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4 Classic Rye Whiskey Mixed Drinks Recipes

Updated on May 24, 2012

And them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye...
Singing, "This'll be the day that I die...
This'll be the day that I die..."

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Immortalized in the classic song "American Pie" by singer-songwriter Don McLean, rye whiskey is still generally unknown to much of the USA's population. In Canada, "rye" is just another name for whiskey, but here in the States, rye whiskey is defined by its distillation: at least 51% rye. It was popular primarily in the northeastern states prior to Prohibition, but largely disappeared afterward... until now.It's enjoying a big comeback, and to help you be a part of the revolution, here are 5 delicious classic rye whiskey drink recipes. Enjoy!

Rye And Ginger Recipe

This rye cocktail was so popular during Prohibition that ginger ale sales nearly doubled. It is now a staple in Canada and New York. Easy to make and easy on the tastebuds, this is a great place to start developing your appreciation for this unique spirit.


  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 4-6 oz ginger ale
  • ice


Pour whiskey into a tumbler or old-fashioned cocktail glass. Top with ginger ale, and add ice last.

Sazerac cocktail
Sazerac cocktail | Source

Sazerac Recipe

This drink (sometimes misspelled "Sazarac") was invented in the late 19th century. It was originally made with cognac until an epidemic ruined France's wine grape crops, and rye was the choice alternative. It also features absinthe, but used Herbsaint as a substitute during the time that absinthe was illegal in the United States. Today, the Sazerac is the official cocktail of New Orleans, but you can enjoy it any time, any place.


  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1 sugar cube (or 1 tsp simple syrup)
  • splash of absinthe (or Herbsaint)
  • lemon peel


Fill one old fashioned glass with ice and cold water to chill. In another glass, muddle sugar cube (or simple syrup, if that's what you have on hand) and bitters. Add rye and stir. Empty the chilled glass of water and ice, and pour in your splash of absinthe. Turn the glass to coat and discard the excess. Add the rye mixture, then twist a strip of lemon peel over the glass and rub the rim. You can either add the twist to your cocktail, or discard it, as you see fit.

Manhattan Recipe

This cocktail is commonly made with bourbon today, but if you want to enjoy it in all its historical glory, you need to try a rye whiskey Manhattan. Once again, Prohibition changed the traditional makeup of a drink, based on availability. You'll find a rye Manhattan more spicy and flavorful than its bourbon counterpart. But sip slowly... these things can be deadly!


  • 3 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • brandied or candied cherry


Add whiskey, vermouth, and bitters to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake until a slow 5-count past the moment that the outside of the shaker becomes cold to the touch. Pour into a martini glass, straight up.


Some people prefer their Manhattans stirred, not shaken. In this case, mix all ingredients, then serve in a tumbler or old-fashioned glass, on the rocks.

There are also some who prefer to coat the glass with vermouth and pour out the excess (as with the absinthe in the Sazerac), rather than mix all the ingredients together.

Prohibition Party Campaign Card
Prohibition Party Campaign Card | Source

Scofflaw Recipe

The name for this drink came, ironically, from a 1920s term for someone who drank alcohol, scoffing at the Prohibition law. While it was originally made with grenadine, not green Chartreuse, this was probably because of the low quality whiskey bartenders were working with. To make bigger profits, bootleggers diluted whiskey with everything from iodine to embalming fluid, so the sweeter addition of grenadine was probably necessary to mask the toxic taste. Fortunately, today we have high-quality rye to work with, so Chartreuse works just fine.


  • 1 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 3/4 oz green Chartreuse (or grenadine, if you like something sweeter)
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 2 dashes orange bitters


Stir all ingredients in a tall glass or cocktail shaker with ice, and strain into a martini glass. Simple and delicious!

Chime in!

What's your favorite rye whiskey drink?

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    • profile image

      danielabram 5 years ago

      Great drinks! Too bad I'm not 21 :-(

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 6 years ago from Oakland, CA

      I enjoy whiskey straight as well, poshcoffeeco. For example, my partner and I brought home a delicious bottle of rye from a craft distillery in New York, and the layers of flavor are just amazing. However, I can't always afford the quality of whiskey that I'd like. ;)

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 6 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Maddie, I love Whiskey but could never think about taking it any other way but straight.Flavour is just too unique I think to mess around with it. Each to his own I guess.

      Great informative hub all the same.

      up / interesting

    • cabmgmnt profile image

      Corey 6 years ago from Northfield, MA

      I used to pride myself on making Manhattans when I was a beartender, can't wait to try all of these recipes. Thanks for the prohibition history lesson. Cool hub!

    • Soramelo profile image

      Soramelo 6 years ago

      Love Whiskey and enjoyed your recipes.

      Rated this hub.

      Thank you :-)

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Brings back fond memories of New Orleans.. Flag up!

    • andrewwilliams63 profile image

      andrewwilliams63 6 years ago

      Whiskey and ginger ale...sounds like a good combination to me, must try that one out later! thanks for the recipes :-)

    • cmlindblom profile image

      Chris 6 years ago from middletown, ct

      i will also print these out and give them a try. They are pretty interesting drinks and love mixxing new ones.

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 6 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Print them out, Cardisa! There's a "print" button on the voting bar just above this comment section.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      I am coming back to copy these recipes. Thanks for sharing, I am sure I will enjoy them!

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 6 years ago from Oakland, CA

      I'm going through a phase where I'm obsessed with Prohibition-era drinks. Maybe I'm watching too much "Boardwalk Empire" on demand.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      I was in New Orleans last year and indulged in more than one Sazerac. They are fantastic if they're not made too strong. The one I had was at the Roosevelt Hotel, which claims to have invented the drink, and they made it with Herbsaint.