Drink of the Week: Rye’d N Dirty

Rye'd N Dirty.In the U.S., whiskey cannot be sold as rye unless it is distilled from at least 51 percent rye grain. In Canada, there is no such rule. Therfore, as I understand it, a lot of what we call Canadian whiskey over here is known as rye north of the border, even though corn and other grains may be a great deal more dominant. For this reason, American rye has long had a more distinctively peppery flavor than it’s Canuck cousin. Lately, however, Canadian brands have been getting into the act with ryes that pass stateside muster.

And so it was that I was turned on to today’s fine cocktail by my friends at Canadian Club…and they really are my friends, as they sometimes send me free stuff and tasty cocktails, in this case their new Canadian Club 100% Rye. Often sold for less than $20.00 a bottle, this all-rye rye is a worthy alternative to such value priced standbys as Pikesville and Old Overholt. Comparing it to regular, blended Canadian Club, it’s less mellow, hotter and spicier, though not as peppery as some of the pricier ryes. It definitely makes for a bold Old Fashioned or Manhattan.

The CC 100% also definitely works pretty brilliantly in our Drink of the Week, which features a burst of additional heat and spice from a non-whiskey source.

Rye’d N Dirty

1 1/2 ounces Canadian Club 100% Rye
1 ounce Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters (essential garnish)

Combine all the ingredients, except for the bitters, in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (the Canadian Club folks suggest a coupe style glass with rounded curves, but I wouldn’t say it’s essential). Complete the drink by adding a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters, which should make an interesting pattern in the top of your drink. Toast the beauty of the pattern and the taste of a well thought-out cocktail.


Because of a limited supply of the chili liqueur, I was only able to try the Rye’d N Dirty twice – I usually like to do my drinks at least three or four times and share them with a guinea pig or two, if I can. Nevertheless, upon two tastings, I have to hand it to Milwaukee-area bartender Austin Foster for coming up with this drink. The spice of the chili liqueur, blended with the lemon juice and sweetener, really does play up the most likable aspects of the Canadian Club 100% Rye. Better yet, garnishing it with drops of bitters adds a really intriguing final touch. While bitters aren’t meant to be tasted undiluted, leaving them in more discrete areas of the drink can create a very nice effect, somewhat similar to what you’ll find in a Pisco Sour.

You might notice that I haven’t mentioned the name – a pun on a well-known rap tune as well as, I’m told, the practice of driving while warrants are out on you for dealing with contraband. Not being particularly knowledgeable about rap, or being on the wrong side of the law, I had to turn to friends on social media to figure it out. Guess what that makes me…