Tag Archives: bitters

Canadian Cocktail

Canadian Cocktail

Canadian Cocktail
1 ½ ozs. Canadian whisky
½ oz. lemon juice
¼ oz. curaçao
1 teaspoon sugar
2 dashes bitters
Shake well with ice. Strain into prechilled cocktail glass or over rocks in old-fashioned glass.

For this recipe I used Gibson’s 12-year, and Cointreau instead of curaçao. I also used simple syrup in place of sugar, for easier mixing. Since this recipe calls for non-specific bitters, it was the perfect time to pull out my recent batch of homemade Calamansi bitters*.

Not a really complicated drink. The whisky flavour is quite mild in this one, and it leans towards the citrusy. It might be a bit more interesting with a spicier bitters – some of the versions I’ve found online use orange bitters (which the Calamansi bitters are a good substitute for) and some use Angostura.

There’s a cocktail by this name in “Modern American Drinks” by George J. Kappeler (1895) which is just a Whiskey Cocktail (whiskey, gum syrup, and bitters) made with Canadian whisky. “The Savoy Cocktail Book” (1930) and “1700 Cocktails for the Man behind the bar” by R. de Fleury (1934) both have recipes by this name with Jamaican rum as the spirit and with the proportions of curaçao and spirit inverted. Most of the modern books I’ve checked, and most websites, have a similar recipe to Playboy. It almost looks like the modern Canadian Cocktail is a conflation of the two different historical Canadians.

Calamansi Bitters

*Calamansi Bitters
14 calamansi, halved
1 c. 100-proof vodka
½ tsp gentian
1 star anise, crushed
1 cardamom pod, crushed
¼ tsp coriander, crushed
1/3 c. sugar
Squeeze calamansi juice and seeds into vodka. Add in calamansi rinds and herbs. Let stand 2 weeks. Strain out solids, return liquid to jar. Boil solids in 2/3 c. water. Caramelize 1/3 c. sugar, and add it to water with solids. Let cool. Add caramel water with solids back in to jar with alcohol infusion. Let stand 5 more days. Strain and bottle.

These bitters manage to be sort of the inverse of orange bitters – instead of being citrus over a base of bitter herbs, the bitterness is up front with a very bright citrus tang underneath.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.