Throwback: Honor the Fourth of July with a bottle celebrating American patriot Hercules Mulligan

The bottle

Hercules Mulligan Rum & Rye$38

The backstory

If you really want to toast the 4th of July in a patriotic way, I have a sip for you.

No bourbon, even though it’s America’s signature whiskey. And not the Frozen Margarita, an icy cocktail that might be Mexican-inspired, but it is actually comes to us via Texas.

Instead, I’m talking about Hercules Mulligan, as in a fairly new bottled cocktail named after the Revolutionary War character.

Mulligan was a native Irishman who emigrated to New York City a tailor who doubled as a spy for the Continental Army. He also happened to be a good friend of Alexander Hamilton’s – and yes, he’s in the ‘Hamilton’ musical.

Hercules Mulligan (played by Okieriete Onaodowan) needs no introduction in Hamilton.


The story of how Mulligan became the name behind an alcoholic beverage has everything to do with liquor industry veteran Steve Luttmann and his love of history. Luttmann is best known for launching another brand, Leblon, a cachaça that helped popularize the Brazilian spirit. (The brand was eventually acquired by Bacardi.) But for his next act, Luttmann was inspired to think American, particularly after reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. That’s how he found out about Mulligan and came up with the idea of ​​creating a sip in his honor.

But what a sip? Luttmann notes that rum was a popular drink in colonial America, but was often paired with the commonly available rye to expand the offering. Luttmann figured that when Mulligan was trying to gain the trust of British soldiers he might have had a few drinks with them, so it was entirely possible they were sipping on the rum and rye combo.

Luttmann is clearly hoping to capitalize on the passion for ready-to-drink (or RTD) cocktails, a global market expected to grow steadily to $2.43 billion by 2030. But he also notes that he’s trying to differentiate his bottled product from some of the artificially flavored canned products. “I call it an artisanal cocktail,” he says.

In any case, Luttmann is looking to expand the market for Hercules Mulligan, having already raised an initial $750,000 crowdfunding round. He’s now going into a second round of $1.5 million.

what we think about it

There is much to appreciate about Hercules Mulligan the man and the role he played in helping us defeat the British. So it’s fortunate that the drink named after him proudly does him justice. It’s sweet, but not overly sweet, and has a nice spice note to accompany the schnapps (the recipe calls for some ginger, Luttmann notes). While I wouldn’t, um, call it “revolutionary” – I just recently wrote about another quality bottled cocktail – it makes a good impression on the 4th of July or almost any occasion.

how to enjoy it

As a bottled cocktail, it’s good to go straight out of the bottle – just pour into a glass and add ice. But Luttmann says some mixologists and wannabe mixologists are getting smart and pairing it with other ingredients like tonic water. Throwback: Honor the Fourth of July with a bottle celebrating American patriot Hercules Mulligan

Brian Lowry

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