Catoctin Cocktail Winners Make Summer Memorable

Article by Melinda Gipson

Photography by Catoctin Creek Distillery Mixmasters

Originally published in Leesburg Lifestyle

Recently, Catoctin Creek Distillery founders Becky and Scott Harris teamed with 100 bartenders invited by Chilled Media to craft four winning cocktails from four key cities nationwide to showcase their own national reputation and put a delectable cocktail on your summer drinks menu. Each winning mix-master won an all-expenses-paid trip to the distillery in Purcellville in June.

1st Place From DENVER, is Jorge Ortega’s Winter’s End


  • 2 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye 
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz pink peppercorn and anise syrup*  
  • 1/2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz spiced pear liquor
  • Egg white

Preparation: Dry shake all ingredients, add ice, and shake again, strain into a coupe glass. Incorporate all ingredients in a tin and dry shake vigorously. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a coup glass, achieving a nice froth. Garnish with two torched star anise. 

*Pink Peppercorn and Anise Syrup: 

Simmer 1 part sugar, 1 part water with pink peppercorn, black pepper, and star anise. let sit for 24 hours and strain. 

1st Place from FLORIDA, is Angela Wood’s Old Dominion Lūʻau


  • 2 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
  • 1/2 oz turmeric syrup* 
  • 1/2 oz maple bacon syrup
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz fresh lemon sour 
  • 3 shakes of celery bitters
  • 2 chunks of chargrilled pineapple  

Preparation: Muddle charred grilled pineapple with 3 shakes of celery bitters. Build remaining ingredients in tin. Shake and strain over fresh ice into pint glass (BALL mason jar). Smoke cocktail for extra flavor and smell. (optional). Optional garnishes: Grilled pineapple, pineapple stem pieces, bacon straws or black pepper candied bacon slice, smoked maple brown sugar rim. 

*Turmeric syrup: 

  • 1/2 cups water 
  • 1/2 cups sugar 
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder 

Preparation: Cook until sugar is melted, and turmeric is combined. Cool before using.

**Maple Bacon Syrup: 


  • 1/4 cups water  
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup 
  • 3 strips cooked bacon

Preparation: Fill up large pot with water about 3/4 to the top. Insert immersion circulator and set to 150 degrees F (65 C). Add water and maple syrup to saucepan, bring to a light boil, stirring frequently. Remove saucepan from heat. Cook bacon until crispy. Add bacon, water, and syrup to Ziploc bag. Seal bag and leave in immersion circulator for 90 minutes. Remove syrup and transfer to a small bottle. Add a splash of vodka to help preserve the syrup. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

1st Place from NEW YORK, Megan Marshall’s The Pioneer


  • 2 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
  • 1/4 oz Elderflower liqueur
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz Honey-Peppercorn Syrup*
  • 3/4 oz Aquafaba
  • Rose water rinse
  • Cherry and cracked pepper for garnish 

Preparation: Add a small amount of rose water to the bottom of a coupe glass. Give it a rinse and discard any remaining liquid. Then, place a brandied cherry in the bottom of the glass and set it aside. Next, add all other ingredients (except the cracked pepper garnish) into a shaker tin. Shake without ice for a few seconds. Then, add ice and shake again. Fine strain the cocktail into the coupe, and garnish with a sprinkle of cracked pepper. Cheers! 

*Honey-Peppercorn Syrup: Combine one cup of honey, one cup of water, and 3 tablespoons of black peppercorns over medium-high heat. Stir until the honey fully combines with the water. Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat, and let it simmer for five minutes. Then, take it off the heat and let it cool completely. Strain into another container and discard the peppercorns. 

1st Place from WASHINGTON, D.C., Elena Johnson’s Fog Over Purcellville


  • 2 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
  • 1/2 oz Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto
  • 1 oz Earl Grey syrup*
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • 2 dashes orange bitters 
  • Whipped coconut milk top** 

Preparation: Shake all ingredients but whipped coconut milk with ice. Double strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Top with layer of whipped coconut milk and 2 dehydrated orange half-moons. 

*Earl Grey Tea Syrup: Combine 2 Earl Grey tea bags, 8 oz. sugar, and 8 oz. hot water just off the boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Remove tea bags after 5 minutes. Cool syrup and refrigerate.

**Whipped Coconut Milk: Combine a 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk with 2 oz. simple syrup in a whip cream canister. Charge canister twice, shake, and refrigerate.


To enjoy these properly, consider taking in the world-renowned Eric Byrd Trio in an intimate performance at the Distillery on June 25th. Celebrating twenty years together, pianist/vocalist Eric Byrd, bassist Bhagwan Khalsa, and drummer Alphonso Young, Jr., have traveled the world as enthusiastic ambassadors of jazz. Rooted in swing and bebop, the Trio also embraces gospel and the blues as core elements of their expansive performance style. Their body of work spans seven unique studio and live recordings on which they shine as a Trio and as collaborators with an expanded 8-piece ensemble they call The Eric Byrd Trio: Brother Ray Band, in tribute to The Genius of Soul icon Ray Charles. And this year, their latest release “Twenty” has won the 2022 Wammie Award for Jazz Recording of the Year. Don’t miss this rare evening of cool jazz and amazing cocktails. See https://catoctincreekdistilling.com/events for details and tickets.

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