Make Mine Maple

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March 1st, 2011 Original Article

Maple syrup might make you think of fall. Or pancakes. But sugaring season—that’s when maple trees are tapped for their sap—begins right around now. And despite its breakfast-y nature, this amber-colored goodness has been used to sweeten cocktails since the olden days. Like simple syrup (sugar dissolved in water), maple balances out the sour elements of a drink that contains citrus. Unlike simple syrup, it also delivers a caramel-like depth and flavor.

It blends well with brown spirits—try adding it to any shaken whiskey drink—and, surprisingly, marries nicely with funkier tasting Agricole rums like those that come from Martinique. Here are three classic recipes to try. Just be sure to use 100% maple syrup and save the supermarket plastic bottle stuff for the pancakes.

Drink Recipes

The Maple Leaf

The most famous maple-syrup cocktail. The original recipe calls for Canadian whiskey, but we like it better with a good ol’ American rye (or even a bourbon).

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • ¾ ounce maple syrup
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • Shake with ice and strain into a glass over ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Jack Rabbit Cocktail

A bit autumnal, yes, but fall is a beautiful time of year, isn’t it? If you can’t find apple jack, try it with apple brandy.

  • 2 ounces apple jack
  • ½ ounce maple syrup
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • Shake with ice and strain. Garnish with an apple wedge.

Wedding Night

An unlikely combination: The maple syrup rounds out the grassy, farm-like qualities of Agricole rum (which is made from fresh sugar cane as opposed to molasses), rather than hiding it.

  • 2 ounces Martinique
  • Agricole rum
  • 1 ounce maple syrup
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • Shake with ice and strain.

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