Latest Drink Trend
A friend invited me to a bartender competition hosted by Gibsons and all the drinks were mixed with Canadian Whiskey. I have seen trends involving martinis, scotch, tequila and rum, could Canada be making its mark with whiskey as the new "it" liquor?
Has anyone noticed whiskey cocktails on menus? Where would you get a good one?
Welcome to the Cocktail Revolution, the Second Golden Age of Cocktails.
Remember this was at a specific Canadian whiskey based cocktail competition. Competitions don't define trends in cocktails, they are designed to create cocktails for a particular brand or type of spirit, many of these recipes are never repeated or used again, anywhere.
Whiskey cocktails have been very big for several years at top end cocktail bars in the US and many, many years overseas in bastions of mixology like Japan who kept the premium cocktail alive while it foundered in the US during its decline from 1910-2000.
What you see happening at mixology competitions can be indicitive of trends that are morphing. You may see some new ideas surfacing as spin off from the recent favorites, while other times moxologists/bar chefs go with ideas that are radically different and may lead to new trends. It depends upon the hosting spirit and the quality level of the mixologists attracted to the competition.
In general, world-wide, the trend is towards premium cocktails with well thought out ingredients. The 'call everything a martini' trend of the '90's an early '00's is almost dead, as the public slowly gets educated on terminology and quality cocktails, although some parts of the country are still almost a decade behind the times.
Thankfully long dead except in hold-out tourist spots like Bourbon Street in NOLA and its ilk, are its predecessor of the '80's with the tall, sickly, neon colored, vodka and neutral spirits based drinks with imitation juices and mixes.
The current East Coast trend are retro cocktails in the first golden age style of 1800-1910.
West Coast trend is more explorative of fruits, vegetables, and fusion styles.
Both have sub-categories and spins on each other since mixologists, bar chefs, and bartenders tend to move around a bit and visit each other.
Another trend is molecular mixology (MM), but that depends upon where and how. It won't become a mainstream trend unless spherification and other MM techniques move from the do-it-yourself experimental mixologist, to being prepared commercially. I hope this never happens.
I can recommend places you can get premium, whiskey based cocktails in NYC and Boston, even Portland, Maine; but not Toronto.
This link to an article which is about a year old has a few recommendations for Toronto, but from seeing the cocktails I would say that they are still in the progression from the '90's trend to the present. http://www.where.ca/toronto/article_f...
This website may be helpful, trust the readers comments more than the site itself.
I recommend getting in touch with the Toronoto Institute of Bartending, they give an advanced mixology course , which leads me to think that their are some good mixologists/bar chefs in town. http://www.torontobartending.com/sect...
it's been a while since i've been there but the bar at Splendido (since you're asking about Toronto, presumably) used to serve a fantastic drink called the Cape Brettoner, with Cape Breton Canadian single malt whiskey, Charbay blood orange vodka, maple syrup, fresh ground ginger/nutmeg
I was a judge at that Toronto competition... The cocktails were really great, only one or two dogs out of the 15 that were produced. In the end only 1 point between first and second place, so the competition was really tight.
The 40 creek that Finely diced speaks about is a great Canadian whisky; John Hall the whisky maker used to be / still is a winemaker, and treats the whisky in the same manner as wine. He distils each grain separately (corn, rye, malted barley), ages them in oak - separately, and then at the end of aging he mixes each separate 'whisky' into 40 creek. In this way he can treat the qualities of each grain as an individual flavour and come up with an exceptional product. This mix then gets an additional age time in oak to come together as one.
In bars that don't have rye (and there's lots) I order my manhattan made with Seagram's 7. A lot of the older places use it as their standard manhattan whiskey, and I noticed its flavor comes closest to the rye manhattans I love at home. Bourbon doesn't morph as nicely in the cocktail; it retains its own flavor.
I've been seeing a lot of "red delicious" "martinis" made with Canadian whiskey on menus lately. I first saw one a few years ago at a chain - the bartender made it for me gratis. It was good i guess, just sweet and I usually stick to beer and wine. But, I have been seeing them a lot lately - Boston area.