Hooray for the return of the cocktail!

Catoctin Creek spirits are excellent neat, but also very nice in cocktails. Many classic American cocktails call for rye, and Roundstone Rye is a faithful reproduction of 19th century rye whisky that would have been common in old classics like the Manhattan, Sazerac, and Old Fashioned. With Watershed Gin, you have a great cocktail for Gimlets, Martinis, French 75's, and much, much more.

Don't forget, you don't need to page through all the cocktails below, searching for the one you want. Use our convenient SEARCH feature to find a favorite ingredient or cocktail name.

For example, try searching for "manhattan", "watershed", "amaro", "sidecar", "lemon", or "orange"... just to name a few.

To search, click here:


Patowmack Peach Water Rye


A classic cocktail that predates the martini.  This one is really good with our Old Tom style Watershed Gin, if you can find it!

2 oz Watershed Gin
¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
¼ oz Luxardo maraschino liqueuer
2-3 dashes aromatic bitters
Cherry garnish

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Stir and strain into a martini glass.  Garnish with a cherry.

Hot Buttered Rye

Mulled Cider and RyeThis recipe was developed by Chad Robinson for the Edible DC spirits festival. The festival was held in late February, when the average daytime temperatures were about 19 degrees Fahrenheit, so we felt a warm cocktail was the perfect thing.

To make the cocktail best, you should batch up a large quantity of the ingredients ahead of time.

Per serving:
½ oz softened butter
1 oz brown sugar
ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, ginger
3 oz hot water
1 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye whisky

Mix soft butter, brown sugar and a dash of each of the spices together thoroughly. This is the batter.

Add 3 oz of boiling water to your batter and stir well until a frothy top forms. Stir in your rye and garnish with nutmeg or a cinnamon stick.

Photo by Sonja Bradfield, and used with permission.

Three Cocktails for St. Valentine's Day

Valentine's ArtThe following cocktails were the highlights of our February Wandering Chef dinner and concert with Andrew McKnight.  It was Valentine's Day, so we riffed off that to create sensual and vividly colored cocktails ranging from light pink to dark crimson. Cupid's Delight, like the mythical Cupid himself, looks small and harmless, but packs an impish and unexpected surprise. Cherry Smash is a beautiful cherry cocktail cocktail reminding us of the simplicity of pure love. Finally, the St. Valentine is a rich, darkly colored, and decandant experience. We hope you've experienced a love as rich as this cocktail!

Cupid's Delight

2 oz Fennel infused Watershed Gin
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz peppercorn infused honey syrup
3 oz club soda
lemon twist
Fennel garnish
dash berry syrup for color

Shake all together, garnish with a sprig of fennel, and serve on ice in a rocks glass.

Cherry Smash

1½ oz Mosby's Spirit
½ oz Kirschwasser
½ oz Fresh lemon juice
½ oz Simple syrup
Rhubarb bitters
dash berry syrup for color
1757 Brandied cherry garnish

Shake all together with ice, garnish with a brandied cherry, and serve in a cocktail glass.

St. Valentine

1½ oz Roundstone
½ oz Fonseca Bin 27 Port
½ oz Grand Marnier
½ oz Fresh Lime juice
½ oz Simple syrup

Shake all together with ice, garnish with a lemon peel, and serve in a cocktail glass.

Courtesy Hannah Blymier.

Ramos Gin Fizz

This one takes a lot of shaking... best to do it with friends!Old Tom gin

3 oz Catoctin Creek Pearousia Barrel "Old Tom" Watershed Gin
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
4 oz cream
1 egg white
3 dashes Orange flower water
2 drops Vanilla extract
Soda water

Pour all ingredients except soda in a mixing glass, dry shake (no ice) for two minutes, add ice and hard shake for another minute.

Strain into a highball glass without ice, top with soda.

Recipe courtesy Wikipedia.

Katy Pear-y

Katy Pear-yThis Super Bowl libation brought to you by @dcembitterment and @catoctincreek Pearousia. We call it the Katy Pear-y in hopes of a decent half-time show.

2 oz junmai sake
1 tbsp jasmine tea simple syrup
Juice of 1/4 lime
Several dashes aromatic bitters
½ oz Pearousia pear brandy

Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass. Top up with pear brandy and garnish with a pear wheel.

Courtesy DC Embitterment Bitters.

Sleight of Hand

Chad's Port PunchThis recipe comes to us from Doug Atwell of Rye in the Fells Point neighborhood in Baltimore. 

2 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
¾ oz Giffard's Banane du Bresil liqueur
¾ oz brown sugar syrup (1 brown sugar:1 water)
2-3 dashes The Dead Rabbit Orinoco bitters

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

Courtesy Doug Atwell, and used with permission.

