Cocktail of the Day: The Deshler

So, the other day I found myself looking for a recipe for a Heavy Metal Cocktail, or a Black Sabbath Cocktail, or a Dio Cocktail, something that didn’t sound, you know, hideous.  And they all did, every single recipe I found that even remotely fit the theme, mostly because they all revolved around Jägermeister (maybe it’s the umlaut?) and cinnamon schnapps in some proportion.  Not my thing, but more power to you if it’s yours.

As an aside, well may you be wondering why this particular search.  It was because, sadly, Ronnie James Dio had died.  Heavy metal is also not really my thing, but RJD was nothing less than a force of nature, and I’m truly sorry that he’s gone.  Feel free to read this wonderful and loving tribute by Mark Morford, who waxes far more pithily eloquent than I could possibly manage.  Read, ponder, genuflect, make the sign of the horns.  And then come right back here.

Okay, so my search for a potable Heavy Metal Cocktail was a miserable failure.  I was stuck, though, because I knew it was my turn to mix.  This is not something we take lightly at our house; you may have a similar arrangement chez vous.  I was well and truly on the hook, and my one Brilliant Idea had not so much panned out as flamed out, and I had no Plan B.  What to do?  CocktailDB to the rescue!  I’m not really sure exactly how I ended up where I ended up–and I do still have one other recipe from that particular search frenzy that I mean to try, as it sounds really good, more on that later–but I ended up looking at a recipe for something called the Deshler Cocktail.  I noticed that it started off with rye whiskey, and I was pretty much sold, right then and there.  I present it here for your consideration.

The Deshler Cocktail


1-1/2 ounces rye whiskey
1 ounce Dubonnet rouge
1/4 ounce Cointreau
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
2 orange peels and 1 lemon peel (in the mixing glass)
1 orange peel (for garnish)

Combine first four ingredients with ice in mixing glass; express the oils from the orange and lemon peels and add. Stir for no less than 30 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with another orange peel.

Although all the recipes I found online were essentially identical, with only minor variations (like substituting Mandarine Napoléon for Cointreau, say, or not specifying Peychaud’s Bitters, thus implying Angostura and/or leaving the door open to experimentation), Chuck did find mention of one interesting twist on the recipe:

…in The Official Mixer’s Manual, Patrick Gavin Duffy ups the Dubonnet to a full jigger and lowers the Cointreau to 2 dashes. The edition I have is from 1975, so I’m not sure if that was original Duffy or the later “revision/enlargement” by Robert Jay Misch.

Just something to keep in mind as you experiment mixologically…because you will.

This cocktail as presented is complex and bracing, with both spiciness (from the rye) and fruitiness (from the Dubonnet even more so, I think, than from the relatively dry Cointreau).  Peychaud’s Bitters are both bright and slightly astringent, which I quite like here, although using a more traditionally spicy bitters like Angostura would be a worthwhile experiment.  As a general rule, the spicier your rye, the better, In My Humble Opinion, especially in a drink like this, where contrasts rule the day.  I used Rittenhouse 100, which we use for pretty much all our daily mixing–it’s that good, and a bargain besides.

As I am wont to say, the world needs more rye cocktails.  Although this one isn’t brand new, it was new to me, which makes it a most excellent discovery, and a very handy addition to my repertoire.  I shall doubtless be breaking this one out with some regularity.

2 Responses to “Cocktail of the Day: The Deshler”

  1. Mike S. said:

    May 23, 10 at 6:23 pm

    I liked Sabbath better with Osbourne and I haven’t listened to Dio since about 8th grade (“Last In Line” was my favorite), but as Neil Peart once wrote, when I heard that he was gone I felt a shadow cross my heart. Mixing a Deshler now and thinking about rainbows in the dark….

  2. Ouroboros said:

    May 23, 10 at 6:25 pm

    \m/_ _\m/