Windsor Cocktail Recipe

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Windsor 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 Windsor Cocktail is a classic drink that dates back to the early 20th century. It is named after the Windsor Hotel in Montreal, Canada, where it was first created. The cocktail quickly gained popularity among the hotel's elite clientele and soon became a favorite among high society gatherings.

  • The Windsor Hotel was a luxurious establishment, attracting the rich and famous
  • The cocktail was a favorite among the hotel's guests, including politicians, celebrities, and royalty
  • The Windsor Cocktail has since become a classic, enjoyed by cocktail enthusiasts around the world

How Windsor Tastes?

The Windsor Cocktail has a complex and sophisticated taste, with a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and bitter notes. It is smooth and velvety, with a hint of warmth from the whiskey and a refreshing citrus kick from the lemon juice.

Interesting facts about Windsor

  • The Windsor Cocktail is sometimes referred to as the 'Canadian Manhattan' due to its similarities with the classic Manhattan cocktail
  • The original recipe called for Canadian whiskey, but it can also be made with bourbon or rye whiskey
  • The cocktail is typically served in a chilled cocktail glass, garnished with a lemon twist


Canadian Whiskey

Canadian whiskey adds a smooth, slightly sweet base with hints of vanilla and spice. Using 2 oz creates a well-balanced cocktail; too much would overpower other flavors, too little, and the drink would lack body. If substituted with bourbon, expect a sweeter, bolder flavor.

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

0.5 oz Lemon Juice provides a tartness that balances the sweet components and adds freshness. If you forget it, your Windsor will lack zing! Substitute with lime juice for a tangier twist.

Alex Green

Simple Syrup

At 0.5 oz, the simple syrup complements the whiskey's natural sweetness without making the drink cloyingly sweet. Less syrup would make the cocktail too tart, while more could mask the whiskey's subtle flavors. Try honey syrup for a richer sweetness.

Mary Mitkina

Angostura Bitters

The 2 dashes of bitters contribute a layer of complex spices and a hint of herbal notes. They're like the cocktail's pixie dust – just a little bit changes everything. Without them, the cocktail would be one-dimensional. Orange bitters can be a zesty alternative.

Emma Rose

Lemon Twist

The Lemon Twist isn't just a pretty garnish; the oils expressed over the drink add aroma and a hint of citrus flavor. Without it, you might miss that bright top note. An orange twist could work if you're feeling adventurous.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Windsor Drink

  1. In a mixing glass, combine the Canadian whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters
  2. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled
  3. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist

Pro Tips

  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for a more vibrant flavor
  • Chill your cocktail glass in advance for a cooler drink
  • Stir the cocktail gently to avoid diluting the drink too much

Perfect Pairings


  • Smoked Salmon: The smokiness of the salmon elevates the whiskey's complexity.
  • Gouda Cheese: A semi-hard cheese like Gouda can complement the richness of the Windsor.


  • Grilled Steak: The robust flavor of grilled steak pairs splendidly with the bold, oaky notes of Canadian whiskey.
  • Roast Pork: A succulent roast pork with its natural sweetness and fats works harmoniously with the citrus and sweet notes of the cocktail.


  • Lemon Tart: The citrus notes in the tart and cocktail can enhance each other.
  • Pecan Pie: The caramelized pecans can echo the sweet and nutty flavors of the whiskey.

Non-Alcoholic Pairings

  • Ginger Ale: Can act as a palate cleanser between sips, complementing the spice of the bitters.
  • Coffee: After the cocktail, coffee can accentuate the Windsor's complex flavors, especially if your coffee has a hint of caramel.

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What you could change in Windsor

  • Bourbon or rye whiskey can be used instead of Canadian whiskey
  • Lime juice can replace lemon juice for a different citrus twist
  • Honey syrup can be used instead of simple syrup for a sweeter taste

Explore all drinks starting with W here

And of course - twists🍹

Maple Windsor

  • Substitute simple syrup with maple syrup for a Canadian twist. The rich sweetness of maple will complement the whiskey's notes and add a forest-like aroma. Expect a cozier, more autumnal drink fitting for a log cabin evening.

Spiced Windsor

  • Add a cinnamon stick during the stirring process, and a pinch of ground nutmeg with the bitters. This will bring a warm spiciness, perfect for colder months, turning the Windsor into a holiday hug in a glass.

Windsor Sour

  • Increase lemon juice to 0.75 oz and add a frothy top by shaking the cocktail with an egg white. The result is a creamier texture with a bright, tangy flavor. This twist is like putting a zesty sweater on your drink!

In case you forgot basics how to make Windsor

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

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

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

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 Windsor

What is the best time to enjoy the Windsor Cocktail?

The Windsor Cocktail is perfect for a late evening aperitif or at social gatherings due to its sophisticated taste and balanced complexity.

Why is the Windsor Cocktail also known as the 'Canadian Manhattan'?

The Windsor Cocktail is often compared to the Manhattan due to similarities in the preparation method and the use of whiskey. However, its unique twist with lemon juice gives it its distinct identity.

Can I prepare the Windsor Cocktail in batches?

Yes, you can prepare Windsor Cocktail in batches. However, for the best taste and quality, it is recommended to make each cocktail fresh.

Does the type of whiskey significantly alter the taste of the Windsor Cocktail?

Yes, the type of whiskey used can influence its taste. Canadian whiskey is typically smooth and light-bodied, while bourbon tends to be fuller with notes of vanilla. Rye whiskey can add spiciness to the drink.

How can I get the Windsor Cocktail if I don't drink alcohol?

You can enjoy a non-alcoholic version of Windsor Cocktail. Replace the whiskey with non-alcoholic whiskey or simple syrup to taste.

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