Rye was the original American whiskey, but largely disappeared after Prohibition. According to one story, all the distillers moved to new lives in the midwest and when Prohibition ended they began distilling corn as it was more available. And that's supposed to be how we got so much bourbon.
At any rate, rye is enjoying another turn in the sun these days, thanks in part to the renewed popularity of the Manhattan, my drink of the season.
Mind you, a man must to take care to avoid fake Manhattans. The limited availability of rye caused some bartenders to begin building a version using bourbon and that's a mistake. Bourbon is too sweet.
The classic recipe is:
2 oz rye
1 oz red vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake well over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive (a cherry is also too sweet).
Try one when cocktail hour next rolls around.