Spicier than bourbon, rye was the most popular whiskey in the country before Prohibition. Made from a mash of fermented rye grain—usually with barley, corn and other grains mixed in—rye whiskey has a more aggressive flavor than the sweeter bourbon and is traditionally used in classic cocktails such as the Sazerac and the Manhattan. Thanks to a growing interest in rye, NYC bartenders are mixing up rye cocktails across the city. By Selena Ricks-Good.
Saxon & Parole
New York, NY
The AvroKO-designed Double Crown has been transformed into brand-new American grill Saxon & Parole, featuring a menu by chef Brad Farmerie (Public). Named after a pair of prizewinning racehorses, the restaurant takes the American theme further with its own house-distilled rye whiskey. The 90-proof Parole Whiskey is distilled for two years in new American Oak barrels and goes into the house Manhattan as well as a vanilla ice cream on the dessert menu. Also try the Pecan and Maple Sazerac (rye whiskey, Cognac, pecan sugar, absinthe and Peychaud’s bitters).
25 Ave. B
New York, NY
The motto here is “bourbon, beer and rock,” and Idle Hands delivers with a heavy metal soundtrack and a menu of sipping bourbons including a list of rye. From Rittenhouse to WhistlePig, order yours neat, on the rocks or mixed into a classic cocktail.
Char No. 4
196 Smith St.
Brown spirits rule at this Cobble Hill bar and restaurant featuring more than 150 American whiskeys. Try more than a dozen rye whiskies by the ounce, from the familiar Wild Turkey 101 Proof ($4 for 1 oz.) to the rare Hirsch 21 Kentucky Rye ($100 for 1 oz.) Pair with Southern dishes such as the chopped pork sandwich or cheddar curds with pimento sauce.
451 Graham Ave.
This East Williamsburg Prohibition-themed cocktail bar features rye whiskey in its Manhattan and in the Brooklyn (rye, dry vermouth, Amer Torani and maraschino liqueur). On Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m., the bar is hosting a cookout with $6 Templeton Rye cocktails paired with Iowa pulled pork sandwiches.
247 S. 1st St.
Naturally, at a bar named Rye, you would expect to find rye whiskey. This vintage Williamsburg bar and restaurant features rye in its classic Old Fashioned and Sazerac as well as the Havemeyer Cocktail (overproof rye whiskey, Antica Vermouth, fino sherry and bitters). Cocktails here are just $10 and a happy hour from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays offers Brooklynites even further incentive to imbibe.