Lovers of our last rye box might’ve picked up a tidbit or two about the spirit’s mid-Atlantic Appalachian origins in states like Pennsylvania and Maryland. Inch up a little farther on the map into Canada, though, and you’ll land in a place where rye whisky is just as cherished and rich in tradition. Canada arrived at whisky-making a little later along the timeline, and although it shares some traits with America’s first foray into the industry—enterprising characters, lore aplenty, and a strong European influence—the two countries’ paths diverged in some key ways.
We in America appreciate rye so much that we designate by law that the style of whisk(e)y it graces must be distilled from at least 51% of the grain. But, again, look north and you’ll find a different approach—one that sees its distillers flavoring their wares with any amount of rye that they see fit, a necessary freedom for a country so fond of blended spirits.
This translates to an expansive amount of options under the general umbrella of Canadian whisky. There are the versions that reflect the pioneering style, heavily influenced by the know-how of European immigrants: lighter, sweeter, with low amounts of rye in the mix. But then there are the 100% righteous rye bombs, which glorify the singular spiced hardiness of the grain.
For all this variety, there’s one thing at which all ryes excel: perfectly matching the crispness of the autumn air in taste and enhancing all the many joys the season has to offer. It’s time for haulin’ leaves and hayrides, and the Ryes and Fall Box will be the festive centerpiece for at-home happy hours every bit as bountiful as the nearest harvest. Subscribe now through November 10th to get yours—it’s shipping now!
Hailey Pasemko sees your three and raises you Five Sheets to the Wind, and to reach those heights she’s got a spice blend with a certain quintupling quality. A five spice–lemon cordial is at the heart of her tall tipple, along with yuzu sparkling juice for bubbly brightness, a dash of Jerry Thomas Decanter bitters for plenty more aromatics, and good ol’ Canadian rye, which introduces this well-seasoned, bouncy, and citrusy medley to the Great White North.
Originally from Victoria, British Columbia, Hailey has been behind the bar at Tofino’s Wolf in the Fog restaurant since its opening in 2014. Inspired by unique ingredients both local and exotic, she loves to mix elements of her environment into creative cocktail menus that change by the season.
It’s wheels-up for the Rye-napple Express, on its way to a set of coordinates where autumn spice meets summer fun. You’d think Canadian rye would be a total spirit out of water in this seasonal mash-up from intrepid aviator Sother Teague—but watch it shine and show its lighter side with the tropical team of pineapple, lime, and baking spices. As for fall? Hold on tight as the cocktail doubles back from the beach with apple cider plus Sother’s special take on the de rigueur pumpkin spice craze circling the rim!
In keeping with his reputation of offering the unexpected and pushing the paradigm, Sother’s surveyed the 4 servings of his cocktail and is offering 4 different ways to mix it! Check your recipe card when it arrives, complete the cocktail quadrant, show your work!! (using hashtag #RyenappleExpress)—and an esteemed spot in the Sother League of Champions might just be yours!
Sother is the beverage director at New York’s Amor y Amargo and host of The Speakeasy on Heritage Radio Network. In 2018, he was honored with Wine Enthusiast’s Mixologist of the Year Award, and he has authored two books, I’m Just Here for the Drinks and Let’s Get Blitzen. He’s the creator of Driftwood bitters and Garden Party bitters, and his bar and restaurant company, Overthrow Hospitality, is fast becoming a pioneer in the vegan hospitality sector. Catch up on all the Sother favorites in the S&S catalog, including The Weekender, Dragon Tears, and Slippery Slopes.
Grant Sceney knows a thing or two about roots, having departed his native Australia to plant new ones and shake up the bartending scene in Vancouver. The ingredients of his old fashioned, Fog & Fungi, likewise wouldn’t be out of place on a morning spent foraging in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. It features Canadian rye, aromatic bitters, and a root beer syrup full of sassafras, spices, and candy cap mushrooms—a delightfully surprising and much sought-after culinary star of many desserts and sweets—which bring a soft flavor akin to maple and curry. Dig up a round of this complex yet simple wonder and you might just find a new fave to root for!
Grant, who can be found running the beverage program at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel’s Botanist Bar in Vancouver, was crowned Canadian Bartender of the Year in 2014 and went on to finish 4th at the World Class Global Finals. He’s continued to share his passion for bartending as a spirits educator, cocktail judge, mentor, and cocktail-program designer.
The leaves may change, but our love for Canadian rye never will. Join us on this Ryes and Fall journey right smack in the middle of the season for a cocktail-filled catch-up with the northern neighbors!
The Shaker & Spoon Team
*not vegan: nothing