Cheers, Canada! 2 original cocktails for the sesquicentennial

Celebrate with flavours of Canada: rye wheat and maple syrup

Sure, you could toast Canada’s 150th birthday with a Bloody Caesar, the drink with a creation myth that goes back to a Calgary hotel circa 1969.

Or, you could raise a glass filled with something new – something emblematic of the nation, featuring the likes of rye whisky instead of vodka, and maple syrup rather than clam squeezings.

In the lead-up to the biggest national celebrations in recent memory, we asked Mitch McCaskill (Hospitality Management ’08) for original cocktails to mark the milestone. The maître d’ at Ernest’s, NAIT’s on-campus fine dining restaurant, decided to “keep it simple – because there are going to be tons of Caesars going out there.”

Here’s what McCaskill and his staff came up with.

Rye whisky and maple syrup cocktail made by NAIT ernests mitch mccaskillJewel in the Crown

This martini-style, whisky-based drink is smooth and balanced. The warm hominess of maple syrup takes the edge off the rye whisky, while the mild fruit flavour introduces a surprise akin to stumbling upon plump, wild raspberries during a woodland stroll.

Feel free to super-size its Canadian-ness: “It would be really good with maple Crown Royal,” says McCaskill.


  • Ice
  • 1 oz. Crown Royal Canadian Whisky
  • 1 oz. Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur
  • Maple syrup
  • Sugar in the raw


  1. Fill a shaker tin half way with ice. Add whisky and liqueur. Shake.
  2. Dip the rim of a martini glass in a plate of maple syrup. Then dip in a plate of sugar in the raw (which McCaskill uses because it’s not as sweet as other sugars).
  3. Drizzle more syrup down the inside of the glass.
  4. Strain contents of shaker into glass, leaving ice behind, and serve.

old fashioned made with rye whisky and maple syrup by NAIT ernest's mitch mccaskillCanadian Old Fashioned

McCaskill and his staff switch bourbon for rye to give this classic a taste of the Prairies, which produce most of Canada’s rye grain. In contrast to their Jewel in the Crown, this version of the Old Fashioned strives to reflect the diversity of the nation.

While the flavours of the alcohol, maple syrup and bitters harmonize, the virtues of each remain distinct and strong – individually essential to the whole.


  • Ice
  • 2 oz. Crown Royal Canadian Whisky
  • ½ oz. maple syrup
  • 2 drops aromatic bitters
  • 4 drops orange bitters


  1. Fill a whisky glass 2/3 with ice.
  2. Add whisky, syrup and bitters.
  3. Stir gently.
  4. Savour slowly, thereby avoiding any maudlin renditions of O Canada.

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