Working at a Hugh Acheson restaurant inspires Atlanta’s Kellie Thorn to tweak the culinary parts of any cocktail, in order to make it her own. Though it’s thought of more often as a gin botanical, Thorn believes juniper works particularly well with the spicy character of Knob Creek® Rye, especially its baked apple and anise notes. Thorn advocates for the Sazerac as the perfect drink for at-home bartenders to get creative and choose their own spices to add; she suggests cardamom, caraway or star anise. Because of the higher-proof whiskey, she recommends stirring for a while to aid in dilution.
- 2 parts Knob Creek® Rye
- ¼ part juniper-rich gum syrup (see Editor’s Note)
- 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- St. George Absinthe, rinse
Garnish: lemon twist
- Rinse a frozen rocks glass with absinthe and discard the liquid.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a frozen mixing glass over ice and stir.
- Strain into frozen rocks glass.
- Express a lemon twist and serve on the side.
Juniper-Rich Gum Syrup
(Makes 2 cups)
7 ounces demerara sugar
7 ounces organic cane sugar
0.7 ounces gum arabic
14 ounces filtered water
0.25 ounces of juniper berries
Combine sugars and gum arabic in a blender and process, slowly adding filtered water until everything has dissolved. Using a spatula to scrape the sides, transfer to a bag intended for the thermal circulator. Add tempered and lightly crushed juniper berries to the bag and seal. Set the thermal circulator to 145° F. Once the bath reaches temperature, put the bag with the sugar mixture in the bath and cook for 2 hours. Remove the bag from the bath and transfer it to an ice bath. Allow it to cool. Strain and refrigerate.