Dreams Never End
Sometimes spicy rye needs something to soften it a bit. In this cocktail from John Evans of NYC's Black Market, the whiskey is deepened with Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, plus an easy brown sugar and pear syrup, which adds a molasses-like richness.
Tart lime and the heat of fresh ginger juice complements the rye in this cocktail from Sother Teague of Amor y Amargo in NYC. The gingery burn lingers on the tongue, and lime juice cuts through. If you're a fan of ginger drinks, you should really try this one.
Mott and Mulberry
This drink, when you get down to it, is basically the best spiced cider you ever had. In this shaken rye cocktail from Leo Robitschek of The Nomad and Eleven Madison Park in NY, Amaro Abano adds complexity and spice, Demerara syrup adds richness, and fresh lemon adds brightness to high-quality unfiltered apple cider. Amaro Abano is delicately mentholated and full of clove-like flavors—think of it as existing somewhere halfway between sweet Averna and mentholated Fernet.
If you generally like a whiskey sour, this is an excellent update to try. Tart lemon juice balances with maple syrup in this rye cocktail from Erick Adkins of Heaven's Dog and the Slanted Door in San Francisco. The rich texture of a little egg white foam is an essential element of the drink.
New York Shrub
Don't be afraid of the balsamic vinegar in this rye cocktail from New York's Peels restaurant. It's reduced down until tangy and rich, then shaken with lemon, simple syrup, and rye, resulting in a whiskey drink that's balanced and fresh with a clean, slightly oaky finish.
Sweet pink grapefruits are cocktail-ready in winter, and the fresh juice works well here with rich and earthy Rittenhouse Rye, sweetened up with a bit of Carpano Antica. This cocktail from Ehren Ashkenazi of The Modern in NY really showcases the citrus as much as the whiskey.