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Some folks believe that when the weather heats up, it’s time to put the brown spirits away and focus on gin, tequila and vodka for your summertime mixology. Well, those people are sorely mistaken, because whisky in all its shapes and forms — Canadian, bourbon, rye, Irish, Scotch — can and should be an important part in a variety of refreshing cocktails. And this storied spirit has never been more popular.

American bourbon sales have done booming business over the past few years, but Canadian whisky has been quietly roaring ahead. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (or DISCUS), in 2014 Canadian whisky generated over $1.7 billion in sales revenue in the United States alone. That’s huge. And brands like Crown Royal, which recently unveiled two new “expressions” (read: varieties) — Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye and Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel — are reaping the benefits of this surging popularity.

Whisky often seems intimidating to the novice drinker, who fear that it’s going to be too harsh or kick you in the teeth with its high alcohol content. For whatever reason, we associate whisky with a lumberjack finishing his long day with a glass of the alcohol straight,  no ice. Our close-minded (and bizarre) fantasies about who should drink whisky are obviously misinformed.

With its complex flavors, woody nose and rich taste, quality whisky can and should be enjoyed all year long, on its own or as part of a mixed drink. Crown Royal “Master of Whisky” Tom Turner insists that we’re “witnessing a recent cocktail resurgence, with craft cocktails becoming more and more unique.”

About those cocktails…of course, classics like the Old-Fashioned or Manhattan are reliable standbys and perfectly complement the flavor of a good whisky, but there’s a whole new world out there for whisky cocktails — and none of them have to do with combining a packet of sour mix and an artificial maraschino cherry to make a syrupy-sweet whisky sour. Here’s a few recipes for you to enjoy this summer, hanging out poolside in the blazing sun, or indoors with the A/C on, binge-watching your favourite series.

Crown Buck (courtesy of Brett Hughes at NYC’s Saxon + Parole)

  • 1.3 oz. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
  • 0.5 oz. lime juice
  • Dash of fresh ginger juice
  • Four mint springs
Crown Royal

Crown Royal Press

  • 1.5 oz. Crown Royal Deluxe Whisky
  • 3 dashes bitters
  • 2 squeezed lemon wedges
  • 1 lemon wedge for garnish
  • 1 splash lemon-lime soda
Crown Royal

Crownberry Apple

  • 1.5 oz. Crown Royal Regal Apple Flavored Whisky
  • 4 oz. cranberry juice
Maker's Mark

Maker’s Mark Summer Breeze

  • 1-1/4 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon
  • DeKuyper Orange Curacao Liqueur
  • Ginger ale
  • Orange wedge for garnish
Canadian Club

Mango Smash (via Cocktailenthusiast.com)

  • 1 1/2 parts Canadian Club Reserve 10 year
  • 3 chunks fresh mango
  • 1 orange slice
  • 2 sugar cubes
  • 2-3 dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Soda water

So, have we converted you into a whisky lover yet?