Photography: Yellow Rose Distilling/Facebook

These cocktails call for a song.

The “Yellow Rose of Texas” is complicated. The song is an American folk classic to be sure — there is no arguing we find ourselves tapping along to the drums and swaying to the fiddle and banjo. But the song’s earliest published lyrics are rooted in the 1850s minstrel genre with less than pleasant words, as noted by the Texas State Historical Association. Since then the lyrics have undergone several revisions to become the iconic track we know and love today with famous renditions by Ernest Tubbs, Mitch Miller, Elvis Presley, and Gene Autry. Lovers of classic western movies will know that the song plays in the Sarge’s Place fight scene in 1956’s Giant.

In the 1960s, several folklorists and historians linked the song, including Frank X. Tolbert, to a mulatto (“yellow” in late-19th-century parlance) woman named Emily D. West, who was reportedly present at the Battle of San Jacinto and who was supposedly the inspiration for the song.

There is no proof that story is true. There is plenty of proof, however, in Yellow Rose Distilling’s whiskey. Established in 2010, Houston-based Yellow Rose has quickly expanded its line and reach. It’s available on store shelves from New Hampshire to Washington state.

So go get yourself a bottle and mix up one of these handy-dandy recipes courtesy Yellow Rose Distilling.

Tex Mex

1 ounce brown sugar syrup
6 small lemon wedges
6 mint leaves
1 ounce limoncello
2 ounces Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey
3 – 4 ounces club soda
Spring of fresh mint, for garnish
Lemon wedge, for garnish

In a pint glass, place sugar syrup.  Squeeze and drop in the lemon wedges, mint leaves, and limoncello. Muddle slightly. Add the bourbon and fill with ice. Shake and add more ice if needed. Top with club soda and stir. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and a lemon wedge on the rim. Serve with a long straw.


1 teaspoon sugar
1½ ounces Yellow Rose Straight Rye Whiskey
1 dash absinthe, Pernod, or Herbsaint liqueur
3 dashes bitters
1 twist lemon peel

Mix sugar and bitters, add ice, and stir to chill. Chill separate old-fashioned glass and remove ice. Pour in absinthe to coat class and remove. Add rye whiskey, bitter-sugar mixture, and lemon twist.

Chocolate Drop

1½ ounces Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey
¾ ounce Tuaca
1 teaspoon brown sugar syrup
¾ ounce Godiva Chocolate liqueur
2 ounces half-and-half
1 – 2 ounces club soda
Cocoa powder

Shake all ingredients except club soda over ice. Add more ice if needed and the soda. Stir. Sprinkle cocoa on top. Serve with a long straw.

For more information on Yellow Rose Distilling, visit the distillery’s website.

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