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Riverboat Rye Whiskey

light brown liquid

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Riverboat Rye Whiskey


About Riverboat Rye Whiskey

In an effort to try more whiskies besides scotch and bourbon, I used my latest trip to Total Wine to pick up some new bottles, including this bottle of Riverboat Rye Whiskey.

There was surprisingly little information about the distillery behind Riverboat Rye, or the whiskey itself. I could only find a few retail links, but no official website or anything. But luckily, there was a decent amount of information both stated and implied on the bottle label.

Riverboat is a straight rye whiskey, so it is aged at least 2 years in new, charred oak barrels, and contains at least 51% rye grain in the mash bill. The bottle states the spirit is distilled in Indiana, and bottled in Bloomington, Indiana by Riverboat. When Indiana is specified as a distilling location, it’s usually distilled in a mass production facility, then bottled in separate facilities. Many of the biggest brands use this method.

Bottle Specs

❖ Spirit: Straight Rye Whiskey

Distillery: Distilled in Indiana and Bottled by Riverboat in Bloomington, IN

❖ ABV: 45% (90 Proof)

❖ Aged minimum of 2 years

❖ Low Price

Tasting Notes

My Tasting Notes 

Color: Carmel

❖ Nose: spice, vanilla, pine

Taste: Spice, vanilla, bit of heat, herbal mint, thin mouth feel

Finish: medium, spice and slight oak

golden liquid in a glencairn glass


golden liquid in a collins glass filled with ice and garnished with a cherry and orange slice

Ross Collins

3/4 oz Lemon Juice

3/4 oz Simple Syrup

3 Thin Orange Slices

3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

Club Soda for topping

2 oz Rye Whiskey

❖ Combine bitters, lemon juice, simple syrup and 2 orange slices in a cocktail shaker

❖ Fill with ice and shake until chilled, about 15 seconds

❖ Strain into a collins glass, top with club soda and garnish with remaining orange slice and cherry

Tom Collins is one of the most popular cocktails in my house, and I’ve loved every drink I’ve tried from “Regarding Cocktails” by Sasha Petraske and Georgette Moger-Petraske, so I was really exited to try this Collins variation. I haven’t seen many whiskey cocktails that use orange as anything other than a garnish, but I could see how a little bit of orange juice could work with rye whiskey.

Even with the extra ingredient and the heavier spirit, the Ross Collins was just as refreshing as a traditional Tom Collins. The herbal spice notes from the rye and bitters balanced perfectly with the tartness from the lemon, and the hint of orange added a pleasant dimension to the flavor. 

Bottom Line


Even though I had zero expectations going in, and find the lack of general information available kind of weird, I was still impressed with the quality of  Riverboat Rye Whiskey. There are still some shortcomings, but I would still recommend this to anyone who was interested in trying a reasonably priced rye whiskey.

While Riverboat is a bit thin, and not overly complex in flavor, I still liked the traditional rye spice taste. The heavy spice is balanced well enough with some sweetness, so I didn’t hate drinking it neat, but would still prefer to use it as a mixer. I found this at my local total wine for about $20, which is a great price for a mixing whiskey.

As always, drink responsibly.

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