The Draft Dodger

I would have written sooner, only summer got in the way. But now that all those white shoes have been carefully and mercifully put away for the year, I feel it’s safe to return to normal life.

I spent a couple of weeks in British Columbia last month, which was precisely what I needed to be doing.

I ate tater tots on Granville Island with my friend Thrasso. I bought chocolates from my favorite Canadian chocolatière, Rachel Sawatzky of Cocoa Nymph. I got my exercise kayaking around Indian Arm and carrying refrigerators up from basements in Kitsilano. I cooked for old friends and new friends. I spent quality time with my god-daughters. I learned the value of Limited Liability Partnerships playing Monopoly. I fell into a waterfall because its name suggested I do so and I limped about happily for the rest of my vacation.

Waterfall in which I waterfell.

And I ate and drank entirely too much.

But that’s what holidays are for, aren’t they?

I had the good fortune of receiving an invitation to spend nearly a week on a very large boat by my friend Craig’s parents, who took excellent care of me. I was spoiled rotten by a new friend named Kathy, who informed Craig, his wife Shannon, and me that it would be most helpful if we obliged our hosts by consuming as much of the liquor as possible during our stay to avoid customs taxes upon their return to the United States.

So I did what any conscientious boating guest would do: I attempted to drink Canada dry.

Please don’t worry about my liver. I protected it by consuming copious amounts of bacon, home-made french fries, and crab cakes caught in the harbor by specially designed crab cake traps.

The gin found its way into martinis and muddled, cucumber-y concoctions; the rum became one with simple syrup and mint; and the scotch found itself sharing a small room with club soda.

But my favorite, or since we were in Canada, favourite alcoholic combination was by far what we did with the bourbon.

It was Craig’s brother’s idea really, which doesn’t surprise me at all, given the fact that I first got to know him under an assumed name (his) after randomly meeting him in a bar a hundred miles from home which we were both too young to have entered legally. He bought me shot after shot of bourbon in what I assumed to be a fraternal act of hazing. I have not touched Wild Turkey since that day, but I did prove that I could handle my Kentucky mash.

And now, thanks to him, I know another way to handle it.

Even though I hastily declared it my “drink of the summer”, I know in my heart of bourbon-loving hearts that it’s going to taste even better when the weather turns cold.

The Draft Dodger

Randy mentioned the maple syrup, Marty and Janet supplied the location (and liquor), and Craig named it. I can therefore state quite literally that I owe the entire Rosa family credit for the creation of this drink.

Why call it a Draft Dodger*? Why on earth not? We were on holiday in Canada, avoiding our day-to-day active American duties. It’s what I imagine the true draft dodgers of the Vietnam War might drink when they got a little homesick. There is nothing more American as bourbon, alcoholically speaking, and the maple syrup is a nice way of acknowledging the place which gave them asylum. It’s the best of both worlds, if you ask me.

And it’s absurdly easy to concoct.

Makes one generous drink for the homesick or the merely vacationing.


• 3 ounces of Kentucky bourbon
• 1 ounce of Canadian maple syrup (Vermont syrup may also be used, but that rather defeats the point.)
• A splash of club soda. Canada Dry is the most appropriate choice.


Pour bourbon and maple syrup into a tumbler or highball glass. Stir well. Add ice and top off with a splash of club soda. No garnish. You’re done.

Drink immediately in the quiet of a Canadian fjord interrupted only by the sound of harbour seals, red-headed mergansers, and a family teasing you because you happened to refer to their boat as a yacht.

* There are other drinks in this world called The Draft Dodger, but none of them make any sense to me. Tequila? Rum? I don’t think so. Who ever heard of people fleeing to Jamaica and Mexico to avoid the draft? Then again, it’s warmer there, so they might be on to something.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Michael Procopio

I write about food and am very fond of Edward Gorey. And gin.
This entry was posted in Liquids and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to The Draft Dodger

  1. Jay Floyd says:

    I’m just pleased to know that maple syrup has an institute. I always knew there was more to it.

