For the first time all year, we are experiencing the delicious sensation of sun and sweat and summer thirst in Southern Ontario. That means it’s time to be a proud Canadian, invite a few friends over and make some truly northern and strong drinks. I picked up a bottle of Wiser’s Deluxe Rye last Friday, lit the grill and blended up a pair of cocktails, one sippable and the other quaffable. Canadian rye whisky is versatile enough to make something that will satisfy just about anybody – appropriately, a very Canadian characteristic.
Old Toronto Chinatown Cocktail (Rye and Fernet, Old Timber recipe)
This sweet, spicy and bold cocktail is a perfect summer aperitif, before a big red and a steak, dripping off the grill. The first time I tasted an Old Timber was at the Salt House in San Francisco, but the hundred year old Toronto Cocktail and J.P. Wiser’s suggested Canadian Cocktail recipe are similar Northern plays on an Old Fashioned.
- 1.5 Oz/ 45ml Wiser’s Deluxe Rye
- 0.5 Oz/ 15ml Fernet Branca
- 0.5 Oz/ 15ml Grand Marnier
Pour Rye, Fernet and Orange liqueur over ice and stir until well chilled. Pour and serve in a coup. Garnish with an orange twist and toasted Szechuan peppers or star anise, for a Spadina Chinatown Toronto-inspired take on a classic Old Fashioned taste.
Kensington Market Cold Tea (Rye & Iced Tea Recipe)
This sessionable (i.e. goes down real quick) take on a Long Island Iced Tea was inspired by the Sunday sessions my friend, Anthony, used to host at his Kensington Market Bar, Cold Tea. Named as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the beer that was served in tea pots after hours in Toronto’s old Chinatown late-night restaurants on Spadina all through the 70s and 80s, the backyard of Cold Tea bar was a meeting point for all things hipster and sunday funday for years. This drink is an ode to the DJs and Chefs that made those sundaze memories amazing.
- 6 Oz/ 180ml Kensington Market Ice Tea (Note: Sun steep 2 parts peppermint and 4 parts Jasmine Green Tea in 1L of water, then refrigerate)
- 2 Oz / 45ml Wiser’s Deluxe Rye
- 1Oz / 25ml Tequila (Use the good stuff, no fake sugar crap)
- 1Oz / 25ml Cointreau
- A splash of ginger ale (preferably Canada Dry, cause obviously)
- Lemon wheels and cilantro, sliced paper thin
Add Wiser’s Rye, 100% agave Tequila, and Cointreau to a pint glass, fill with ice, line with citrus wheels and a sprinkle of cilantro. Top with a centimetre of ginger ale, for a little sparkle and effervescence, and give the mix a swirl.
Note: Drink with a straw and feet elevated for best results.