Citizen Cain {a Low Gap Whiskey Maraschino Cocktail}

This continues my four-part review of the fine work being done by Jack Crispin Cain, his sons, and the folks at American Craft Distillers. It also showcases a cocktail that uses two of Cain’s spirits, a tasty variation on the old fashioned which can never get old! The drink is the Citizen Cain, a Low Gap Blended Corn Whiskey Maraschino Cocktail. But first, let’s check back in with Crispin and his master art.

Citizen Cain : a low gap whiskey maraschino cocktail recipe :

The final leg of the tour was the most concise and indulgent. Cain took us to the “tasting room” and let us sample nearly every unique product that they concoct. The scene was more like a mad man’s work bench. Every manner of spirit was available, some not even officially labelled. They ranged from gins and vodkas, to brandies and liqueurs, whiskies and pre-blended, barrel-aged cocktails. Each spirit was emblematic of the care, attention, and patience that this family gives to perfecting their art. You can get a rundown of all of there products here, but the ones that truly shone for me were the Low Gap whiskies.


Cain and his son have busied themselves with distilling deeply flavored whiskey with time-honored cellaring practices. Most of these whiskies are young, no more than two years in the barrel, but they still drink with depth, character, smoothness, and seductively long finishes. They basically distill beer in their trademark double-distillation copper cognac pot still and then experiment with blending these spirits with spirits from different grains. The results are marvelous.


The Low Gap Blended Whiskey is really something special, and a perfect testament to the undervalued quality of a simple, blended whiskey. This particular iteration features a blend of malted barley and malted corn. After distillation, Cain ages this beauty in both Van Winkle barrels and small Missouri oak bourbon barrels. The result is amazing, mellow, but with a strong voice. The barley shines through soft, delicate, and flavorful while the corn provides a seductively sweet, creamy background. This is a really cool whiskey and deserves a place in a simple, classic cocktail. A manhattan would be great, but the old fashioned is this guy’s true home.


For this cocktail, I wanted something simple so that the whiskey’s nuances would stand out, but also something with some elegance and class to honor the sophisticated practices that wrought this fine whiskey. An old fashioned would work great, but I needed to season it up some. Instead of sugar or syrup of any kind–requisite for a “cocktail” of this style–I decided to go with Luxardo. It’s bitter, sweet, nutty, and just lends so much magic when it’s responsibly thrown into the right mix. Here it’s simply sexy. I then wanted to bolster some of those flavors; so in addition to the Angostura, I threw in a few dashes of the cardamom-forward Regan’s Orange Bitters. Then, to lasso everything up into a tight and powerful package, I decide to go the way of the Sazerac and give the glass a hearty absinthe rinse. The provides a powerful aromatic quality that gives the whole drink an entirely fresh dimension. Of course, I would use Cain’s own, magnificent absinthe that he’s been crafting for decades.

Citizen Cain : a low gap whiskey maraschino cocktail recipe : onemartini.comThe whiskey speaks with a reverent, charming voice of its own. Enjoy neat, on the rocks, or in this Low Gap Whiskey Maraschino cocktail,spruced up with some fine embellishments. All good tales deserve embellishment. Enjoy!

Citizen Cain {a Low Gap Whiskey Maraschino Cocktail}
Named for master distiller at American Craft Distillers, this Low Gap Whiskey cocktail improves on the Old Fashioned with the added flourish of Luxardo and an absinthe rinse.
Serves: 1
  • 2-1/2 ounces Low Gap Blended Corn Whiskey
  • Barspoon of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 2 Dashed Regan's Orange Bitters
  • Absinthe rinse (I used Cain's own from Greenway Distillery}
  1. Place Whiskey, Luxardo, and Bitters into a mixing glass.
  2. Fill with ice and stir well--at least 50 rotations.
  3. Strain into an absinthe-rinsed rocks glass with a large ice cube.
  4. Garnish with a large orange peel making sure to express the oils over the surface of the drink.

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Nicholas Stanton

Bartender/Sales Associate at Craft Wine & Beer
I am strongly rooted in the Reno community. I believe in radically local ethics and the consumer support of micro communities. A large component of this is in the arts to express our realities, outdoor activities to encourage health and a deep care for the environment and food and drink culture to support local producers, farmers, and businesses. When I'm not geeking out and purveying new and exciting products at Craft Wine & Beer, I can be found cycling around town, reading literature of the Americas and dense philosophy and critical theory. Oh yeah, and keeping my two neurotic Border Collies entertained.
Filed under: Cocktail Recipes, Other Cocktail Recipes
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