Rock & Rye History:
In the 19th Century, Rock & Rye was a staple in every corner bar and frontier saloon. Originally, it was a shot of rye over a chunk of rock candy, and if you were lucky, some dried fruit and a bit of spice.
Other Rock and Rye (none available in Hawaii):
Crater Lake Spirits from Bendistillery in Bend, Oregon is releasing Crater Lake Rock and Rye Whiskey in 2019. The product has already appeared in off premise accounts in Oregon, Washington and Idaho and is now expanding outwards. Distributed by Young’s Market Company of Hawaii, the product will be available in 2019.
According to CEO Alan Dietrich, the intent was to create an old fashioned in a bottle that was “perfect around the campfire and around the tailgate.”. Because of this cocktail-in-a-bottle approach, the brand has primarily focused its outreach to on-premise accounts; however, it will slowly make their way into the off-premise arena. The product targets the millennial drinker, but as with many new products, it has gained tractions with unexpected audiences. According to Mr. Dietrich, “We thought it would be popular with the 21 to 35 year old crowd, but it also has been surprisingly been popular with the 55-70 year old demographic who doesn’t want to make their own drink.”
Crater Lake Rye Whiskey
2 yr straight Rye with a mash bill of 5% rye, 5% barley (non-chill filtered and aged in new charred oak barrels)
Crater Lake Original Recipe Bitters
The test batch recipe started with Angostura bitters, but was replaced to a house made bitters to better fit the flavor profile of the Crater Lake Rye, blood orange and dark cherry concentrate
Big Cherry Nose with a hint of orange underneath. The baking spice notes from the rye round out the bouquet.
The first ¾ of the Rock and Rye are solid for generally everyone. It’s Crater Lake Rye’s baking spice notes that sit midpalate with the sweetness of the rock candy following it. The cherry and orange round out. The finish is where personal opinion comes in. The finish is very cherry dominant, specifically bing cherry. If you like your orange wedge and cherry muddled into your old fashion, this drink is for you. If you like your orange to be a wedge sitting on the edge of a glass, or flamed orange oil over the top of the cocktail with a Maraschino cherry that is to be eaten only after finishing the cocktail, then your palette will find this drink too fruity and too sweet.
Over ice or with a splash of soda
Lemon or lime La Croix
Soda + Bianco vermouth
Stone fruit (plums and nectarines in particular) as “garnishes”
This is basically a Crater Lake Rye old fashioned in a bottle. The value comes down to two factors: How much is the consumer willing to pay for Crater Lake rye and how much is the consumer willing to pay for the convenience of a premise cocktail? The Crater Lake Rock and Rye is slightly more expensive than Crater Lake Rye. The price differential can be attributed to the cherry and orange being cheaper than the rye whiskey, but the house-made bitters offset the ingredient cost savings. This means the price differential is attributed to the labor cost of someone premaking the beverage. Therefore, the question becomes: How much is the convenience charge worth? If the convenience is worth $5 for the 10 to 16 cocktails that one would have otherwise had to make from buying, cutting and then muddling oranges and cherries, than you’ll find value in purchasing Crater Lake Rock and Rye.