Rock & Rye All Night

Crater Lake Rock & Rye, the latest release from Bend-based Crater Lake Spirits, is a throwback to the heyday of American cocktails.

Rock & Rye was one of the most popular drinks of the 19th century and a staple in every bar and saloon. The drink predates even the earliest cocktail guides, so no one can say who made the first Rock & Rye cocktail. Early versions were simply rye whiskey served over a chunk of rock candy or mixed with rock candy syrup — hence the “rock” in rock & rye.

Before long bartenders were customizing the Rock & Rye in all sorts of ways with additional flavors such as citrus, dried fruit, ginger, spices, etc. The cocktail’s popularity continued to grow into the early 20th century and was a staple of any well-rounded bar menu of the time. After Prohibition you could still find a good Rock & Rye but as bourbon supplanted rye as the preferred American whiskey, the Rock & Rye lost its place at the bar to its more highbrow cousins, the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan. Despite, or maybe because of, the fact that many Rock & Rye brands continued to be sold during Prohibition as “medicinal preparations” the drink eventually became thought of as a toddy your grandmother made to treat a sore throat or cold. With the rise of vodka during the 50s and 60s the Rock & Rye completely slipped from most back bars and was all but lost to cocktail culture.

Fast forward to today and the craft spirits revolution. Classic cocktails are everywhere, as are seemingly unlimited new drink creations. Crater Lake Spirits, already known for producing distilled spirits with deep historical roots, pulls from the many original Rock & Rye recipes to create a contemporary version of the classic drink. The Crater Lake Rock & Rye combines their rye whiskey with rock candy, dark cherries, bloody orange and bitters. The result is a cocktail that could have easily been ordered at any pre-Prohibition bar. Crater Lake’s modern reboot can be enjoyed right out of the bottle, over ice or maybe with a splash of soda water. The Rock & Rye is a tasty, uncomplicated drink that is full of history and equally at home in the local corner bar, around the campfire or on the tailgate. With this in mind, Crater Lake offers their Rock & Rye in both 750ml bottles and lightweight, unbreakable plastic flasks.