This past Friday night I had the great privilege of serving drinks at Gorshin Trading Post right here in Haddonfield. I can’t express what an honor it is for me, as a home bartender, to actually get to share my cocktails with the public! If you are not local to this area, Haddonfield is one of those quintessential small towns with a beautifully decorated main street that has candlelight shopping on Fridays during the holiday season, complete with carolers, visits from Santa, and horse and carriage rides. I’m always thankful that we live here, but it begins to feel particularly magical at Christmas time. Gorshin Trading Post itself is an equally magical place with its warm and welcoming atmosphere, its inventory of top quality products, and its amazing selection of cocktail essentials. You can read my full feature on Gorshin on my Thursday Barlogue from 9/22. There is a beautiful Victorian back bar in the front of the store where I pour my drinks, particularly fitting since the building was once a colonial watering hole called Gibbs Tavern back in 1777.
Of the 3 drinks that I served on Friday night, the Holiday Spiced Old-fashioned seemed to be the most popular. I knew I needed a similar cocktail this week and I wanted it to be made with rye instead of bourbon. Starting then with rye as my base spirit, which already has a certain spiciness to it, I considered options for what would bump that spice flavor up even more to give the drink a holiday feel. I decided on ROOT liqueur, one of 4 colonial spirits from Art in the Age and Tamworth Distilling. The inspiration for ROOT was an herbal recipe taught to colonial settlers by Native Americans, made with various Pennsylvania roots and herbs like sassafras, sarsaparilla, and birch bark. It definitely added the extra spice that I was looking for. From there I needed something sweet. Since I wanted more depth than just a regular simple syrup, I went with a burnt sugar syrup which brought a caramel-like flavor to the drink. I finished up with 2 dashes of Jack Rudy aromatic bitters, available for purchase right at Gorshin, and I garnished it with an orange peel that I first expressed over the drink. The end result was similar to last weeks bourbon-based Old-fashioned, but definitely darker and deeper. I can’t wait to see how everyone reacts! I thought the ROOT liqueur seemed like the perfect partner for the rye whiskey, and something about the idea of a partnership made me think of A Christmas Carol, and so I named the cocktail Scrooge and Marley.
Scrooge and Marley
2 oz Old Overholt rye whiskey
¾ oz ROOT liqueur
¼ oz burnt sugar syrup*
2 dashes Jack Rudy aromatic bitters
Orange peel for garnishing
Combine all the ingredients except the orange peel in a mixing glass and fill 2/3 full with ice. Stir using a long-handled bar spoon until very cold (about 45 seconds). Strain using a julep strainer and pour into an old-fashioned glass over 1 large cube. Express the orange peel over the drink. Garnish and enjoy!
*Heat 2 cups brown sugar over low heat until melted; don’t stir it too much, but be careful not to let it really burn. Remove from heat and slowly add 1 cup hot water ( it will splatter some but will calm down as the water goes in). Stir together well. Return the pan to the heat and continue cooking another 5 minutes over low heat. Syrup will be thin when hot and thickens as it cools. You can make less than this. just keep the ratio at 2:1.