A woman holding a cocktail with an evergreen garnish
Photography, Jonathan Chovancek

Polar Vortex Rye Whisky Cocktail

Lauren Mote's adds a rosemary "wreath" to her craft cocktail.

There are a few loves that Canadians tend to make known to the world: Tim Hortons coffee, road-tripping, cottages and rye whisky. This cocktail was inspired by renowned bartender Lauren Mote’s trip to Winnipeg in the midst of a polar vortex a few years ago. The poor weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of locals, leading her to craft a cocktail in tribute to Canadian endurance. Rye whisky, of course, is the star.

A woman holds an amber drink with an evergreen garnish

Canadian Rye Whisky Cocktail

Lauren Mote's recipe for a Canadian rye whisky cocktail, inspired by a particularly chilly trip to Winnipeg.
Course cocktail, drink
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 1 drink


  • oz Canadian 100% rye whisky
  • 2 oz Apple Honey Shrub see note #1
  • 2 dashes lemon bitters like Bittered Sling Lem-Marrakech

To Garnish

  • evergreen “wreath”
  • balsam fir spray see note #2


  • Wrap highball glass with an evergreen sprig, affixing it to glass with kitchen twine or a rubber band, to create a mini “wreath.” Spray inside of glass with balsam spray; fill with ice.
  • Fill shaker with ice; add whisky, shrub and bitters. Using some force, shake hard for 5 seconds.
  • Using small fine-mesh sieve, double strain into prepared glass.
  • Finish with additional mist of balsam spray.


  1. To make 2 cups apple-honey shrub, add ½ cup plus 1 tbsp honey, ¾ cup freshly pressed apple juice and 3½ oz cane vinegar to blender. Blend on medium until honey is dissolved. Strain into a sanitized bottle with a mesh sieve and store in the fridge for up to 10 days.
  2. To make 3¼ oz or a generous cup balsam fir spray, add 2 oz filtered water, 1¼ oz vodka and 2 drops pure balsam fir essential oil to a small atomizer. Replace lid and shake. Spray can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months.

A cookbook cover in a light frame

Recipe excerpted from A Bartender’s Guide to the World: Cocktails and Stories from 75 Places by Lauren Mote and James O. Fraioli. Adapted for ELLE Gourmet. Copyright © 2022 Lauren Mote and James O. Fraioli. Cover and book design by Terri Nimmo. Cover and book photography by Jonathan Chovancek. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
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