Montreal Cocktail

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

The Montreal cocktail is a bittersweet, stirred apéritif cocktail made with Aperol, Gin, Rye Whisky, and French Gentian liqueur. A group of bartenders invented the drink to celebrate Montreal's 375th birthday.
Montreal cocktail

The Montreal cocktail is a relatively new creation, yet, not the perfect choice if you prefer your drink sweet and fruity. It consists of four ingredients, used in equal parts: a boozy combination of Canadian Rye Whisky, Dry Gin, Gentian liqueur, and Aperol.

Unlike most other cocktail recipes, it wasn't invented by just one bartender. Instead, a group of 15 bartenders from Montreal worked together to create this official cocktail for their city.

Learn more about the origin of the cocktail, its ingredients, and how you can make it at home.

History of the Montreal cocktail

The Montreal cocktail was created only a few years ago, in the summer of 2017. In that year, the city of Montreal turned 375. And to celebrate this occasion, a group of bartenders worked on a cocktail recipe.

The leader of the initiative was Kevin Demers, owner of a speakeasy bar in Montreal called the Coldroom. The other members of the group (in alphabetical order) were:

Brynley Leach, Charles Landry, Chris Natale, Drahos Chytry, Fabien Maillard, Graham Warner, Hugo Dallaire, Jason Griffin, Jean-Maxime Giguere, Kate Boushel, Philippe Haman, Sabrina Mailhot, Sam Dalcourt, and Tony Galdes.

tasty Montreal cocktail

The goal was to create a recipe that reflects the city's roots. And that's indeed what we can see in the final drink. Canadian Rye Whisky is paired with London Dry Gin and Gentian liqueur.

The Gin represents the English influence, and the Gentian liqueur stands for the French. To marry these different flavors together, Aperol is added to the mix.

Since 2017, the cocktail is also the official drink of the city, and you can order it in many cocktail bars across Montreal

Taste of the Montreal cocktail

The Montreal cocktail is a perfectly balanced drink. It's boozy with slightly bitter notes and hints of sweetness. Aperol and Suze do an excellent job of adding complexity while marrying the different flavors.

The combination of London Dry Gin and Rye Whiskey is unusual but works remarkably well in combination with Suze (Gentian liqueur) and Aperol. In fact, the Montreal cocktail is one of the best ways to introduce people to Suze.


Montreal cocktail with garnish

Canadian Whisky in the Montreal cocktail

In most cases, Canadian Whisky is a blended Whisky made from multi-grains. 

At one point, Canadian distillers began adding small amounts of flavorful rye to their mash bills. People came to like it and started demanding the new rye-flavored products. 

Over time, people started referring to this new product simply as Rye. Therefore, the terms Canadian Whisky and Rye Whisky described the same thing. -Even though the spirit was made with only a small amount of rye grains.

Ultimately, both terms are now legally the same thing as the country of Canada defined them as synonymous - within its borders, of course. Outside of Canada, the two are not interchangeable.

What is Suze?

Suze is a popular representative of French Gentian liqueurs with a bold and distinct taste. The flavor is very vegetal and floral with notes of citrus fruits and Pomelo.

Many people find the taste of Suze too dominant and unusual at first. If you try it neat and also feel that the taste is too unfamiliar, try it in this Montreal cocktail recipe or a White Negroni.

Montreal cocktail

Montreal cocktail

The official cocktail of the city of Montreal is a boozy and sophisticated stirred drink.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: aperol, Gin, suze, Whisky
Servings: 1
Calories: 188kcal
Cost: $3.35


  • 1 Jigger
  • 1 Bar spoon
  • 1 Mixing glass


  • 0.75 oz London Dry Gin
  • 0.75 oz Canadian Rye Whisky
  • 0.75 oz Suze
  • 0.75 oz Aperol


  • Add all ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice.
    0.75 oz London Dry Gin, 0.75 oz Canadian Rye Whisky, 0.75 oz Suze, 0.75 oz Aperol
  • Stir until well-chilled and strain into a chilled Coupe or Nick & Nora glass.
  • Garnish with grapefruit or orange peel.


Serving: 3.25ozCalories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 10.1gProtein: 0.05gSodium: 0.48mgPotassium: 0.24mgSugar: 9.86g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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