Maple Leaf Cocktail Recipe

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Maple Leaf Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Maple Leaf cocktail is a classic whiskey-based drink that originated in Canada. It is said to have been created during the Prohibition era when Canadian whiskey was smuggled into the United States. The cocktail is popular among whiskey lovers and those who enjoy a touch of sweetness in their drinks.

  • The Maple Leaf is often associated with autumn, as its flavors are reminiscent of the season.
  • The cocktail is a favorite among Canadians and Americans alike, as it represents a shared history between the two countries.
  • The Maple Leaf has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, as craft cocktail bars have embraced its unique flavor profile.

How Maple Leaf Tastes?

The Maple Leaf cocktail is a well-balanced mix of sweet, sour, and strong flavors. The whiskey provides a robust, warming base, while the maple syrup adds a rich sweetness. The lemon juice brings a refreshing tartness, and the overall taste is smooth and satisfying.

Interesting facts about Maple Leaf

  • The Maple Leaf is often garnished with a lemon twist or a sprig of mint, adding a touch of freshness to the drink.
  • The cocktail is sometimes made with bourbon instead of Canadian whiskey, giving it a slightly different flavor profile.
  • The Maple Leaf is a versatile drink that can be enjoyed year-round, but it is particularly popular during the fall months when maple syrup is harvested.


Canadian Whiskey

Whiskey is the backbone of this cocktail, providing a robust and warming character. The use of Canadian whiskey specifically adds a smoothness and sometimes a hint of rye spiciness, perfect for pairing with sweet maple. Too much whiskey could overpower the subtle maple syrup, while too little would render the cocktail characterless.

Emma Rose

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup brings a touch of Canadian flair and a natural sweetness to balance the tartness of the lemon. It's like the Canadian handshake – polite and sweet but with substance. If you skip it, you lose the maple leaf from the Maple Leaf cocktail, and that's a no-no. Swap it for honey or agave for a different kind of sweetness, but you'll miss out on those autumnal vibes.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

The lemon juice adds a zesty brightness that cuts through the sweetness, preventing the whiskey and maple syrup from becoming cloying. It's like a splash of cold water in the morning – it wakes everything up! Too much lemon will turn your cocktail into a sour puckering potion, while too little will leave it flat and overly sweet.

Alex Green


A full cup of ice chills the cocktail, making it incredibly refreshing. It also dilutes the drink as it shakes, marrying the flavors gently. No ice means a warm and potentially too-strong cocktail, as the water from the melting ice is crucial for balance. If you're out of ice, chilling the whiskey and using cold maple syrup and lemon juice can be a quick fix, but the texture won't be quite right.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Maple Leaf Drink

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the following ingredients:
    • 2 oz Canadian whiskey
    • 0.5 oz maple syrup
    • 0.5 oz lemon juice
    • 1 cup of ice
  2. Shake the mixture vigorously for 15-20 seconds to ensure proper chilling and dilution.
  3. Strain the cocktail into a chilled rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist or a sprig of mint, if desired.

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality maple syrup for the best flavor. The syrup is a key component of this cocktail, so it's worth investing in a good one.
  • Shake the cocktail vigorously to ensure that all the ingredients are well combined and the drink is properly chilled.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist or a sprig of mint for a touch of freshness and visual appeal.

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Board: The richness of the meats and cheeses complements the whiskey’s warmth.
  • Smoked Salmon: The smokiness echoes the maple syrup's depth, while the lemon juice cuts through the fish's fat.

Main Courses

  • Barbecue Pork: The sweet and savory notes of maple play well with the smokiness of BBQ.
  • Roast Chicken: The citrus element in the cocktail provides a pleasant contrast to the chicken's savoriness.


  • Apple Pie: The maple and lemon enhance the pie’s sweet and fruity flavors.
  • Maple Walnut Ice Cream: Emphasizes the maple ingredient in the cocktail.

Non-Alcoholic Pairings

  • Sparkling Water: To cleanse the palate between sips without overpowering the cocktail's flavors.
  • Ginger Ale: For a non-alcoholic drink with a complementary profile.

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What you could change in Maple Leaf

  • Bourbon can be used instead of Canadian whiskey for a slightly different flavor profile.
  • Honey can be used as a substitute for maple syrup if desired, but this will change the flavor of the cocktail.
  • Lime juice can be used instead of lemon juice for a more tart, citrusy flavor.

Explore all drinks starting with M here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Maple Leaf

Add a 1/4 oz of peaty scotch to the mixture for a smoky note. The scotch adds a layer of complexity and a hint of campfire that pairs intriguingly with the maple. It's like taking your cocktail on a trip to the Canadian wilderness.

Spiced Maple Leaf

Stir in a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg before shaking. This adds a warm, spicy undertone that evokes the feeling of fall and holiday warmth. It will make your cocktail feel like it’s wearing a cozy sweater.

Maple Leaf Fizz

Top off the strained cocktail with a splash of club soda to introduce a bubbly texture. This variation is lighter and more effervescent, perfect for those who enjoy a spritz-style cocktail.

In case you forgot basics how to make Maple Leaf

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Maple Leaf

What type of glass is best to serve the Maple Leaf cocktail in?

Although a rocks glass is traditionally used, the Maple Leaf cocktail can be served in any glass that suits your personal aesthetic.

What is the best time to serve a Maple Leaf cocktail?

You can serve the Maple Leaf cocktail at any time, but it is particularly well-received in the evening due to its warming, comforting properties.

What are some other cocktails that use Canadian whiskey?

Common cocktails that use Canadian whiskey include the Whiskey Sour, Old Fashioned, and Manhattan.

What food items pair well with the Maple Leaf cocktail?

The Maple Leaf cocktail pairs well with hearty foods like steak and barbecued ribs, as well as with sweet desserts like apple pie.

Can Maple Leaf cocktail be prepared in advance for parties?

The Maple Leaf cocktail is best enjoyed freshly made. However, you can premix the whiskey, maple syrup, and lemon juice and store in the fridge, adding ice and shaking just before serving.

What is a good non-alcoholic substitute for the Canadian whiskey in the Maple Leaf?

Non-alcoholic whiskey substitutes can be used, or even non-alcohol maple-flavored syrup for a similar taste profile.

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