RYE // Baltimore, MD
2012 has arrived and according to head mixologist Doug Atwell, RYE will be the bar and spirit of the year. He admits the Baltimore cocktail scene is in its infancy but that’s not stopping him from experimenting with different spirits. From Death’s Door Whiskey to his new best friend Boomsma Oude, he’s willing to make it all, just don’t ask for a 007.
Name one drink that sets Rye apart from other bars.
One drink currently on the menu that I’m proud of is the “Knock Knock”. It’s made with Death’s Door white whiskey, black cardamom syrup, housemade herbal liqueur and fresh lemon juice. Shortly after we opened, a bartender I respect stopped by and I created it on the spot.
When selecting ingredients for a cocktail, what’s the most important thing to keep in mind?
We make a conscious effort to include flavors that are accessible and well known. Baltimore’s cocktail scene is really just in it’s infancy so I think that as our guests get more adventurous, our city’s bartenders will start taking more risks with what we put in their glasses.
Based on the name, it’s safe to say you’re all fans of whiskey. What are your thoughts on flavored whiskey? Any specific favorites?
Flavored whiskey like Fireball is one thing, but there are also some craft distilleries using different practices like Corsair with their Pumpkin Spiced Moonshine and Balcones with their Brimstone that are fun to mix in cocktails. Anything that seems interesting to bartenders I think will find it’s audience and start showing up on menus.
Favorite new drink to make? Least favorite?
It’s not new, quite the opposite, but I love making a Sazerac. The preparation is methodical and precise, and the act of preparing it makes clear to a customer our commitment to crafting a drink with care.
My least favorite drink to make is a Orange Crush. Its basically another bar’s take on a 007, and as a result folks will just go from place to place in the neighborhood asking for them. I’d rather make you something that’s original or change your mind about a spirit you’ve dismissed in the past.
Any predictions on what people will be drinking in 2012?
What are some of the most popular drink requests you get that aren’t found on the Rye menu?
Lately, more than a few orders for a Last Word. Also, Boulevardiers, which is basically a bourbon Negroni though sometimes we make it with rye.
After a night behind the bar, what’s your drink of choice?
Boomsma Oude. Its aged genever, and its my new best friend. For beer, Natty Boh.