A new classic, it’s the Whoa Nellie!:

  • 1.25 ounces rye
  • 0.75 ounce dark rum
  • 0.75 ounce Cointreau
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 0.50 ounce lemon juice
  • 0.50 ounce grapefruit juice
  • 0.50 ounce simple syrup

Combine all of the ingredients into a shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

My friend Ben and I share a fondness for whiskey, and together we have a decent collection. Unfortunately, we live more than an hour apart, so it made sharing them difficult until we decided we could just bring them to work. Thus “Whiskey Monday” (#whiskeymonday) was born.

Now, before you think all we do at work is sit around and drink, this is just a “wee dram” to start off the week and to explore the flavors of different spirits. When it was last my turn to bring something in, I grabbed a bottle of Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye that Ben had given to me as a gift on my fiftieth birthday. It was very tasty, and I wanted to use it in a cocktail.

I have used rye in a number of recipes on this blog. Rye features prominently in classics like the “Sazerac” and the “Vieux CarrĂ©”, and there are some wonderful modern rye cocktails such as my namesake “Tarus the Bull” and the excellent “Drove My Chevy to the Levy”, but I wanted to make something new.

I went to the bookshelf, but it seems like rye drinks get the short shift. Since I came up empty, I went searching on the Intertoobz when I came across the mention of a drink called the “Whoa Nellie!”

This drink originates from the 2006 Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. Not only is it fitting that a rye cocktail should come from that town, the fact that it rose out of the first Mardi Gras after the devastation of Katrina seems appropriate as well. Of course, I don’t get invited to parties like this, but at a party hosted by Lally Brennan along the parade route, there were a number of cocktail aficionados including Doctor Cocktail. The story goes:

Late at night, Doc was charged with the responsibility of creating a new drink. The Doc started rummaging through Lally’s liquor cabinet. After some Morgus-like failures, “divine inspiration then intervened,” and when he took a sip, he knew he had hit a home run and said, “Whoa, Nellie!”

It seemed to be just what I was looking to make, and with the citrus and rum components it fit in with the drinks I have been making from the Smuggler’s Cove tiki book.

Man, is it good.

The rye and grapefruit hark back to the “Blinker” but the rum adds even more complexity. I usually sip my cocktails, so I was surprised to find it almost gone after a few minutes.

It really did help showcase the Michter’s Rye as well. Rye is often associated with blends, especially Canadian whiskey, but one of the go-to rye’s for classic cocktails is Rittenhouse 100, a 100 proof spirit. This rye clocks in at nearly 109 proof, so it isn’t shy but still manages to be smooth and flavorful.

Rating: 5/5

Notes: Outside of the Michter’s, I used Myer’s Dark Rum (as instructed) but I believe a number of other dark rums would work as well.

Whoa Nellie!