Ghost World

The latest boozy history lesson from Art in the Age

Tracing history is hardly a new fad within the mixing world.

Even new releases are often paeans to the past, as modern distillers and importers seek to resurrect what has disappeared. Cases in point: Cocchi Americano, Crème Yvette, and a just-launched bottling from Pierre Ferrand that claims an exact countenance to the recipe from 1840.

Still, some of our favorite history projects are those that take inspiration from beyond the booze world, and none do it better than Art in the Age.

So far, the Philadelphia-based company has turned the centuries-old recipe for the spiced German gingerbread cookies known as Lebkuchen into a smooth, gingery mixer, and mapped the history of root beer, creating a boozy sassafras homage called, appropriately, Root.

The company's latest endeavor is no different. Rhuby ($33; buy it here), a rhubarb-tinged liqueur, is a facsimile of a garden tea made in the 1770s with rhubarb grown from international seeds that Benjamin Franklin brought to Philadelphia. Like the tea, Rhuby is an aromatic infusion of lemon, cardamom, pink peppercorn, coriander and vanilla.

The stuff is an obvious ringer for spring cocktails (we used it in a Pimm's Cup to toast the end of warm weather). But its vegetal, tangy-sweet body is equally apt for cold weather. Try using it in place of whiskey for a unique toddy.

After all, this winning recipe was originally served warm.