Southern Gent

Friends, I’m back… back to entice your taste buds with another saucy rye cocktail! So clear that designated home bar area, warm up those tools, and enjoy the read!

Written by Peter Gouvatsos

If you’re like me, your palate is conflicted around this time of year – you’re looking forward to the brighter flavours that come with spring and summer, however you’re not emotionally ready to retire your delicious whiskeys for the season… especially that rye. Oh the rye.  

Photos by ADV Photography

Well, fear not my fellow anxious rye enthusiasts, here’s a cocktail to ease your transition into warmer months, while still using your favourite bottle of rye.

The Southern Gent, named after the origin of the American rye used in this cocktail, combines the seasonal flavours of spring/summer while still emphasizing the spicy profile of the rye. The fruit-forward notes and herbal aromas push the spring envelope, while the hefty portion of rye ties everything together to deliver a balanced boozy bite.


1 ½ oz American rye (I like George Dickel Rye)
¾ oz Aperol
½ oz lemon juice
¼ oz Orgeat (Maple syrup works well too)
2 dashes cranberry bitters
Splash of club soda
Sprig of Mint

Cut half of a strawberry into four pieces and drop them in the bottom of a rocks glass. Lightly muddle. Place a large cube of ice in the glass and put aside. Start building the remaining ingredients (excluding soda) in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into the rocks glass and add a splash of soda. Lightly stir and garnish with mint sprig and strawberry.

I put this drink together for a cocktail party last April, that myself and Mano Kardaras (yes, he’s just as cool in person) bar tended. My initial desire for this cocktail was to introduce Amari to a crowd of predominantly whiskey lovers, for which I knew the use of Aperol would fare well. Its sweeter profile is a good gateway to the world of Amari.

However something wonderful happened in my view; the refreshing orange notes and colour of the liqueur got me thinking of warmer weather and well… spring. With that in mind, I stormed my fridge for further inspiration and there it was… a box of full flavour: beautiful (in-season) strawberries.

Strawberries and whiskey, you ask?  I say indeed, my friends! The subtle tartness of the strawberries and bittersweetness from the Aperol provided a good contrast to the dry and spicy taste of the rye. Add the Orgeat and you have spring in a glass.

To my fellow whiskey buffs: this is something to be ecstatic about! The selection of spring/summer rye-based cocktails are very limited, and this will serve as a good addition to your repertoire.  

This drink will make you so excited, that you’ll wet your “plants” (solid spring pun).


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