Coow Woow’d at the Wayside!

Coow Woow Cocktail

I got a short, direct comment from a friend on Facebook saying that a family-favorite whiskey & ginger ale recipe I’d recently posted is a  “descendent of the coo(w) woo(w) – America’s oldest cocktail, still served at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA: Ginger brandy and rum”.

Yah, all right! So, two Sundays ago after getting off the ice teaching kids skating in Marlborough, I drove to the Wayside, which for years has been one of my favorite magical cycling destinations. The place looked great that night with snow on the ground contrasted by warmly lit windows still decorated with holiday wreaths.

Wayside Inn, Sudbury, MA

The bar was a quick right just inside the front door. It’s apparently one of the original rooms from when the house was first built in the 1700’s. The room’s small, all wood floor to ceiling, and had a fireplace that was full-on. I asked the bartender, Rich, about the Coow Woow. As I recall, which you’ll soon find out became kind of sketchy, I thought he told me the drink was made 3 parts white rum, 2 parts ginger brandy. He asked if I wanted a sample. You bet.

Rich poured the premixed drink straight out of an ice-encrusted clear bottle into a small wine glass and warned me it was straight booze. It tasted great – very different than anything I’d ever had, probably because I’d never even heard of ginger brandy. I ordered a full drink and thought Rich would just add more to the glass I’d already had.

No way. He grabbed a fresh, large diameter martini glass and filled that bad boy right to the top. I took the drink to a small window table and had at it comfortably but kinda’ quickly. I was darn hungry and wanted to get home to get some work done.


Yah, right. I made it home fine but, man, the fluffy hammer nailed me while I was having dinner. I was totally annihilated. I finished dinner and dropped, dart-in-head, right into bed.

A couple days later, I got the ingredients for the drink from Julio’s Liquors here in Westborough. Ryan Maloney, the owner, clued me into the appropriate brands to use, which I right away shoved into the freezer when I got home. I’ll write more about those ingredients soon because the story about them, specifically, rum and Boston, is darn cool. I shot pictures of how the drink is made the next day and  then had only a small fraction of the drink later that evening – which has allowed me to live and tell about it right here.

Here’s what you need to put the drink together. The steps listed below the picture are simple. For an easy to follow step-by-step picture book recipe, just click any picture on this page.

  • 3 Ounces Chilled White Rum
  • 2 Ounces Chilled Ginger Brandy
  • Measuring Glass or Measuring Cup
  • Long Spoon
  • Chilled Cocktail Glass(es)

Needed to make a Coow Woow cocktail

1.Add 3 ounces chilled white rum to a measuring glass or measuring cup.

2. Add 2 ounces chilled ginger brandy.

3. Stir the drink gently with a long spoon, pour the drink into one or two chilled cocktail glasses and enjoy – carefully!


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