Rock and Rye Cocktail Recipe

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Rock and Rye Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Rock and Rye cocktail has its roots in the United States, dating back to the 19th century. It was initially used as a medicinal remedy for colds and sore throats, but eventually became a popular cocktail. The name 'Rock and Rye' comes from the rock candy that was used to sweeten the rye whiskey.

  • Originated in the United States
  • Initially used as a medicinal remedy
  • Named after the rock candy used to sweeten the rye whiskey

How Rock and Rye Tastes?

The Rock and Rye cocktail is a harmonious blend of sweet, spicy, and citrus flavors. The rye whiskey provides a strong, robust base, while the rock candy syrup adds a touch of sweetness. The addition of lemon and orange peels brings a refreshing citrus note to the mix.

Interesting facts about Rock and Rye

  • Rock and Rye was once considered a medicinal remedy for colds and sore throats
  • The cocktail was popular during the Prohibition era
  • It is often served as a digestif after a meal


  • Rye whiskey: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Rock candy syrup: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Lemon peel: 1
  • Orange peel: 1
  • Maraschino cherry: 1

Rye whiskey: 2 oz

Rye whiskey is the backbone of this cocktail - spicy, robust, and just a tad sweet. It's like the lead singer in a rock band, without it you just have a bunch of background noise. If you go over 2 oz, the whiskey might overpower its sweet counterpart; if you use less, the drink could end up too sweet.

Emma Rose

Rock candy syrup: 0.5 oz

This is the 'rock' in Rock and Rye, bringing a smooth sweetness that harmonizes with the edgier rye. Remove it and the balance tips causing your Rock and Rye to hit a sour note. If you want a less sweet drink, you could replace it with simple syrup, but then again, would it still be Rock and Rye?

Alex Green

Lemon peel: 1

It's like the high note in a killer guitar solo - adding brightness and zing. Leave it out, and you'll miss that citrus spark, which livens up the drink. But if you want a different twist, try grapefruit peel for a bolder, slightly bitter citrus kick.

Mary Mitkina

Orange peel: 1

This is the warm, aromatic hug that complements the rye's spice. No orange, no complex aroma wafting up as you take a sip. An alternative could be tangerine peel, which is sweeter and less intense, changing the profile subtly.

Emma Rose

Maraschino cherry: 1

The cherry on top. It's a small yet iconic garnish that also adds a touch of sweetness and color. Omit it, and the drink still works, but you lose that classic garnish flair. Another berry, like a black cherry, can add a deeper sweetness and a touch of sophistication.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Rock and Rye Drink

  1. In a mixing glass, combine the rye whiskey and rock candy syrup
  2. Stir the mixture until well combined
  3. Fill a rocks glass with ice
  4. Strain the mixture into the rocks glass
  5. Express the lemon and orange peels over the cocktail and drop them into the glass
  6. Garnish with a maraschino cherry

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality rye whiskey for the best flavor
  • Make sure to stir the mixture well to fully combine the whiskey and syrup
  • Express the citrus peels over the cocktail to release their oils and enhance the flavor

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Board: The spicy, warming notes of rye whiskey pair exceptionally well with cured meats and artisanal cheeses.
  • Smoked Almonds: Their smokey flavor complements the woodiness of the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Steak: The robust flavors of a nicely charred steak would be a great match for the Rock and Rye cocktail.
  • BBQ Ribs: The sweet and spicy elements of BBQ sauce echo the combo of rock candy syrup and rye whiskey.


  • Dark Chocolate: A piece of rich dark chocolate to contrast the sweetness and play up the depth of the whiskey.
  • Apple Pie: The spices in the pie, like cinnamon and nutmeg, would resonate with the cocktail's warm undertones.

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What you could change in Rock and Rye

  • Bourbon can be used in place of rye whiskey
  • Simple syrup can be used as a substitute for rock candy syrup
  • Lime or grapefruit peels can be used instead of lemon and orange peels

Explore all drinks starting with R here

And of course - twists🍹

Honey & Herb Rock and Rye

  • Substitute rock candy syrup with honey syrup
  • Add a sprig of thyme

The honey adds a floral sweetness and the thyme provides a herbaceous note, creating a more complex and earthy cocktail.

Spiced Rock and Rye

  • Add a dash of Angostura bitters
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon

The Angostura bitters give depth and a hint of bitterness, while the cinnamon brings a warm spiciness that makes the cocktail ideal for a chilly evening.

Fruity Rock and Rye

  • Muddle a few blackberries with the rock candy syrup
  • Use a splash of elderflower liqueur

This twist adds a fruity, floral note to the drink, which makes it more refreshing and great for a summer night.

In case you forgot basics how to make Rock and Rye

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Rock and Rye

What is the best time to drink a Rock and Rye cocktail?

While it can be enjoyed anytime, the Rock and Rye cocktail was traditionally a digestif, thus it is often served after a meal.

What type of rye whiskey is recommended for a Rock and Rye cocktail?

You can use any type of rye whiskey, but a high-quality one is recommended for the best flavor.

What is the ideal serving temperature for a Rock and Rye cocktail?

You should serve the cocktail chilled, usually at around 33 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of the Rock and Rye cocktail?

Certainly, you can replace the rye whiskey with a non-alcoholic alternative like ginger ale.

How do I store leftover Rock and Rye cocktail?

Leftover cocktail can be stored in a clean, air-tight glass bottle in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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