The Centennial Cocktail

The Centennial Cocktail, created by Stefanie Payne and Jonathan Irish to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service on August 25, 2016.

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The Rickey is typically made with gin (though it was originally made with whiskey), a squeeze of a half a lime which garnishes the bottom of the glass, and a fill of club soda.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

Cubed ice

Rocks glass

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. 


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