The venerable Old-Fashioned; the original whisky cocktail. Arguably, the finest whisky cocktail.
Created sometime in the early 19th century, it follows the classic cocktail formula (spirit, bitters, sugar, water) and has remained mostly unchanged for the last 200 years. Where legacy is concerned, the Old-Fashioned reigns supreme.
With the resurgence in cocktail popularity, the traditional version of this drink has been enjoying a well-deserved renaissance. Gone are the days of muddled fruit and seltzer water – we can safely relic those inferior recipes to the ’80’s memory bank, alongside neon ski-suits and insufferable synth-pop. Besides, this new crop of cocktail-aficionados prefer their drinks spirit-forward and unapologetic – something the Old Fashioned has in spades.
So how does one “improve” on such an iconic drink?
With Canada Day looming, we’ve taken this version of the classic and pushed it as far as our Canuck politeness will allow. We’ve chosen a bold & spicy 100% rye whisky that can stand tall against the strong flavours of maple. We’ve brought it to a new level with the addition of sweet, smoky applewood and have topped it off with a slice of deliciously-candied bacon.
While much of the world thinks of us as igloo-building, beaver-saving hockey players, this cocktail highlights some of our real attributes; namely, the resourcefulness and ingenuity to showcase domestic ingredients and really make the most of them. This Smoked Maple Old-Fashioned might just become one of Canada’s best-known exports.
The raw, fiery spirit of the rye plays beautifully with the rich sweetness of the maple syrup and both are complimented nicely by the applewood smoke. The combination of bitters introduces a tangible depth-of-flavour to the cocktail and also lends a subtle orange undertone to the drink, without overpowering the sharp edge of the whisky.
The Old-Fashioned is beautiful not only in its simplicity, but also because of how its flavour profile evolves over time – as the ice cube melts, the drink becomes progressively more diluted and the balance between its elements shifts ever-so-slightly. Sipping this cocktail on a warm summer night is an experience every Canadian should enjoy as we celebrate our country’s 151st birthday. And, after a couple of these, you might even relax those exquisite manners we’ve become so well known for.