“That’s not a vernacular, that’s a derby!”
Bonus points if you get the reference, but if you don’t, it’s all right … these drinks will console you just fine. If the first one was served on the rocks instead of up, I could’ve easily included this one in Old Fashioned Month. It’s just whiskey, bitters, and a sweetener, and it packs a wallop! Good for warming the old bones (or any bones over the legal drinking age in your country of residence) during the holiday season. The second is another common variant, and is sort of a bourbon-based Pegu Club. Strange, but not bad!
The Derby #1 is a simple concoction of rye, Benedictine, and bitters, and it packs a serious wallop, especially if you use 100-proof rye, which I did. If Manhattans just don’t have enough of that “HELLO, BOOZE HERE TO SEE YOU!” feel for you, give this one a shot.
The Derby #2 is a lot gentler, combining a mere ounce of whiskey with sweet vermouth, lime juice, and curacao. It’s pretty tasty, with a nice zing that helps it go down easily. The pairing of bourbon and lime is unusual but not entirely out of left field – after all, the Whiskey Sour is a long-standing-classic, and while lime has a very distinctive and different flavor from lemon, it works well here.
Incidentally, there is also a Brown Derby cocktail that uses grapefruit juice and honey syrup. It’s sometimes abbreviated to just being called a Derby, so if you’ve heard of that one before and were wondering why there’s no grapefruit juice in these two, well … that’s why!
Items in parentheses are what I used when making this drink, and are included as recommendations.
The Rye Whiskey Derby Cocktail Recipe
- Bar spoon
- 2.5 oz. Rye Whiskey (Knob Creek)
- .25 oz. Benedictine Benedictine
- 2 dashes Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)
- Orange twist Garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a pint glass over ice and stir thoroughly.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.
The Derby #2 Cocktail Recipe
- Cocktail shaker
- Cocktail Strainer
- 1 oz. Bourbon Whiskey (Four Roses)
- .75 oz. Fresh lime juice
- .5 oz. Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
- .5 oz. Grand Marnier or Curacao (Pierre Ferrand)
- Lime wedge Garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake thoroughly.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lime wedge.