I’ve always enjoyed the Olympics. This year’s games are even more exciting because they are being held just up the road from me in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia! To celebrate opening ceremonies, I wanted to make a special cocktail appropriate for the occasion. What could I make? A quick internet search revealed a whole slew of ideas. Bars across Canada have been whipping up Olympics-themed cocktails right and left in honor of the games. Though inspiring, the majority of these drinks just weren’t practical for me to make at home. Most required tricky preparations or obscure Canadian ingredients. I’m too chicken to light a drink on fire in imitation of the Olympic torch, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have any smoked buffalo-infused vodka in my liquor cabinet.

Instead, I decided to keep it simple with a Maple Leaf Cocktail. A variant of the classic whiskey sour, the Maple Leaf blends bourbon, lemon juice and maple syrup (Canadian maple syrup, of course). Since it was a special occasion, I used Booker’s bourbon. Despite being a jaw-dropping 126.9 proof, Bookers is incredibly smooth. It’s great on its own and makes for one mighty nice Maple Leaf Cocktail. The maple syrup plays off the bourbon really well in this drink, and there is just enough lemon juice to brighten things up. The Maple Leaf Cocktail isn’t a Canadian drink per se, but sipping one while watching the mounted police carry the Canadian flag into BC Place, it seemed like the perfect choice!

Maple Leaf Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce pure maple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Makes one drink.

After my success on the first night, I was on the hunt for something to make in celebration of the first full day of competition. When I stumbled across a drink called The Canadian Cocktail, it was settled. Once again, it was so simple and seemed to fall right in line with my cocktail preferences. The Canadian Cocktail features Canadian whiskey mixed with Triple Sec, simple syrup and bitters. It was a bit sweeter than I like but was still very tasty. I used Pendleton whiskey which is fairly sweet on its own; knowing that, I could have dialed back on the simple syrup. Next time, I will try it with less simple syrup and a high quality orange liqueur such as Cointreau.

Canadian Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces Canadian whiskey
1 1/2 teaspoons Triple Sec (or other orange liqueur)
1 dash bitters
1 teaspoon simple syrup

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Makes one drink.

I was looking for a way to ring in Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics; what I found were two simple, tasty cocktails that can be enjoyed anytime. Next up, London 2012 (gin and tonic with a scotch egg, perhaps)?

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