How to make an Early of Rye

How to make an Early of Rye

When concocting whisky-based cocktails, our Head of Bar Phil Sanders has a passion for two ingredients in particular: peaches and ginger. Suffice to say, he makes a of lot of bourbon cocktails involving one or the other. Astonishingly, this is the first he’s devised using both.

Once tasted, you’ll wonder what took him so long.

Adding peach to our decadent Oxford Rye Whisky Purple Grain is a classic move. It brings out the whisky’s summery, floral and fruit character, whilst the acid in the shrub (see below for recipe) balances its buttery-pastry sweetness. The addition of the ginger is a stroke of alchemical genius – it makes the hazelnut and herbs in the whisky sing.

Though we say it ourselves, it’s a cocktail triumph.


  • 50ml Oxford Rye Whisky Purple Grain
  • 10ml Demerara sugar syrup
  • Top with Peach and Ginger shrub (see below for recipe)
  • 3 drops Lemon bitters
  • Lemongrass and freshly sliced ginger (for garnish)


  1. Add ice to a whisky or Old Fashioned glass and pour in the Purple Grain.
  2. Top with the peach and ginger shrub.
  3. Add three drops of the lemon bitters to the surface.
  4. Balance a slice of lemongrass and freshly sliced ginger across the glass and ice.



  • 4 medium peaches (make sure they are ripe and juicy)
  • 200g of sugar
  • About 30 g of grated fresh ginger (add it gradually as it can be overpowering. You can always add more later)
  • 250 ml sherry vinegar
  • 125 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 100 ml Earl Grey iced tea


  1. De-pit the peaches and muddle the halves with the skins on in a large bowl.
  2. Add some of the grated ginger (err on the side of less to begin with) and mix in the sugar. This creates a kind of oleo saccharum – wherein the sugar draws the juice from the fruit and roots via osmotic processes.
  3.  Cover and leave in a bowl overnight (add pressure to the mixture if possible – e.g use plates to weight it down and press it together).
    Or: if you have a vacuum pack machine, vacuum pack the ingredients and leave in the fridge overnight. The mash should be sitting in a complex sweet juice by the morning.
  4. Simultaneously, steep a good quality Earl Grey Tea in 100ml of hot water for a couple of minutes and leave to cool, then refrigerate.
  5. Press the peach mixture through a fine mesh, discarding the fruit solids (or saving them for a cobbler or crumble).
  6. Add the two vinegars and the Earl Grey iced tea to the peach mixture.
  7. At this point, add more grated ginger, and let seep for a while until the ginger reaches the intensity you desire.
  8. Remove any remaining solids.
  9. Whisk to combine the ingredients and store in the fridge until all the sugar has been dissolved – shaking it periodically to help it along.
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