American Trilogy

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Cocktail History

The American Trilogy is a modern cocktail that was created by Richard Boccato and Michael McIlroy at Little Branch in New York City, New York. Named for Elvis Presley’s song, the recipe is an Americana-themed reinvention of the classic Old Fashioned that intentionally uses USA-made ingredients for familiar yet deeper and more complex flavors.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Rye: This is a type of whiskey made with at least 51% rye grain, malted barley, corn, and water. We used Heaven Hill Distillery Rittenhouse Rye because it has a rich and clean taste with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, and citrus. For a mocktail version of this drink, try The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the whiskey.

Apple Brandy: This is a type of brandy made with apples, pears, spices, sugar, and alcohol. We used Laird’s Applejack because it’s a high quality and flavorful. For a mocktail version of this drink, try apple cider and Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the apple brandy.

Demerara Syrup: This is a sweetener made with Demerara sugar and water. We made ours at home using Alex’s stovetop recipe.

Orange Bitters: This is a food product made with oranges, botanicals, herbs, and alcohol. We used Angostura Orange Bitters. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic Orange Bitters in place of the orange bitters.

Orange Peel: This the peel of an orange that has been cut into a strip.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Mixing Glass: This is used to hold the ingredients while they’re being stirred. We used the Viski 17 oz Cocktail Mixing Glass.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Julep Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is stirred. We used the A Bar Above Julep Strainer.

Peeler: This is used to remove the garnish peel from the citrus. We used the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set.

Tasting Notes

The American Trilogy features orange aromas and a smooth mouthfeel in which the sharp spiciness of rye is combined with the fruitiness of applejack and backed with a rich, dark sweetness, all of which is lifted by a bit of bright citrus flavor on the finish.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Even though it borrows its formula from the Old Fashioned, this recipe has its own unique elements, namely the apple and brown sugar which give it a feeling of old-style Americana. Overall, we enjoyed the American Trilogy and would make it again. Alex usually prefers rye in his Old Fashioneds, but we both had the same thought that bourbon might be a better fit for our palates next time around.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Like most Old Fashioneds, I really enjoyed this. The combination of rye and apple brandy was a no-brainer, while the rich brown sugar syrup we used gave it a deep sweetness without being candy-like. Given the opportunity to keep riffing on this, I would try a different kind of bitters other than the classic orange in order to add even more depth to the flavor.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“In my opinion, the classic Old Fashioned is already a recipe fit for cooler weather, and this variation takes that characteristic up a notch. The taste was as I expected—rye with a hint of apple, sugar, and citrus. I think I’d like it better with bourbon because I found the rye to be a touch too spicy. Bourbon is also my favorite whiskey though. Overall, this was a great Old Fashioned riff that would be great for fall and winter sipping.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum.

Sale
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
Hardcover Book; Editors of PUNCH (Author); English (Publication Language); 352 Pages – 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$13.05 Amazon Prime

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail Book

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 1 oz Rye
 1 oz Laird's Applejack
 2 dashes Orange Bitters
 1 Orange Peel

Method
1

Add rye, apple brandy, Demerara syrup, bitters, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over a clear ice cube.

4

Garnish with orange peel.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Rye
 1 oz Laird's Applejack
 2 dashes Orange Bitters
 1 Orange Peel

Directions

Method
1

Add rye, apple brandy, Demerara syrup, bitters, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over a clear ice cube.

4

Garnish with orange peel.

American Trilogy

Make It a Mocktail: Use The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the whiskey, apple cider and Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the apple brandy, and All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic Orange Bitters in place of the orange bitters to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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More Rye Cocktails

If you like this rye-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Mott & Mulberry Cocktail Recipe

Mott & Mulberry: A rye cocktail made with Luxardo Amaro Abano, apple cider, lemon juice, Demerara syrup, and apple slices

Remember The Maine Cocktail Recipe

Remember The Maine: A rye cocktail made with sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur, absinthe, and a cherry

Falling Leaves Cocktail Recipe

Falling Leaves: A rye cocktail made with Amaro Montenegro, toasted fig syrup, chocolate bitters, and an orange slice

Midnight Stinger Cocktail Recipe

Midnight Stinger: A rye cocktail made with Fernet-Branca, lemon juice, simple syrup, and mint

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