City life: The perfect Canadian cocktail

June 16, 2010

While in Toronto last weekend, my pals and I made a startling discovery. I was going to write it up, but my girlfriend, Megan Bayles, author of the summer-drinks-only blog, Back Deck cocktails seemed much more appropriate. Thus I figured a little guest blogging was in order.

Canadian Club Whiskey. Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Can you think of two more banal ingredients for a cocktail?

 

Canada Dry: the bubbly elixir my mom gave my sisters and me when we were vomiting, until eventually the taste itself was so associated with illness that all ginger ales made me nauseous for years.

Canadian Club: plastic-bottled and so cheap that even in college we passed it up for Jim Beam. A $20 handle signals hangover to even the most novice drinkers, doesn’t it?

Imagine the surprise, then, when we ordered a whiskey ginger at Swan, a cute Toronto diner cum bistro, and were delivered the best tasting version of that simple classic that any of us had ever had. Of course, it’s possible that the bartender had the perfect pour, or that our expectations were significantly lowered when our server asked what went into an old-fashioned before informing us that their bar doesn’t stock bitters. But we all agreed: it was so good.

Australians, it seems, already knew what we have only just begun to learn, and have bottled a pre-mixed CC and Canada Dry, which they (not particularly inventively) call Canadian Club Dry. Our astonished dinner chatter produced a sneaking suspicion, though. Isn’t it possible, if not probable, that these two bastions of Canadian beverage are different—better—in the homeland? Just as we all know that Mexican Coke is different—better—than the Coke they bottle for the U.S.?

Only one way to find out. Binny’s, here I come.

Keep it simple, keep it Canadian:

1 shot of CC over ice
top ‘er off with Canada Dry Ginger Ale
garnish with a lime wedge if you’re feeling it.