Bourbon and scotch get all the credit for being the stars of the whisk(e)y world, with rye and Irish whiskey close behind, but there’s so much more out there to try. Whiskies from Canada and Japan are the quiet supporting actors who are finally starting to play a starring role in the whiskey scene, and ones from countries like India, Israel and Italy are starting to receive the recognition they deserve.
If you’re branching out into less-explored whiskey territory, try these classic cocktails and modern twists.
You can use Cointreau in more than just Margaritas, you know. If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy the liqueur, try this modern creation. The orange liqueur and Japanese whisky get a touch of earthiness from green tea syrup, while tonic water adds effervescence and a welcome bitterness. It all creates a Collins-style cocktail that’s as addictive as it is refreshing.
This variation on an Old Fashioned was first seen in Robert Vermeire's 1922 edition of “Cocktails: How to Mix Them,” and this particular adaptation was included in Michael Dietsch's "Whiskey: A Spirited Story with 75 Classic & Original Cocktails." Canadian rye and Fernet-Branca are a surprisingly beautiful (and not too bracing) pair when tamed with a dash of simple syrup, a couple dashes of Angostura bitters and an orange twist
As the legend goes, a nasty bug decimated most of Washington state’s apple orchards in the late 1980s. Undeterred, an enterprising man fermented and distilled those ruined apples to make apple liqueur, which he added to his favorite Canadian-whisky-and-cranberry-juice combo. The resulting cocktail took the bar scene by storm, and the drink is still served (often as a shot) to this day.
The classic Whiskey Sour consists of four key components: whiskey, citrus, sugar and egg white. In this Japanese-inspired variation, ROKC owner and beverage director Shigefumi Kabashima gives the drink a unique spin with Japanese whisky that’s balanced with tart yuzu and richly sweet kuromitsu. It’s all prepared in the traditional sour way: with an initial dry shake and a final shake with ice, then strained and topped with a smattering of bitters.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
Nail in the Coffin
San Francisco’s Dirty Habit is known for its luxe atmosphere, and with this drink, you can bring a little bit of the extravagance home with you. Yamazaki 12-year-old whisky, dry Madeira wine, Licor 43 and Fernet-Branca come together to make a spirit-forward drink that’s perfected with a touch of fragrant freshly shaved black cardamom.
Much like the legendary Anchorman with whom it shares its name, this cocktail is kind of a big deal. The mix of Candian whisky and ginger ale topped with just a splash of cranberry juice may seem simple, but one sip will show you how even three-ingredient cocktails can hold a world of flavor.
Green Tea Highball
Two of Japan’s most famous beverages—whisky and green tea—come together to make a highball that isn’t your typical simple sipper. The whisky’s fruity and floral notes are elevated by cooled green tea’s palate, and a top of soda water keeps it all light and utterly quaffable. For a truly stunning yet simple presentation (and an extra hit of sweetness), garnish with a single maple leaf candy.
Dust off that bottle of Cynar you have lying around and put it to work in this rich and creamy cocktail by Jayce Kadyschuk, the head bartender at Clive’s in Victoria, British Columbia. Candian whisky’s higher rye content is perfect for tempering Cynar’s bittersweet flavors, and a bit of Cointreau enhances them both. Add in some clove simple syrup for spice and a whole egg for body, and you’ll have a cocktail that you’ll definitely want to make again.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
This Tokyo-style highball is the perfect simple way to drink your favorite Japanese whisky. To help switch things up from the traditional whisky-and-soda combination, this recipe uses apple-infused soda to bring lightness and a little bit of sweetness and a splash of shochu for an extra punch. Add a few dashes of Angostura bitters to finish it off.
Your typical Manhattan can be made with all-Canadian ingredients, rendering it a perfect drink for any time you want to give a nod to the Great White North. The usual suspects—whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters—come together to make your expected Manhattan with a true Canadian twist.