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Whistler Traveller Magazine - - TASTE I DINING GUIDE -


The re­birth of Cana­dian rye whisky has been one of the most wel­come spirit re­vivals of the past decade. His­tor­i­cally, Cana­dian whisky was made with fer­mented rye in place of, or in ad­di­tion to, corn, bar­ley and wheat. In mod­ern prac­tice, how­ever, most brands only con­tain a small frac­tion be­cause of lax reg­u­la­tions. (In the U.S., rye whiskey — it’s spelled with an “e” south of the bor­der — must be dis­tilled from at least 51 per cent rye mash). Un­til re­cently, many pre­mium Cana­dian ryes weren’t even avail­able here.

There have, how­ever, been ex­cep­tions. Al­berta Pre­mium, sold only in Canada, has al­ways been made 100 per cent rye grain. And the dis­tiller’s su­per-pre­mium Dark Horse, a bar­rel-aged blend of six- and 12-year-old ryes, is a ro­bustly oaky stand­out with rich notes of vanilla and caramel.

“And it’s slightly over-proof,” en­thuses Scott Bar­ber, bar man­ager at the Bearfoot Bistro. He las­soes the dark-golden beauty into a Man­hat­tan-style cock­tail with Sor­tilège (a maple-syrup whisky made in Que­bec), Way­ward Or­der Depth Charge (an espresso-and-ca­cao-bean liqueur made in B.C.) and a dash of black wal­nut bit­ters.

Stirred with ice, a squeeze of or­ange zest and a grat­ing of toasted cin­na­mon, it’s a smooth and boozy sip­per that makes you want to kick off your leather slip­pers à la Mad Men’s Don Draper — or per­haps his French-Cana­dian fa­ther-in-law.

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