The Retox Cocktail

  • Serves

    makes 3 Drinks


When a bottle of Knob Creek's new Single Barrel Reserve showed up in the SAVEUR office on the same day we were tasting maple syrups for a story in issue #136, this cocktail was an inevitability. Developed by senior editor Betsy Andrews, with its hit of lemon juice and a cayenne rim, it prompted deputy editor Beth Kracklauer to comment, "It's like an alcoholic version of the Master Cleanse diet!" — the cleansing regimen of lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper that celebrity types often turn to for detoxing. Forthwith, she dubbed it The Retox.


  • 6 oz. bourbon, such as Knob Creek Single-Barrel Reserve
  • 2 tbsp. medium maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. extra light maple syrup
  • 2 droppersful of maple bitters
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp. maple sugar
  • seltzer to fill


Step 1

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Mix the first five ingredients with the ice in the shaker. Mix the cayenne and maple sugar in a bowl, and pour the contents onto a dessert plate, spreading them out in a wide circle. Wet the rim of a rocks glass; roll the rim in the cayenne mixture to coat. Fill the glass halfway with ice. Strain 1⁄3 of the bourbon mixture into the glass, and top it off with soda water. Stir. Repeat for two more drinks.

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