Summer Rye Cocktail Recipe

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Summer 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 16, 2024


The Summer Rye cocktail is a refreshing concoction that embodies the spirit of summer with its bright and zesty flavors. It's a relatively modern drink, likely inspired by the classic whiskey sour, but with a seasonal twist that includes the addition of elderflower liqueur and apple juice.

  • Perfect for those long, warm evenings, the Summer Rye has quickly become a favorite among patrons who appreciate a sophisticated yet playful cocktail.
  • The drink is often associated with laid-back garden parties and has a certain rustic charm to it.
  • It's a hit with those who enjoy a balance of sweet and tart flavors, with the rye whiskey providing a robust backbone.

How Summer Rye Tastes?

The Summer Rye cocktail is a harmonious blend of sweet, floral, and tart flavors. The rye whiskey gives it a spicy kick, while the St-Germain adds a subtle floral note. The lemon juice provides a refreshing acidity, and the apple juice brings a natural sweetness and fruitiness to the drink. The Champagne topping adds a fizzy, celebratory feel, making it a perfect summer sipper.

Interesting facts about Summer Rye

  • The use of rye whiskey in the Summer Rye cocktail adds a distinct, spicy grain flavor that sets it apart from other summer drinks.
  • St-Germain, made from elderflower, is a French liqueur that has gained popularity in recent years for its versatility in cocktails.
  • The addition of Champagne not only elevates the drink but also makes it suitable for celebratory occasions or as an aperitif.


Sazerac Rye Whiskey

The rye whiskey adds a spicy and fruity quality that forms the backbone of this cocktail. If you skimp on it, you'll miss out on the depth and warmth that defines a good Summer Rye. But go overboard, and you'll overshadow the more subtle notes.

Mary Mitkina

St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur

This liqueur brings a light floral sweetness that harmonizes with the whiskey and complements the fruit juices. Removing it would take away the signature elderflower charm of the drink, making it less refreshing.

Mary Mitkina

Simple Syrup

It's the sweet whisper in the night, rounding out the edges of acidity and tempering the whiskey's strength. Too much, and you're in a sugar shock; too little, and the harmony is off. Alternative: honey syrup for a more robust sweetness.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice

Freshly squeezed lemon juice provides a bright, zesty kick, balancing the sweetness with its acidity. Lemon also highlights the apple's tartness. Forget it, and the drink loses its refreshing edge. Alternative: lime juice for a tangier profile.

Mary Mitkina

Fuji Apple Juice

This juice adds a crisp, sweet element that ties in beautifully with the rye and elderflower. Absence of Fuji apple juice would mean losing that crisp orchard freshness. Alternative: another sweet apple variety or pear juice for a twist.

Mary Mitkina


Champagne adds effervescence and a touch of class, giving the cocktail a celebratory feel. Skip it, and you'll miss the fizzy lift that makes the Summer Rye dance on your palate. Alternative: Prosecco for a sweeter bubble.

Alex Green

Garnish: Apple Cubes

They're the crunchy encore to the symphony in your glass, providing a textural contrast and reinforcing the apple flavor theme throughout the drinking experience.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Summer Rye Drink

  1. In a shaker, combine the rye whiskey, elderflower liqueur, simple syrup, lemon juice, and apple juice with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously until the mixture is well-chilled.
  3. Double-strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
  4. Gently top with Champagne.
  5. Garnish with diced apple cubes.

Pro Tips

  • For an extra touch of elegance, chill the rocks glass before serving the cocktail.
  • When garnishing with apple cubes, try to use the same type of apple as in the juice for a consistent flavor profile.
  • Be gentle when topping with Champagne to preserve the bubbles and delicate structure of the drink.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Cheese platter: A selection of soft cheeses, like brie or camembert, would delightfully contrast the bold flavors of the rye while complementing the elderflower notes.
  • Seafood: Delicate seafood dishes like grilled shrimp or a crispy calamari can be nicely accentuated by the cocktail's citrus undertones.
  • Charcuterie: The spicy and fruity tones of Summer Rye can stand up to the robust flavors found in cured meats.

Drink Pairings

  • Sparkling water: To cleanse the palate between sips without overwhelming the cocktail's complex flavors.
  • Iced tea: A non-alcoholic option with light tannins that can gently echo the whiskey notes.

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What you could change in Summer Rye

  • If Sazerac rye whiskey is not available, Bulleit Rye or Rittenhouse Rye can be suitable substitutes.
  • In place of St-Germain, another elderflower liqueur like Giffard or a homemade elderflower syrup can be used.
  • Prosecco or another sparkling wine can stand in for Champagne if necessary.

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And of course - twists🍹

Green Apple Rye

  • Replace Fuji apple juice with green apple juice
  • Use apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice
  • Garnish with a thin slice of green apple This twist will introduce a sharper, more tart apple profile, and the apple cider vinegar will add a unique tangy twist. It's less sweet, more puckering, and a bit edgier.

Autumn Rye

  • Add a dash of cinnamon syrup
  • Top with apple cider instead of Champagne
  • Garnish with a cinnamon stick With this cozy twist, the cinnamon's warmth will dance with the rye whiskey, while the apple cider brings an autumnal sweetness and depth that's perfect for cooler weather.

Berry Summer Rye

  • Muddle fresh berries (raspberries or blackberries) before adding the other ingredients
  • Replace Champagne with a berry-flavored sparkling water
  • Garnish with a berry skewer This berry twist will give the cocktail a fruity and slightly tart dimension, making it even more refreshing for a summer day. The effervescent berry water will keep it light and festive.

In case you forgot basics how to make Summer Rye

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

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

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 Summer Rye

What type of glass is best suited for serving a Summer Rye cocktail?

A rocks glass or an Old Fashioned glass is typically used for serving a Summer Rye cocktail to accommodate the ice and the topped Champagne.

Can the Summer Rye cocktail be made in advance for a party?

You can premix the rye, St-Germain, simple syrup, lemon juice, and apple juice in advance, but it's best to shake with ice, add Champagne, and garnish right before serving to ensure freshness and effervescence.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Summer Rye?

Yes, you can create a mocktail version by substituting rye whiskey with a non-alcoholic spirit or more apple juice, and replace the Champagne with a non-alcoholic sparkling wine or sparkling apple cider.

How should I store St-Germain after opening?

St-Germain should be stored in a cool, dark place and consumed within six months of opening to enjoy its fresh and floral flavor.

What's the best way to get clear ice cubes for cocktails?

For clear ice, use boiled and cooled water or a directional freezing method, where water freezes from top to bottom, pushing air bubbles and impurities to the bottom.

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