  2. Alanna says:

    This drink sounds delicious – is it noon yet? A friend of mine infuses bourbon with bacon and makes manhattans with it, vermouth, and a bit of maple syrup. The Draft Dodger sounds like a quicker fix, and the name is fantastic.

    BC is indeed an amazing place. My sweetie and I took a road trip there from SF a few years ago, and were quite smitten with the waterfalls, pristine campgrounds, and excellent seafood. Glad you survived the waterfall!

    I brought back an alcoholic souvenir this summer, too – the Dark and Stormy, which I first sampled in Nantucket last month, and have been since making a habit of. Cheers 🙂

    • ginny says:

      Bourbon + Canada Dry ginger ale + turducken (not my idea) was once a recipe for holiday disaster in my house. This sounds better, I might be ready to try it this year. Vancouver was one of my all time favorite destinations, sounds like you really enjoyed yourself 🙂

      • Ginny–I suppose everyone must experiment with the turducken at one point in his or her Holidaytime culinary life. I’m just grateful that it was prepared for me. Any recipe starting of with t-u-r-d should be a warning.

        And I’m a little bit in love with Vancouver, too.

    • Alanna– I am an enormous fan of bacon, but I draw the line at putting it into drinks. I’ve had one too many bad experiences with that.

      Dark & Stormys are dreamy. I just can’t seem to find any Gosling’s around here. I think it might be worth the trip to Nantucket. Or Bermuda, if I’m ever feeling flush.

      • Alanna says:

        Definitely dreamy. I picked up some Gosling’s at the BevMo on Bayshore in SF, and they have Barritt’s ginger beer too (though I prefer the spicy stuff from Ginger People, whose logo happens to be a ginger root riding on the back of a tiger – bad ass). I would gladly make you one! : )

  3. mary says:

    I am so glad you’re back. It’s nice to hear you had such a great holiday but I missed your blog!

  4. I couldn’t wait to try this and am drinking it as I write. The bourbon plays well the maple syrup. (I’m sorry to say, though, that I had to go with the Whole Foods Organic variety that I had in my fridge.) It’s delicious and sophisticated–not too sweet, a little fizzy, a lot bourbon-y with a sexy look in my recently procured low-ball glasses. I feel like such a grown-up. Well done!

    • Susan– This may very well be the first time anyone has ever suggested that I have helped them to feel like a grown up.

      I’m glad you like the drink! It’s ridiculously simple, isn’t it?

  5. Rosemary says:

    My brother-in-law made a drink similar to this called a Habitant. I can’t remember the other ingredient, maybe triple sec? Ever hear of this? I’d like the recipe if you do. Thanks

  6. How clever to share your drink of the summer with us after summer is all over. I suspect you are right that it will be even better in cold climates because Bourbon is just that way. Your NEXT one is always going to be better. A Habitat, btw, is nearly the same but with a dash of lemon or lime juice…or so says my cocktail bible. ..and it is a holy book that doesn’t lie.

    • Trevor– I didn’t realize summer was happening until it was almost over. It’s a San Francisco thing. It took leaving the country to fully appreciate the season.

      Habitat. Hmmm. I like things less complicated because I’m complicated enough already.

  7. If I were drinking, I’d be drinking this. Thanks for the recipe and for the update on where you’ve been. I’ve been missing you!

  8. I really like maple syrup, but I’ve never tried it before in a drink. Maybe tonight…

    • Give it a whirl and let me know how you like it. Considering your affinity for maple syrup, you may want to just pour a glassful and put a tiny shot of bourbon into it. It is something I would not rule out myself.

  9. Susan says:

    Do you mean a glassful of maple syrup?

  10. Michelle says:

    I’m totally behind this, both as a Kentucky girl and a bourbon drinker, but I do have to request that this be made with Ezra Brooks bourbon. You’ll never dodge the draft faster.

Leave a Reply to Michael Procopio Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook