Right before Christmas, I received a small sample bottle of Collingwood Canadian Whisky to review. As one who generally defaults to Crown, if I even dip a toe into the great White North, the bar was high(though Susie chastises me regularly for my lack of imagination). Once I read that Collingwood boasts a “toasted Maplewood finish”, apprehension set in. I’m not sure if they are doing this in Texas, but Rhode Island bars are heavily pushing the flavored whiskies these days, to the point where my post-work happy hour spot proudly serves a Triple Crown (maple, apple, original) and there are way more maple-flavored options in the dark section of the liquor store than God and Booker Noe intended.
Despite the initial cringe at my sweet, syrupy trigger word, the end result is good. For Collingwood “maplewood finish” is more a process to mellow the harshness of the drink then a sweetener, and it works. I meant to just take a sip neat and then make a cocktail or two, but, since the bottle was small and the taste was smooth, I simply put the whole thing over the ice and enjoyed as we opened presents. (What?)
There’s definitely the same sweetness found in Crown and Canadian Club (think vanilla/toffee), but it wasn’t too overpowering.
The full retail size comes in an old school aftershave-looking bottle (newly revamped), reminiscent of your dad getting ready for dates with Mom 30 years ago (which will drive you to drink if you think about it too long.) I’m not ready to convert for life, but this is definitely a nice whisky to have on-hand for winter that won’t make you feel stuck in the flavored whisky/bourbon apocalypse that is slowly coming to absorb us all. (Oh, the shame.)
If you’re less of a purist and you want to create cocktails with this sweet elixir, here are some suggested recipes. They recommend using Collingwood in “classic, lighter cocktails”.
2oz Collingwood Whisky
0.75oz simple syrup
1oz lemon juice
3oz soda water
Mix Collingwood, simple syrup and lemon juice in a highball glass with ice. Top with soda water and serve.
COLLINGWOOD CANADIAN MULE
1oz Collingwood Whisky
3oz ginger beer
splash lime juice
garnish: lime wedge
Mix all ingredients over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Collingwood is available in most stores across Texas and you can locate the bottle closest to you at collingwoodwhisky.com. The suggested price is around $27.