Feature image courtesy of Prairie 360’s Devin Nelissen.

It’s Friday. And thank goodness! You’ve been waiting for this moment all week. Now all you can think about is kicking up those heels and pouring yourself a stiff glass of anything that will make you forget about this week and get you ready for the good times and weekend ahead. We get it. We’ve been there too. But instead of that stiff glass of nothing particular, this might be the perfect time to try on something more specific…like a cocktail.

While the origins of the cocktail may be in dispute, there’s no debating how creative these drinks can get. Earlier creations combined traditional ingredients such as spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. And while these ingredients remain standard in your everyday cocktail, don’t be surprised if you come across variations that include a liqueur. We were curious about the varieties of cocktails out there, particularly those with ingredients unique to Manitoba. With the help of a few restaurants and bartenders, here are the ones that come highly recommended.

Crab Apple-Infused Cocktail

King's Head

When we asked bartender Adam Kowal for his ideas for a refreshing cocktail with local ingredients, he went all out. From the rye, to the honey, to the two-day infused crab apples, he had thought of just about everything. Adam even took into account the chillier weather. Adam’s creation is the perfect balance of savoury and sweet. And he suggests adding a dash of nutmeg and/or cranberries into the mix for your upcoming Christmas party.

2 oz. crab apple-infused vanilla Crown Royal
0.25 oz. Bee Project simple syrup
1 oz. egg white
Shake vigorously and pour over fresh ice. Garnish with an apple slice. Add lemon juice to taste.

Courtesy of bartender Adam Kowal & King’s Head Pub.

SMITH by 3

Smith x 3

SMITH offered not one, but three enticing options to try, but maybe not all in one sitting. These three drinks are among the restaurant’s top offerings, with the signature classic SMITH Sour being a must!

2 oz. Crown Royal Rye
Dash of orange bitters
0.5 oz. simple syrup
1 lemon
1 egg white
Shake without ice to create consistency, then add ice and shake again.

Canadian R&R
2 oz. tequila
Half a lime
1 oz. rosemary rhubarb syrup
1 dash rhubarb bitters
Shake with ice and finish with a rosemary sprig.

Cucumber Collins
1 oz. cucumber-infused vodka
Simple syrup
Half a lime
Dash of pickling juice
Top with soda and garnish with a blueberry-stained pickled cucumber.

Courtesy of SMITH restaurant at The Forks.

Maple Manhattan

Maple manhattan_2

It may have “Manhattan” in its name, but this cocktail is rather Manitoban, if we dare say so ourselves. With its maple syrup and Crown Royal Rye additions, these local ingredients really pull it all together.

 1¼ oz. Crown Royal Rye
¾ oz. Carpano Antica
0.5 oz. maple syrup
Dash of Dillon’s Coffee Bitters

Courtesy of bartender Scott Berry & Peasant Cookery.

Manitoba Made

Manitoba Made

When bartender Shelby Linden was looking for ideas for a new cocktail, she let Canada’s 150th be the inspiration behind her creation. Manitoba Made has been featured on the Blaze Bistro and Lounge’s menu and Shelby describes it as a vibrant, refreshing, floral drink.

1.5 oz. Tall Grass Gin
1 oz. rhubarb Saskatoon syrup
1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 egg white
Dry shake, wet shake, served up in a coup glass

Courtesy of Manitoba Bartenders Guild member and bartender Shelby Linden.

Eternal Youth’s Torch

Eternal Youths Torch

While we can’t lay claim to any fountains that return youthfulness in Manitoba, Prairie 360’s Eternal Youth’s Torch – brand new to the restaurant’s cocktail menu – will at least return you to sanity. Cherry on top? The restaurant’s choice of colour and garnish are a play on the Golden Boy, and the gooseberry as the torch.

1.5 oz. Crown Royal
0.5 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. egg white
0.5 oz. of simple syrup
Combine ingredients in shaker with no ice to “dry” shake and froth the egg white. Once frothed, add ice to chill shake. Strain over ice in a double rocks glass and garnish with the gooseberry.

Courtesy of Prairie 360’s resident bartender and Devin Nelissen.

Northern Canadian Mojito


Resto Gare & Train Car is proud of its beverages and among their best known and best loved drinks with guests is its Northern Canadian Mojito.

1.5 oz. Crown Royal (northern harvest)
Fresh limes
Fresh mint
1 oz. wild berry purée
Mint syrup
Shake and pour in tall glass with ice, top with soda

Courtesy of Resto Gare & Train Car.

Final thoughts…

Of course, if you don’t feel like making any of these drinks yourself, you can always go straight to the source, or visit the Manitoba Bartenders Guild’s Facebook page for more ideas of where you can savour your next best cocktail.