The View from Halcyon Farm: Bottoms Up!

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CosmoAround Halcyon Farm, we like to have a cocktail or two. Our favorite cocktail is a Cosmopolitan, but it has to be made with Grey Goose Vodka, and it must have a wedge of lime in it. Perfection.

Some people might think that a Cosmo (we can call it that, since we’re so well acquainted!), is a summer drink, but the addition of cranberry juice can put it well within the winter range. Here’s the simple Cosmo recipe:

½ oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. cranberry juice
½ oz. Countreau
1 ½ oz. of good quality vodka

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice. Shake well and double strain into a large cocktail glass. Garnish with lime.

Old-fashioned mixed drinks and cocktails are becoming quite popular and there are even cocktail clubs and master cocktail mixologists at bars around town. Long-lost and under-used ingredients like Maryland Rye Whiskey, Angostura Bitters and bitter lemon soda are now more easily found.

Maryland Rye Whiskey, which for decades, was a staple at old clubs and bars, disappeared off the radar about 30 years ago. It was no longer even produced in Maryland and those who had bottles of it, tended to dole it out in miserly doses, and only to their very closest friends. Old Baltimoreans might remember Pikesville Rye Whiskey, which was made until the 1970’s, and the ghosts of faded paintings of its bottles can still be glimpsed on the sides of old buildings.


Now, with the resurgence of the cocktail culture, it’s once again being made in Maryland. On the Eastern Shore, Sloop Betty and Lyon Distilling are both making contemporary versions of Maryland Rye. Although Gunpowder Rye sounds like it’s made here, it’s really made in New England, but still calls itself Maryland Rye. The Baltimore Whiskey Company is also making rye, but it’s not quite ready for sale yet.

In honor of the Preakness and Pimlico Racecourse, here’s a recipe for a Preakness.

1 jigger of Maryland Rye Whiskey
1 Teaspoon of Sweet Vermouth
1 Teaspoon of Benedictine
1 Dash of Bitters

Stir well with cracked ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and add twisted lemon peel.

Of course, there’s nothing more old-fashioned than an Old Fashioned, which even has a glass named for it. It is an old-fashioned drink, dating back to the 1860s, in Kentucky, known for its whiskies and bourbons. Perhaps it was Mad Men’s Don Draper and his preference for an Old Fashioned that brought this drink back to our line of sight.

It’s a deceptively simple recipe, but can be changed up a number of ways. Some people prefer bourbon and others prefer whiskey and still others add gin or Curaçao. Which type of bitters to use is also up for debate.

Most of the recipes for an Old Fashioned are similar. This one is from 1895.

Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey-glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece of ice, a piece of lemon-peel, one jigger whiskey. Mix and serve.

Old Fashioned

You will notice that this version doesn’t have the fruit cocktail garnishing it, just a singular piece of lemon peel. Some of the newer recipes have orange slices and Maraschino cherries. Some recipes advise muddling the sugar cube with the bitters and others with the water.

Why don’t you think about hosting a cocktail party like our parents used to have? Send invitations, ask the men to wear suits and the women to wear dresses. Serve pigs in blankets, angels on horseback, deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, cocktail meatballs in grape jam sauce and other 1960s cocktail food. You will have a ball!

Thanks to everyone on Facebook who suggested cocktail recipes!

The View from Halcyon Farm is sponsored by Halcyon House Antiques located at 11219 Greenspring Avenue in Lutherville, and open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m., to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the Halcyon House website or call 410-828-8889.

Meg Fielding

Meg Fielding writes the local interior design and lifestyle blog Pigtown Design. She enjoys dual citizenship with the US and the UK.

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