what: Hochstadter’s Slow & Low
cost: $19.98, 750 mL, 84 proof
where: Green’s, 400 Assembly St., 799-9499
Admittedly, pre-mixed cocktails are not for purists. You probably won’t see many waxed-mustache, sleeve garter-owning mixologists pouring from a bottle of this stuff, but rules often have exceptions, and this one was a pleasant surprise. Branded as a pre-mixed version of an old fashioned, Hochstadter’s makes its Slow & Low rock and rye whiskey from a six-year-old, 98-proof straight rye whiskey, which they macerate with sugar, along with honey, horehound and lots of dried citrus peel. (The name “rock and rye,” in case you’re wondering, comes from a pre-Prohibition cocktail of rye whiskey swizzled with rock candy, a concoction that became a home remedy for colds.) It’s bottled at 84 proof in a handsome, antique-looking glass fifth with a swirled neck, raised lettering and vintage typeface. And the look isn’t just slick marketing; Hochstadter’s was established in Philadelphia in 1884. If you’ve tried other brands of rock and rye and found them too sweet, give this much drier version a shot. Or rather, a sip, on the rocks with a splash of soda.
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