Being a Rye Cocktails Novice can be quite confusing, so I was thrilled when I had the possibility to get some expert assistance on where to start with ryes. Rye quickly became a new favorite spirit for me with its unique flavor profile and dynamic tasting experience. Alcohol, for some, is taken at face value. This can translate to someone drinking a vodka cranberry at a local bar or buying a cheap wine for a friendly gathering. But for some, a spirit is so much more than that. It is a story, a community, an art form, and a passion project that showcases the attention to detail. 


At Iowa Legendary Distillery, we take the time to make the experience of each bottle of our spirits legendary. Grandma Lorine Sextro was producing the same rye that we bottle today during prohibition. Using the exact same process, the passion that goes into this spirit is clear to those who have the pleasure of experiencing it. 

Rye has a lot in common with other popular American Spirits like bourbon and whiskey. In the distillation process, other American Spirits use corn mash, while rye uses – rye. With a higher percentage of corn in spirits, you get a sweeter flavor. With rye, you get a deeper and spiced flavor to the rye. Being featured in cocktails, rye gives a unique spin and flavor profile to traditional cocktails.


There are so many ways to experience ryes. In cocktails, different ryes can be used in different ways. For example, our White Label Rye can be used in place of gin or tequila. It can bring a new element of flavor to margaritas or even just be complimentary to a nice tonic. Our Red Label and Black Label Rye can be featured in classic whiskey and bourbon cocktails. A traditional Manhattan or Old Fashion are perfect places where rye adds a dynamic flavor. Aside from being the star of any new or traditional cocktail, each of these ryes can be enjoyed on the rocks or neat. 


First things first, open the bottle. Let the spirit breathe. After a few minutes, smell the spirit and take a moment to appreciate any scents that you experience. Whether you are tasting the White Label Rye, the Black Label Rye, the Red Label Rye, or any of our ryes, the experience will be unique. Look at the spirit and think of what colors it displays. If you are looking at the White Label, it will appear clear, but if you are looking at the Black or Red Label, there are light brown and dark brown colors to be experienced. When you take the time to look and appreciate the work that goes into its creation, it takes on a life of its own.

It is now time to taste Iowa Legendary Rye. Take a small sip into your mouth and swish it around so it touches multiple areas of the mouth. Take a moment to think about what feelings you get in different areas. Where do you taste the spirit? On the tip of your tongue? On the back of your tongue? Now swallow it. How does it feel in your throat? How does it feel in your chest? Is it warm and full? 


Each of these aspects is important to note to truly understand what goes into the flavor and taste of the rye. What is your personal experience with the rye? If you are with another person or a group of people, share your experience. See what differences and similarities you have between each person. It is interesting to see how personal experience plays into the tasting and appreciation of a spirit. When you understand the rye experience through more than just a single sense, you can begin to experiment with recipes and share your experience. Invite over friends and share the experience of a legendary and #historically accurate rye with them!