Celebrate Canada's 150th Anniversary With These Themed Cocktails

Take a tour of "The Great White North" through its cocktails.

The Nimble Bar Co. is road-tripping across Canada. The Nimble Bar Co. is road-tripping across Canada. Photo courtesy of

Today's guest post comes from Kyle Guilfoyle of the Nimble Bar Company, a creative cocktail event agency that executes parties both big and small, from intimate household dinner affairs to conferences at convention centers. Their mantra is that a cocktail bar can go anywhere, and they recently took that outlook on the road as they criss-crossed their home country of Canada in honor of its 150th anniversary. Below, Kyle shares a few recipes that were inspired by the cities and regions they traversed:

A great cocktail has a history and tells a story. This past June, we decided to travel throughout our expansive country of Canada and create cocktails that connected spirits and ingredients to the land and its memories. We hatched a plan to visit 29 of its national parks, creating cocktails along the way that were inspired by the places and experiences we were having. To create drinks that truly embodied a specific location, we asked ourselves some key questions (below), and the answers inspired some pretty unique and custom ingredients.

1. When we think of this place, what else comes to mind?

For British Columbia, we think of mountains and coastal forests.

What we created: A margarita variation with Douglas fir tips salt, a B.C. coastal forest gin (one of its botanicals even includes Douglas fir!), a B.C. bitter amaro, winter-spiced syrup, and lime juice.

A Stump in the Grove

  • 1.5 oz. Phillip's Stump Gin
  • 3/4 oz. The Woods Spirit Co. Amaro
  • 1/2 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Winter-spiced syrup (recipe below)

Winter-spiced syrup: Cinnamon, allspice, star anise, and juniper berries infused in boiling simple syrup. Cool and strain.

Douglas fir salt: Go out into the wild, forage some Douglas fir tips, and mortar and pestle those tips with salt until you reach a desired consistency. (Grand fir tips have a citrus/pineapple taste to them).

Directions: Add ice to your shaker, shake and strain into a rocks glass over some fresh cubes. Rim half the glass with the infused salt, and garnish with a whole grand fir tip.

2. Do we have any childhood memories of this place?

Growing up in Ontario, I remember my time in Ottawa and drinking copious amounts of Cherry Coke.

What we created: An adult-version Cherry Coke using Ontario cherry gin, Cola syrup, lime juice, mole bitters, and soda.


Parliament Pop

  • 3 oz. Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers Cherry Gin
  • ⅔ oz. Cola syrup (recipe below)
  • ½ oz. Fresh lime juice
  • Splash of soda

Cola syrup

  • 4 oranges zested
  • 4 limes zested
  • 2 lemons zested
  • 2 tsp Kola nut powder
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Dried lavender
  • 1 tsp Citric Acid
  • 1/2 Vanilla pod scraped
  • 1 star anise crushed
  • 1 L water
  • 1 Kg Turbinado sugar

Cola syrup directions: Simmer all ingredients in a large saucepan on medium heat for 30 minutes and stir throughout. Strain mixture into separate pot, place back on low heat and add 1KG of turbinado sugar slowly, stirring to dissolve. Let mixture completely incorporate and all sugar dissolves. Cool and strain into a clean jar. Makes 2 liters.

Parliament Pop directions: Add first three ingredients with ice to your shaker, shake and strain over some fresh cubes in a collins glass. Top with soda and garnish with a fresh cherry and lime wheel.

3. What unique foods or drinks come from this location?

Alberta makes great beef jerky. We used a jerky you can only get in Alberta called Wilhauk. Results vary depending on the jerky used, but we infused ours for two nights.

What we created: Beef jerky-infused Canadian whisky, muddled cayenne pepper, plum sauce, lemon juice, and tempranillo.


The Jerker

  • 2 oz. jerky-infused Alberta Premium Dark Horse
  • 0.75 oz Tempranillo wine
  • 0.5 oz Lemon juice
  • Heaping barspoon of plum sauce
  • Muddled cayenne pepper

Directions: Combine all ingredients. Add ice to your shaker, shake and fine strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with lemon twist around a strip of beef jerky.

4. Does this place have some sort of distinguishing image or emblem?

Alberta’s provincial flower is the wild rose.

What we created: We infused wild rose into Cinzano bianco vermouth and made a Manhattan variation.

Rye & Rose cocktail

Rye & Rose

  • 2 oz. Alberta Premium Rye
  • 1 oz. Wild rose-infused Cinzano bianco vermouth
  • ⅔ oz Ginger syrup
  • 3 Dashes apple, lemon, and thyme bitters

Directions: Build in a mixing glass, add ice, stir and strain up in a coupe glass. Garnish with a picked rose petal and ginger medallion.

Follow Kyle and the Nimble Bar Company through their videos as they continue their cocktail journey across Canada.

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