“We make the best cocktails in Calgary,” declared the man tending bar at The Lake House, formerly The Ranche, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts (CRMR) restaurant that has moved to Lake Bonavista in Calgary.
Well then. With confidence like that, I’d be silly not to sample one. He tried to sell me on a sweet lychee martini, but after explaining that I prefer strong, savoury or sour drinks he suggested the cherry whiskey sour. Sign me up!
I love this drink! It’s simultaneously tart and sweet, with just enough strength that you can taste the bourbon, but not so much that it turns you off (bourbon is so, well, bourbon-y, after all). There’s also a nice cherry flavour from the McGuinness cherry whiskey that rounds out the sweet and balances the lemon juice. You could play around with the drink’s ratios if it suits (see recipe), but I wouldn’t. This drink is awesome as is, and I love that the bartenders don’t even measure out the ingredients — they eyeballed everything except the booze.
The Lake House’s new, renovated space is a huge departure from the heritage home at The Ranche in Fish Creek Provincial Park. The restaurant tries hard to recreate the rustic ambiance of the former venue, with elk antler chandeliers and a large stone and cement fireplace. There’s also a stellar view over Lake Bonavista. I like the long bar too — it’s a lovely spot for a cocktail.
Cherry Whiskey Sour
- 1 egg white
- 1-1/2 oz Knob Creek bourbon
- 1/2 oz McGuinness cherry whiskey
- 3/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 oz brown sugar simple syrup (combine 1 part brown sugar with 1 part water, heat until sugar dissolves, cool and refrigerate)
Vigorously dry shake ingredients in a Boston shaker. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a rocks glass over one large ice cube. Orange flambé zest garnish (heat an orange peel section with a lighter, squeeze essential oils into drink, drop in peel).
— Recipe courtesy Chris Hanson and Mike Squire