Chad's Port Punch

Chad's Port PunchChad came up with this cocktail for a private party for the RAMMY nominations in DC last month.  Easily batched and poured for the masses, it is reminiscent of a sangria or a grog. 

6 oranges
12 lemons
20 oz of superfine sugar
2 bottles of Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
1 bottles of Catoctin Creek 1757 Virginia Brandy
2 bottles of good port

Peel the lemons and 2 of the oranges and set them aside for juicing later. Muddle the peels with the sugar in your punch bowl and let it sit for at least 1 hour until the citrus oils mix with the sugar. This is called oleo saccharum.
Juice your lemons and 3 of your oranges. Mix the juice with the oleo saccharum, making sure the sugar is fully dissolved in the juice. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, add the port, rye and brandy. Add a large quantity of ice to the punch to keep it cool while you're serving it. Slice the remaining oranges into wheels and use the orange wheels to garnish your punch bowl.

Serves at least 30-40 people.

Three Cocktails for January

The following cocktails were the highlights of our January Wandering Chef dinner.  We had fun pairing the cocktails with the seasonal food of the evening.  Our first course had pineapple and Hoisin sauce glazed shrimp, so we chose to go Oriental with the use of pineapple, ginger and Chinese five spice.  Our second cocktail, a take on a Manhattan or an A La Lousianne, was nicely paired with a lamb and risotto dish, the whisky cutting nicely through the fatty and rich meat.  Finally, we ended with a berry/moonshine cocktail garnished with a fresh basil leaf.  The aromatic experience is basil, while the berry sweetness compliments the meal of beef and root vegetables.

Shanghai 75

1½ oz Watershed Gin
½ oz pineapple ginger syrup (fresh made)
Chinese Five Spice
Sparkling white wine
Dried pineapple chunk on toothpick for garnish

Combine syrup, spice and gin in a shaker of ice. Stir, and pour into a rocks glass or flute. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a pineapple chunk.

"Drye" Bones

3 oz Roundstone Rye
1 oz dry vermouth
1 oz Benedictine
Orange bitters
Thin orange half-wheel for garnish

Combine ingredients in a shaker of ice. Stir, and pour into cocktail glass. Top with a dash of bitters, and garnish.

Only the Good Rye Young
Courtesy Brian Bachley at The Occidental, Washington DC.

2 oz Mosby's Spirit
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz simple syrup
½ oz cherry/blackberry syrup (fresh made)
Basil garnish

Combine ingredients in a shaker of ice. Stir, and pour into a rocks glass full of ice. Top with a single fresh basil leaf.

Mulled Cider with Rye

Mulled Cider and RyeThis cocktail comes to us from Sonja Bradfield, author of Ginger and Toasted Sesame.  Sonja has some amazing photographs and a delicious recipe for cider and rye, perfect for a warm winter beverage:

One of my favorite things to drink when the weather gets cold is something warm with a kick like a nice chai tea or a hot toddy. On Thanksgiving my family brewed an impromptu pot of mulled apple cider and for a little extra warmth we added a nip of whiskey. For this recipe I used some apple cider pressed in Virginia and some rye whiskey distilled in Virginia.


[This] rye is great in this mulled cider recipe. It’ll warm you right down through your toes. This recipe makes a half gallon but you can easily double that for a bigger group gathering for the holidays. Just let the spices and fruit simmer long enough to get the cider nice and spicy. For an extra kick, you can add a few black peppercorns and maybe a bit more rye.

½ gallon of apple cider
2 satsuma oranges
1 honey crisp apple
3 cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye whisky

Thinly slice the oranges and apple horizontally.

Pour the cider in a large pot and add the slices of fruit, the cinnamon sticks and cloves.

Bring to a boil over high heat then lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes until fragrant.

Fill up mugs about three quarters full and add about an ounce of rye whiskey to each mug.

Garnish with an apple or orange slice, half a cinnamon stick and cloves.

Recipe and photo by Sonja Bradfield, and used with permission.


Gibson II

This cocktail is another one from our brand ambassador, Chad Robinson.  Chad created a shrub to give this cocktail a little extra "zang".  A shrub, for those not informed, is a cocktail base made of vinegar, which brings the needed acidity into the drink in lieu of the usual citrus.  This cocktail tends on the less-sweet side, not quite savory, and is a perfect compliment to shellfish like oysters and shrimp.

Gibson II
2 oz Mosby's spirit
½ oz Manzanilla sherry (I used Lustau)
 ½ oz pear shallot shrub*

Combine all ingredients in a shaker of ice, strain into a rocks glass and enjoy.  Ice optional.

*Pear shallot shrub
4-6 large Bartlett pears
½ shallot bulb
16 oz Turbinado sugar
8 oz white balsamic vinegar

Coarsely chop the pears after removing the stems. Cover the pears in the 16 oz of turbinado sugar. Allow the mixture to sit in a sterilized jar for 24 hours. 

