American Trilogy

This post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure policy here.

Cocktail History

The American Trilogy is a modern cocktail recipe that was created by Richard Boccato and Michael McIlroy while at Little Branch in New York City. Named for Elvis Presley’s song, the drink 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 one of the base spirits. We used Heaven Hill Distillery’s Rittenhouse Rye because it has a rich and clean taste with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, and citrus.

Applejack: This is the other base spirit. It’s a fruit brandy that adds apple aroma and flavor.

Brown Sugar Syrup: This sweetens the cocktail and adds thickness. We made ours using Alex’s recipe.

Orange Bitters: This is a type of spirit infused with orange and botanicals. They add citrus flavor and spice to the drink for more complexity. We used Scrappy’s Bitters Orange Bitters because they offer the classic taste of bitter oranges, herbs, and spices.

Orange Peel: This is the garnish. It adds a bit of orange aroma and flavor when dropped into the drink.

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 this drink 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.

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 Demerara 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 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.

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail BookPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 1 oz Rye
 1 oz Laird's Applejack
 ½ oz Homemade Brown Sugar Syrup
 2 dashes Orange Bitters
 1 Orange Peel

Method
1

Add rye, applejack, brown sugar syrup, bitters, and ice to a lowball glass.

2

Stir for 10-20 seconds.

3

Garnish with orange peel.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Rye
 1 oz Laird's Applejack
 ½ oz Homemade Brown Sugar Syrup
 2 dashes Orange Bitters
 1 Orange Peel

Directions

Method
1

Add rye, applejack, brown sugar syrup, bitters, and ice to a lowball glass.

2

Stir for 10-20 seconds.

3

Garnish with orange peel.

American Trilogy

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

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

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

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

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

Leave a comment