Whiskey review: Canadian Club Classic 12

Canadian Club Classic 12 Year-Old

This variation on the very popular brand of Canadian whisky has been around for years, but I’ve never seen it on a single store shelf. In fact, at first I assumed it was a brand new product. It’s not, but it fits right in with the trend towards attempting more complex variations on the traditionally light and smooth Canadian whisky discussed in our “Spotlight on Booze” piece several weeks back.

As the name Canadian Club Classic 12 indicates, this expression is aged 12 years rather than six years as with standard Canadian Club.  It is actually one of a few spin-off lines from Hiram Walker’s best-known brand. The venerable whisky line also includes the more commonly available 10-year-old Canadian Club Reserve, which I’ve enjoyed, and a 100 proof version I would truly love to try at some point — now that I know it exists.

I’ve been sampling this whisky — the Canadians dispense with the “e” — for a while now and have featured it in a couple of “Drink of the Week” posts, but I haven’t really discussed it on its own. Like a lot of things, it took some getting used to but has grown on me.  I found it pretty outstanding in the slightly counterintuitive Bloody Caesar recipe that I ran. Its more smokey flavor may also work better in a Canadian Cocktail than ordinary CC.

Though I rarely drink booze straight except when I’m doing these reviews, it definitely tastes better neat than it’s more inexpensive but supremely mixable brethren. CC 12 has some Scotch-like astringency, but the flavor also has maybe a tiny bit more of a noticeable sweetness with a rye tang. It’s fine on the rocks and extremely drinkable with soda.

All in all, I’m coming around to the view that I’m pretty favorable to this expression, perhaps because it actually predates recent attempts to appeal to connoisseurs. In the case of the acclaimed Forty Creek, those efforts may have lead to a whiskey I personally found excessively difficult for all its greater complexity. I prefer the lightness and smoothness of regular Canadian whisky in general, and standard (and very inexpensive) Canadian Club in particular, which causes some to sniff that it’s the vodka of whiskey. I still like vodka, too.

  

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

Drink of the Week: The Bloody Caesar

The Bloody Caesar

In general, Canada’s correctly beloved Bloody Caesar is nothing more or less than a Bloody Mary made with Clamato or a similar tomato/clam juice beverage rather than straight tomato juice. In fact, you are certainly not ill-advised to simply make that substitution with the previously described DOTW Bloody Mary recipe. Nevertheless, I recently tried out this particular recipe provided by, naturally, the Canadian Club people to promote their new Canadian Club Classic 12 Year-Old whisky and I highly recommend it.

Yes, you can make a bloody beverage with not only vodka and gin but with various types of whiskey, and I have to say that this particular variant on the classic is pretty fantastic. It’s about as refreshing as an alcoholic cocktail can be while having plenty of spice to it. It really does seem to taste best with CC’s newest brand, but this version of the Bloody Caesar works very nicely with vodka or regular Canadian Club as well. The trick here is that this is the first Bloody Anything I’ve tried that comes out of shaker rather than being built in the glass.

The Bloody Caesar, CC Variant

1.5 ounces Canadian Club Classic 12, or alternative boozes as preferred and available
4 ounces Clamato/tomato-mollusk beverage of your choice
4 dashes Tabasco/Louisiana hot sauce of your preference
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce (I like Lea & Perrin’s, when I find it on sale)
1 dash black pepper
1 lemon wedge
1 small celery stalk (optional but very nice garnish)

Pour your liquor and tomato-clam beverage into a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire and pepper. Squeeze the juice out of your lemon wedge and throw the spent edge into the mix. Shake very vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a highball/Collins glass. Add your celery, if you’ve got it.

****

I did try one more variant of this, using an inexpensive brand of blended Scotch. It wasn’t half bad. I hereby christen it the Bloody Macbeth. Just be careful when ordering it near nervous Shakespeareans.

  

Drink of the Week: The Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary plusLong before I began to get more than casually interested in mixology, I wondered into a dive bar on Sunset Boulevard and requested a bloody Mary from a crotchety bartender.

“Bloody Mary’s are what alcoholics drink in the morning!” he informed me brusquely, clearly speaking of a subject he knew first hand. After it became clear he wasn’t joking and really was irritated by my order, I settled for a screwdriver, but I wasn’t happy. Sorry, but in my opinion you should be allowed to enjoy this delicious cocktail at any time of day and you shouldn’t have had to have blacked out the night before in order to merit one. In fact, if you have, you’re probably a lot better off drinking it virgin (i.e., alcohol free), which really isn’t a bad thing to drink regardless.

The origins of this fairly easy to make but still rather complex drink, with loads of potential ingredients, are vague but apparently some credit is due the late comedian and “Toastmaster General” George Jessel — today best known as the inspiration for the voice of Dr. Zoidberg on Matt Groening’s “Futurama.” It’s apparent that the name “bloody Mary” either comes from bloodthirsty Queen Mary I of England or the legendary ghost all 9 year-olds know, but that’s a bit vague too.  We do know that if you repeat the name “bloody Mary” 100 times, you’ll get a bartender even more annoyed than the one who refused to make me this drink.

Below is a good, but rather mild, starter recipe.

The Bloody Mary

1-1.5 ounces of vodka
4-6 ounces tomato juice
1-3 dashes of hot sauce
2-4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 dash of ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. pure horseradish (or more)
1-3 dashes celery salt
1/2 ounce of lemon juice (optional)’

Possible garnishes: celery stalk, lemon slice, olives, pickled green beans, carrot sticks, dill pickles, cucumber, cooked cold shrimp, whole Maine lobster (just kidding on that one)

Pour tomato juice and vodka over ice into a glass (Collins or larger), add Tabasco or the hot sauce of your choice, Worcestershire, pepper and other spices. Stir vigorously with swizzle stick or bar spoon, add as many garnishes as you dare.

***

As you can see, there’s a lot of room for variation and personal taste here. To be honest, I’m still perfecting what proportions and technique work best for me and I’m not sure why sometimes my bloody Mary tastes heavenly and other times, just pretty good.

A couple of quick notes. First of all, don’t be afraid to try other types of liquor other than vodka. I’ve been using gin a lot lately, but also have had reasonable success, believe it or not, with whiskeys. Also, don’t let the fact that you may not have every single one of these ingredients stop you from building your own bloody Mary.

In fact, the best bloody Mary by far that I’ve made myself came from a recipe developed by Hendrick’s gin for use with their brand. It’s just Hendricks, tomato juice, a slice of cucumber, some hot sauce, and ice. My second favorite version of the bloody Mary comes from Canada. It seems our neighbors to the north make theirs with Clamato and they call it a bloody Caesar. I’d say it was “bloody good,” but that would be annoying.

  

Related Posts