Friday Night Cocktail: Canadian Collins
The Collins is not just one drink; it’s a family of drinks, and like any family, it has its luminaries and its underdogs. The complete family history can be found in David Wondrich’s book Imbibe!, but you’ve probably already met the most eminent member: the Tom Collins, which is made with gin, lemon juice, sugar and club soda.
The most common variations on the Tom Collins are made by swapping out gin for other spirits, which then lend their name to the drink: Tequila Collins, Brandy Collins, and so on. But in the case of the Canadian Collins (at least, according to David Embury) not only the base spirit changes, but also the sweetener.
Pure, crystalline sugar does not dissolve readily in alcohol. Bartenders long ago learned to work around this by making syrup, which is essentially pre-dissolved sugar. From there, it became common to make flavoured syrups, with raspberry, pineapple and pomegranate being some of the most popular. But if you want your cocktail to wear its Canadian heritage proudly on its sleeve, why not sweeten it with the quintessentially Canadian syrup?
How to make a Canadian Collins
- 2 oz. Canadian whisky
- 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. maple syrup (preferably medium or amber)
- Club soda
Combine the whisky, lemon juice and maple syrup in an ice-filled shaker. Shake for 15 seconds, then strain into a tall, ice-filled glass. Top with club soda, stir briefly to combine, and garnish with a lemon wheel.