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Mar 2, 2014 04:34 PM

Canadian whisky for Manhattans?

I recently read an article about the Manhattan cocktail in which the author stated that if the bar you're in doesn't have rye, you could order it made with Canadian Club, and the result should be pretty reasonable, because apparently CC is made with a lot of rye. Now my only experience with Canadian Whisky (or should it be "whiskey?") comes from a plastic 375 ml flask of CC I purchased while on a trip. For cheap whisk(e)y it seemed OK. I guess it was a bit more like the Old Overholt Rye I use in my Manhattans than bourbon. Is this rye-like taste characteristic of Canadain whisk(e)ys, or are different brands made with different grains and thus hav different flavo(u)rs?

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  1. Before we discovered Bourbon, we user Seagrams VO for Manhattans.....then they lowered the proof from 86 to 80 and all was lost ......

    1. Canadian whisky usually has little -- or even no -- rye in the mash bill, CC included. I personally would drink a Manhattan with bourbon before one with CC. I find it just too mild.

      To confuse matters, to a certain generation, "rye" means Canadian whisky, probably CC or maybe Crown Royal, rather than straight American rye whiskey -- the two being at opposite ends of the rye-spice flavor spectrum.

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      2 Replies
      1. re: EvergreenDan

        Not only do most Canadian not have much or any rye in them, Canadian whiskey can say rye on it and have no actual rue in it. Many of the Canadian blends don''t much whiskey in them either, that's why they tend to be so light. A Canadian blend can have as little as 20% whiskey, the rest being neutral spirits (basically vodka.)

        1. re: JMF

          Who knew? I've got a Canadian uncle-in-law who insists the best Manhattan is made with Canadian Club.. so he made me one and I said "yum, yum" but I was sitting there thinking well.. this tastes like... nothing...

      2. Traditionally, Canadian whiskies were made with a lot of rye, but most mass market Canadians (CC, Crown Royal, etc.) are now dominated by corn. I would never use CC as a substitute for rye.

        There is, however, a new generation of Canadians that is more rye heavy and would probably make an adequate Manhattan: WhistlePig Rye, Jefferson's Rye, Masterson's Rye and Lot 40 are 100% rye grain Canadian Whiskies and all are very good.