1.07.2014

The Thrifted Kitchen: Rock & Rye


Some weeks ago before the holiday hustle, I picked up a copy of the 1976 Sappington School Mothers' Club Christmas Goodies cook book at an estate sale. I love buying these collections of carefully crafted recipes from dedicated school moms as they're often family favorites, and this particular packet was a little different from ones I've seen in that it had an extensive "drinks" section that didn't shy away from the spirits!


Since whiskey is all the rage right now, my eye was drawn to a recipe called Rock & Rye, which takes a bottle of rye whiskey, rock candy, orange, lemon and maraschino cherries and lets them marinate in a jar for at least a week. I'd never heard of this cocktail before, so I did a little Googling and found an article from Saveur and one from The Wall Street Journal that were very enlightening.


Apparently the drink was popularized in America's early saloons, when bartender's put rock candy (or its syrup) into rye whiskey to smooth it out. Then, once Prohibition hit, rock and rye was patented for medicinal use and started making its way into people's medicine cabinets.

Yesterday our batch reached its one-week maturation, and after indulging in a couple glasses, I have to say I'm ready to my this a regular in our liquor cabinet.


A few notes about ingredients and tools: 

> The rock candy was tricky to track down at regular stores, but those of you in St. Louis can find it at General Candy Company in the city on Oleatha. Or you can order boxes of it online.

> The wide-mouth quart jar is by Ball and I found mine at Target. It's also sold at Hobby Lobby.

Happy slugging! ;-)

Rock and Rye
Courtesy of the 1976 Sappington School Mothers' Club Christmas Goodies cook book
Yields 2/3 quart jar

1 quart-size wide-mouth jar
6 ounces natural rock candy (no flavor)
13 maraschino cherries
1 orange slice (1/4" thick), cut in 8 pieces
1 thin slice of lemon, diced
1/2 to 3/4 cup maraschino cherry juice
1 bottle rye whiskey (I used George Dickel)

Put everything from rock candy through cherry juice into quart jar. Pour entire bottle of whiskey on top. Stir to combine. Store in a dark, dry place for at least one week. Strain and enjoy!

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