Whiskey and cola is quite a traditional combination of flavors. Although It is not necessarily a combination every self-appointed connoisseur is particularly happy with, but undoubtedly it represents a success story. Although I do not really belong to the people who would order a whiskey and coke at a bar, I have to agree that in some cases the combination is a good one!
Of course, the proportions must be right. To drown a little bit of bourbon in an ocean of whatever cola you prefer is certainly not what I am thinking of. On the other side, of course, you don’t always need such a big fuss as for example the Dr. Kebler’s Wild and Crazy calls for. It also works a little bit simpler, like in the cocktail I’d like to present you today. The Rye & Cola Julep is admittedly not super simple but you do not need a lot of ingredients. Provided you are satisfied with a simpler cola syrup. Because with cola syrups it is such a thing. If you talk to many bartenders or visit better cocktail bars and order a drink made with cola syrup, this cola syrup is almost always a homemade one made from spices and citrus peels. I have also done that before, for example in my interpretation of the Mr. Hyde’s Fixer Upper. But, to be honest, sometimes I want to save labor and make it simple. Ok, I’m not that lazy to opt for a ready-bought cola syrup because these syrups really taste awful. But it is really easy to cook your own cola syrup in a pan by simply letting your favorite coke reduce over a medium-high heat (and maybe add a little more sugar) and you have your own cola syrup. That works reliably well and is a good alternative if you want to be somewhat spontaneous. For today’s drink, I have made a syrup from the much appreciated Fentimans Cola. For this, simply add four parts of Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola and one part sugar to a pan and let it simmer until the sugar dissolves and a syrup consistency develops. If you want to do the big thing and produce a cola syrup on your own from all natural ingredients I can also recommend the very good cola syrup that I’ve also linked in the article on the Mr. Hyde’s Fixer Upper.
The actual “secret ingredient” in today’s Rye & Cola Julep is however a plant that is sometimes referred to as the so-called “Cola-herb”. If you should be among those who never heard that name before, I can assure you that it really exists. The botanists call it Artemisia abrotanum and it is also known as southernwood or lad’s love. When you smell it, you will notice a lemony-spicy scent reminiscent of cola. So it is finally time to process this herb in a cocktail. And because I love the Mint Julep and think that cola syrup and cola herb produce a very refreshingly aromatic twist: Where is my silver cup?
Approx. 8-10 cl Rye Whiskey (I used the 1776 Rye 100 Proof)
1 bar spoon of cola syrup (see my notes above) + additional cola syrup (see preparation below)
2 sprigs of southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) + 2 more for garnish
2 sprigs of mint
Preparation: First add 1 bar spoon of cola syrup, the sprigs of mint and 2 sprigs of southernwood into your silver cup and cautiously muddle them with your muddler without shredding the leaves. They should be pressed only slightly to release their essential oils, try to muddle against the interior of the cup and to cover all of the interior surface. Then fill up the silver cup with crushed ice and form a cone of ice with your hands on top of the drink. Now slowly add the Bourbon and let it trickle through the ice until there is about half a centimeter left to the top edge of the cup. Then again add some cola syrup and stop before it would overspill. Garnish with the leftover sprigs of southernwood and put a short straw between the herbs.
Glass: silver cup
Garnish: sprigs of southernwood and a maraska cherry (and optionally an Irish napkin)
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online.