First and most importantly, happiest 100th birthday to the National Park Service (NPS)! To commemorate the centennial — which inspired us to hit the road this year in the first place — we put our mixology skills to the test to create a specialty cocktail inspired by the great outdoors. It is called The Centennial Cocktail, a spin on two mixed drinks that were born right here in the USA: the Rickey and the Tom Collins.
The Rickey is typically made with gin (though it was originally made with whiskey), a squeeze of a half a lime which garnishes the bottom of the glass, and a fill of club soda. It was created in Washington DC's first dive bar, called Shoomaker’s — where the National Park Service was formed (in the District, that is, not the bar.) The Tom Collins is made with gin, sugar, lemon juice, and a soda fill with a cherry garnish. It was designed in 1876 by Jerry Thomas, “the father of American Mixology.”
For The Centennial Cocktail, we went with the original base liquor of the Rickey: whiskey. We like rye, though you could easily substitute bourbon should you choose to. Instead of soda, we opted for hard cider — apple, after all, might as well be our national fruit. Taste-wise, it has the fizz and tartness we were looking for without adding too much acid. Our garnishes — a sour cherry, orange twist, and mint leaf — represent the berries that feed our wildlife; the penetrating sun that turns the seasons; and all plant and tree life in our nation's wilderness places (respectively.)
We’d hoped to pour this drink into NPS Centennial glassware, but a bumpy road had other ideas for their longevity. So we’ll make due with these fine plastic tumblers that we found somewhere along the long road to park #38.
Cheers to all who are celebrating with us today and to the Park Service for helping to protect America’s wild places for a century.
The Centennial Cocktail
3 oz. American rye whiskey
1.oz hard cider float
2 drops sour cherry juice
Garnishes: sour cherry, orange zest, and mint leaf
Pour 3 oz. of whisky into rocks glass, fill with ice. Pour a cider float on top. Add two drops of sour cherry juice. Twist orange zest to release oils, rub on glass rim. Wrap zest around a sour cherry and secure with a toothpick. Add a mint leaf to top and serve.
P.S. It just occurred to us after the first sip that this is a very potent drink! As always, sip responsibly.