While we here at Barrel & Brew aren’t necessarily the biggest fans of flavored spirits, we do appreciate some of them. One of those being Slow & Low Rock and Rye. It’s been one of our favorite “old-fashioned’s in a bottle”. Recently, Slow & Low released a Coffee Old-Fashioned, so naturally we had to buy a bottle.
We’re going to review both Slow & Low Rock and Rye and Coffee Old Fashioned. Before we get into the tasting profile of these two flavored whiskeys, we’ll discuss their Hochstadter’s history and what exactly these whiskeys are made from.
Hochstadter’s Slow & Low History
While Slow & Low is a relatively new brand, launched in 2008, the idea and recipe date back to the 1800’s. Back in the 1850’s saloons would sell rye whiskey with a side of rock candy. This was to sweeten the flavor of the likely poor whiskey they were serving. They called it Rock & Rye, and it even became a ‘cure-all’ medicine sold at pharmacies.
In 1884, S Hochstadter and Charles Jacquin created Hochstadter’s Rock & Rye. Eventually, Hochstadter and Jacquin merge their ventures in a business that’s run by Maurice Cooper.
Maurice Cooper’s grandson, Rob Cooper, launches his own company named Cooper Spirits in 2006. After some success, he launched Slow & Low Rock and Rye, a resurrection of Hochstadter’s recipe from the late 1800’s. Rock and Rye saw much success on the shelves and in 2021, Slow and Low Coffee Old Fashioned was released.
Slow & Low Rock and Rye Overview
Alright, so what exactly is Slow & Low Rock and Rye? The best way to think about it is as a bottled cocktail – yes, even at 84 proof. It uses straight rye whiskey, rock candy, raw honey, angostura bitters, and navel orange. It is a classical old-fashioned that uses rock candy popular before prohibition.
My favorite thing about Rock & Rye is the alcohol content. While many pre-mixed cocktails or flavored liquors are numbed down to 40 proof or even 70 proof, Slow & Low Rock and Rye stays strong at 84 proof. This allows it to feel just as much as a whiskey as a cocktail.
Slow & Low Rock and Rye Tasting Notes
Okay, so I’ve already mentioned that Rock and Rye is one of my favorites, but let’s talk about why. Below is the aroma, taste, and finish of a sip of Slow and Low.
Nose: Sweet vanilla and honey, orange, light oak.
Taste: A light rye spice balanced with orange followed with notes of honey.
Finish: Medium-long in length, smooth. Sweet orange sizzles into a light pepper at the back of the throat.
Rock and Rye Tasting Summary
Making an old-fashioned isn’t particularly hard. It requires bitters, sugar, and whiskey. However, making a great one can be tough to perfect. Slow & Low Rock and Rye is a cheat code to making a solid old-fashioned. There’s a solid balance between the sugary sweetness and rye spice that isn’t often found in pre-mixed of flavored spirits. It’s sweet enough to taste like an old-fashioned and strong enough to still be whiskey.
Can you make a better old-fashioned than Rock & Rye? Yes. Have I had a better one? Definitely. With the ease of pouring Slow & Low over some rocks, though, it’s tough to beat for its ease. Another option is to add vermouth to a glass of Slow & Low Rock and Rye to make a delicious Manhattan.
Slow & Low Coffee Old-Fashioned Overview
Slow & Low partnered up with Intelligentsia Coffee to create a version of the Cafe Brulot, a New Orleans inspired old-fashioned. It uses straight rye whiskey, Intelligentsia Coffee, raw honey, demerara, bitters, and an orange peel.
While the Coffee Old-Fashioned is lower proof than the Rock and Rye, it still comes in at 80 proof and extra dry. Per their website, it contains the equivalent of one sugar cube for every two oz serving.
Slow & Low Coffee Old-Fashioned Tasting Notes
Okay, so we’re a huge fan of the Rock and Rye, but is the Coffee Old-Fashioned any good? Let’s pour up a glass and find out.
Nose: It has a fairly sharp smell. Coffee, honey, syrup.
Taste: Syrupy, a touch of spice, coffee, and orange.
Finish: A lingering finish with touch of dark spice and black pepper.
Slow & Low Coffee Old-Fashioned Taste Summary
I had fairly high hopes for this drink, but was a little disappointed. Demerara is a type of brown sugar, and it tastes like they used demerara syrup for this drink. The syrup, coffee, and orange just don’t mesh well, so it’s more of a flavor clash than a balance in my eyes.
The ease of Rock and Rye often outweighs my ability and desire to cook up a good old-fashioned. With Slow & Low Coffee Old-Fashioned, I would prefer to just drink an Irish coffee with Jameson or Tullamore Dew.
Slow & Low Whiskey Price
Okay, so I’m a huge fan of Rock and Rye but not so much of Coffee Old-Fashioned – at least from a taste point of view. But how much do they cost? Let’s take a look at the price of Slow & Low. As a note, I use prices from various Total Wine stores all across the country to determine an average price. So, price may vary on individual store and location.
- Slow & Low Rock and Rye 750ml: $21-25
- Slow & Low Coffee Old-Fashioned 750ml: $20-25
Slow & Low Value
Based on price and taste, we can begin to discuss the value of Slow & Low. For us, we will likely never buy the Coffee Old-Fashioned again. It’s not a terrible drink, it’s just not something we’d ever want or choose to drink. Even with the $20 price tag Slow and Low Coffee Old-Fashioned won’t make it into our carts.
It’s a much different story for Rock and Rye, though. At roughly $22, it’s a staple for us. You don’t want to drink your $50 whiskey every night, but also want a quality drink that you don’t have to mix with coke? Slow & Low Rock and Rye is the perfect daily drinker. It won’t be the fanciest old-fashioned you’ve had, but for $22 it’ll certainly be worth it. (Try adding vermouth to make a Manhattan!)
Slow and Low Whiskey Cans
Slow and Low also offers their Rock and Rye in cans. You can buy a 4 pack of 100ml cans for about $18. While it’s the same liquid inside the can as the bottle – and the bottle is definitely the better deal – it’s perfect for taking outdoors or to BYOB parties.
Slow & Low Whiskey Summary
Hochstadter’s Slow & Low brand by Copper Spirits is definitely on to something. While many flavored drinks and pre-mixed cocktails are low proof and loaded with sugar, Slow & Low is unmistakably whiskey first.
I don’t think the Coffee Old-Fashioned is very good. I don’t think there is much use to it, and it leaves a funky taste in your mouth. However, Rock and Rye will continue to be one of my go-to whiskey choices. It’s balanced and easy to drink. Simply pour over ice and enjoy! I definitely recommend you buy a bottle especially since it’s only going to run you $22.
Below are frequently asked questions regarding Slow and Low Whiskey. Many of these are answered in the article above.
Slow and Low Whiskey Nutrition Facts?
For every 2 oz. serving of Slow and Low Whiskey there are 4 grams of sugar.
Where Can I Buy Slow and Low Whiskey?
Hochstadter’s Slow and Low is a large enogh brand to be found in most reasonably sized liquor stores. You may have trouble finding the coffee old-fashioned, but Rock and Rye is quite popular.
How Do You Drink Slow and Low Whiskey?
Slow & Low is meant to be poured over ice and enjoyed. Both selections are essentially versions of an old-fashioned in a bottle. If you want a Manhattan, add vermouth to the Rock and Rye.
Who Owns Slow and Low?
Slow & Low is owned by Cooper Spirits Co.