Mince half a shallot bulb and mix with the pears in the syrup. Let the mixture sit for another 12 hours.  Strain out the solids and add the white balsamic vinegar with the syrup. The shrub is good for up to 3 weeks.

I hope you get a chance to make it and enjoy the results.

Recipe courtesy Chad Robinson.

Mascarpone and Kosher Rye Whisky Whipped Cream

Pumpkin Pie

The following is a cross-post from Meatballs and Matzah Balls:

If you are having pumpkin pie, you need a great whipped cream. Here mascarpone both sweetens and helps stabilize the cream (a huge help if you want to make it a little in advance). Kosher rye whiskey adds just the right butter and toffee notes to complement the pumpkin flavors. And it’s all even better sprinkled with nutmeg.

If you’re lucky enough to be bringing dessert (my favorite assignment) to Thanksgiving or another holiday gathering this season, you’ll likely be making or buying a pumpkin pie. And that’s one pie that truly benefits from a dollop of homemade whipped cream (if dairy will be permissible).

This year I put together what I think is the perfect match for the strongly flavored pie—a mascarpone and kosher rye whiskey whipped cream. The mascarpone not only sweetens and enhances the flavor of the cream but also stabilizes it. That means you can make the cream up to a couple of hours ahead and it will hold its volume, a nice bit of flexibility for freshly whipped cream.

As for the whiskey, just 1 tablespoon per cup of cream gives the right hint of butter and toffee without making the topping boozy. I was pleasantly surprised to find certified kosher rye whisky (as they spell it) being made locally and eco-ganically at Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville, Virginia (well worth a visit if you are in the area). Their Roundstone Rye’s nuanced flavor really shines in the cream, but you can of course substitute any whiskey or bourbon (or even rum) that you have on hand.

This luscious and richly flavored whipped cream truly makes the pie—and it takes just a couple of minutes to literally whip up. Here’s to a sweet holiday season!

1 cup very cold heavy cream
1 Tbsp sugar or more to taste
1 Tbsp mascarpone
1 Tbsp Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye whisky
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
ground nutmeg for garnish (optional)

Place the heavy cream in a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer on high speed to beat. Once it gains a little volume (after about 30 seconds), add the sugar, mascarpone, whiskey, and vanilla. Continue beating just until the mixture holds soft peaks. If needed, cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Meatballs and Matzah Balls and used with permission.

Spiced Rye Cider

Mugs are nice for this one, or it can be made as a punch.

32 oz fresh pressed cider (usually found in autumn in the grocer's aisle near fresh juices)
16 oz Roundstone Rye (about 2/3 of a bottle)
4 oz Honey
10 Cinnamon sticks
8 whole allspice berries

In a saucepan combine the cider and honey. Combine the cinnamon and allspice in a spice sachet and drop in the saucepan. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes and remove the spices. Stir in the rye whiskey, and serve and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Modified from a recipe by Kara Newman, Cocktails for a Crowd.

Latest News

Rabble Rouser featured in Maxim

Maxim did a story on some of the best Bottled In Bond whiskies available, and our Rabble Rouser was selected (among some very fine company, if we do say so)! Previous whiskey...

Read more

Becky Harris in American Whiskey Magazin…

American Whiskey magazine does an interview with Becky Harris, our president and chief distiller, about starting up a distillery and what's on the horizon. Focusing more now on the spirit itself...

Read more

Becky in Rachel Ray's magazine

Kelsie Schrader, writing for Rachel Ray Every Day magazine, covers 10 female pioneers in the spirits industry and gets Becky in her article: When Becky and Scott Harris founded Catoctin Creek...

Read more

Contact Us

Catoctin Creek Distillery

Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W Main St
Purcellville, VA 20132

Tel (540) 751-8404

Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

Virginia is for Lovers

Latest Events

Battle of the Bartenders!

  NOV 4   Battle of the Bartenders!  Northern Virginia's Ultimate Cocktail Competition! 6:00pm—9:00pm Back for it's second year!!  One night only!  Local bartenders will compete for the title of Northern Virginia's BEST bartender.  This a...

Read more

Catoctin Creek Bottling Workshop

  NOV 16   Bottling Workshop 10:00am—12:00pm Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will conduct one of our famous Bottling Workshops!  Here's your chance to volunteer and learn how to bottle, cap, seal, and label Roundstone Rye. Get...

Read more

Jim Malcolm 2019 Tour

  NOV 17   From Scotland for his third visit - Jim Malcolm in Concert! 7:00pm—9:00pm We are delighted for the third visit from Jim Malcolm to Catoctin Creek! Jim Malcolm is the ultimate Scots troubadour...

Read more