back in demand.
End of history lesson. Onto (ri)1.
The stylish bottle and hard-to-portray name will appeal to those arriving to the rye trend a little late and hoping for something cool.
However, the liquid inside the bottle is as carefully manufactured as the packaging.
(ri)1 is a solid rye offering — deep color, pleasant nose and a smooth, slightly warm taste.
It’s a very straightforward, deliberate whiskey. There are two levels to the taste: honey on the tongue at first and then a peppery finish. It’s more controlled and less layered than a bourbon or scotch.
I see (ri)1 making a big splash on the cocktail scene. It’s an accessible, quality whiskey that is satisfying straight but ideal for cocktails. (The sazerac is my favorite cocktail, and (ri)1 makes for a mean one.)
At about $47, it’s a little pricey compared with other ryes. However, I think that it will have a big influence on what drinkers think of when they think of rye and will inspire some loyal customers.
Here’s a recipe to try (more rye recipes to come!):
- 2 parts rye whiskey
- 1 part sweet vermouth
- 1 dash bitters
Pour ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice and mix. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.