One of the first “cocktails” you may have had in your life was the classic highball, the Rye + Ginger.
Back before prohibition rye was the choice spirit of the American working class. Spicier and more aggressive than bourbon, rye was the drink that “grew hair on a man’s chest.” It was typically drank straight, however, during this unregulated era, Rectifiers would often make fake whisky out of bad blends and a mix of things that would make it seem hot and spicy like a good rye should be. Except it was like battery acid and tobacco juice in there, but that’s a story for another time. Nevertheless, to mask the harshness of rye whiskey whether it be the legit or fake versions, people began mixing it with soda pop. Ginger ale soon became the popular choice as its flavours complemented that of the spicy (and/or sketchy) rye. Today the ubiquitous Rye + Ginger continues to be a favourite among all ages.
What I love about the Rye + Ginger is that it is a fairly agreeable cocktail – most people will drink it if you serve it to them. However, if you’re hosting guests or want to update this basic highball, you can do so with just a few ingredients. For this version, I simple used kaffir lime leaves and edible flowers, both from Granville Island’s Public Market. They serve many purposes in this highball: they add new aromatics to the cocktail, add an exceptional new flavour profile and create a stunning presentation for a very simple and easy to make drink.
Go on, impress your friends with this recipe. Just make sure to use the good rye. Not sure what a “good rye” is? Here’s a round-up of the top 9 Canadian Ryes under $30.
2.0 oz Whiskey
Kaffir Lime Leaves
Place a handful of kaffir lime leaves and the whiskey of your choice into a container and let sit for 3-5 days. Strain out lime leaves, add whiskey to a glass with ice and gingerale. Top with additional kaffir lime leaves and edible flowers.