Thursday, December 1, 2011
The Maple Leaf forever
Here in the Big Smoke, the autumn is stubbornly refusing to give way to the winter snows that have started blanketing other parts of the country (even our fair west coast). It’s crispy, but the boots are still in the basement for now.
Still, the nights do get cool, so if you really need an excuse to crawl under a soft blanket on the couch, it's there if you need it. And how about a warming cocktail to complete that little tableaux?
I’m not really a mixed drink guy; the current wave of expensive fancy cocktails with hand-muddled herb concoctions and delicately sculpted ice chunks does nothing for me. Still, I see the appeal in a well-crafted libation, ideally something requiring fewer than five ingredients. Lately I’ve been dabbling a bit at home as I search for an alternative to the usual post-work/pre-dinner beer. The results — if you’ll pardon the pun — have been mixed. I think I turn out a pretty good Campari Americano, but my Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds definitely need work. But I've enjoyed some success (and I do mean enjoyed) with this take on the classic whisky sour. You can play with the proportions to suite your tastes (I like mine more on the sour side, but a one-to-one syrup to lemon juice ratio works nicely), but a good Canadian whisky (I like the woodsy sweetness of Ontario’s Collingwood) is essential, and not just to keep the drink’s nationalistic bona fides intact.
Maple Leaf Sour
2 oz whisky/bourbon
1 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz Maple Syrup
Dash of bitters (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker, along with generous handful of ice cubes and shake vigorously. Strain over ice into a rocks glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry, twist of lemon or cinnamon stick.