Rye whiskey may have been fairly unpopular a few years ago, but it’s back in a big way. According to NBC News, supplier revenues have increased from $15 million in 2009 to well over to $106 million as of 2014. “The growth of rye whiskey has been phenomenal, given that as late as 2000, rye volumes were virtually nonexistent with only a handful of brands in the U.S. market,” says David Ozgo, chief economist at Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Whiskey has been dominating the spirits market, with its popularity even surpassing that of vodka, gin and tequila, and rye has been a very big part of those numbers.
If it’s so highly regarded now, why did it ever fell out of favor to begin with? There are several theories, but the most popular one revolves around Prohibition, when whiskey was imported from places like Ireland and Scotland. The new spirits eventually shifted American palettes towards a softer mouthfeel and American-made rye whiskey was just too spicy and strong to fit in. Now, however, bartenders and mixologists have totally embraced the bold flavors, helping it to make a big comeback. So big, in fact, that Wild Turkey Distillery actually ran out of its 101 Rye in 2012.
To celebrate this uprising, we collected nine seriously tasty cocktail recipes from some of the best restaurants and mixologists. Check out the full slideshow here!