It can sometimes be difficult to make a good rye cocktail because rye whiskey is so spicy and can throw off the balance of a drink. This complex drink successfully combines sweet, spicy, herbal, and sour flavors.
Maple Rye Sour
2 oz. Rye whiskey
½ oz. Lemon juice
½ oz. Orange juice
¼ oz. Maple syrup
¼ oz. Amaro
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake to combine and chill. Strain into a lowball glass.
The rye whiskey tickles the tip of the tongue followed by the smooth sweetness of maple and the sour fruit juices mid-palate. The amaro adds an herbal, bitter roundness to the drink. We didn’t have the specific type of amaro called for, but we really like the homemade version that a friend made. This cocktail is delicious and one we’ll return to often (when we drink rye instead of bourbon).
If you haven’t noticed, we like to put bourbon in our ice cream (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C). Even though it’s January in New England, which means temperatures range from single digits to mid-thirties Fahrenheit, this ice cream is so yummy the cold couldn’t stop us from eating it. Our recipe is adapted from this maple syrup ice cream at Anh’s Food Blog.
Maple Bourbon Ice Cream
1 cup milk(we used 2%)
1 cup pure maple syrup
⅛ tsp. salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 oz. bourbon
In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Mix in maple syrup, bourbon, and salt, and stir until the syrup mixes. Stir in the cream. Let mixture cool in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, make the ice cream with your ice cream maker. Garnish with a tiny pinch of espresso sugar.
This is a very rich dessert, mostly because I actually messed it up. I added one cup of maple syrup instead of half a cup, as the original recipe suggests. Luckily, it’s still extremely tasty. It’s not surprising, because bourbon and maple flavors go together well. We recommend using half a cup of syrup, but either way, it will be delicious. The most important part is that you use real maple syrup. Also, bourbon is important because it’s bourbon.
Sometimes Sunday comes around and the only thing to do is make waffles and drink mimosas. When an emergency of this sort arises, it’s of the severest importance that some high quality maple syrup is on hand (along with freshly squeezed orange juice and good champagne, duh). BLiS Bourbon Barrel Natural maple syrup had been on our wishlist for a while, and we were lucky enough to find some on a recent shopping trip.
The first thing we noticed about BLiS is (obviously) its packaging design and bottle. Not only is it a simple and classic design, but the red wax top and maple leaf imprint seem to pay homage to Maker’s Mark, easily one of the most recognizable bourbon brands around. We have no idea if that’s on purpose or a hint at where their barrels come from. All we know is that the bottle says it’s “aged several months in 12-18-year-old single barrel bourbon casks.” This aging process creates a maple syrup with a light hint of vanilla flavor and a mellower, smoother sweetness than most pure maple syrups. It even paired well with the homemade fig and cherry compote with ginger sauce that Rachel prepared for brunch.
While the BLiS syrup was tasty, if you’re looking for a stronger bourbon flavor in your syrup, we suggest the Noble Bourbon Maple Syrup. Noble sneaks a bit of bourbon into the syrup during the aging process to make the spirit more evident, whereas the barrel notes of BLiS are more background details. It’s all a matter of preference since both are yummy.
It’s been a very hot week in Boston, so we were looking for a cold, refreshing drink to make when we ran across this recipe by the always wonderful Smitten Kitchen. It just so happened that we’ve had a nip of Vermont maple syrup sitting in the pantry for ages and this presented the perfect opportunity to use it.
Bourbon Maple Lemonade
3/4 cup lemon juice, from about 6 lemons
2 cups water
1/4 cup Vermont maple syrup
Juice the lemons and strain the juice into a pitcher. Add the water and maple syrup and stir until well blended. Add ice to the pitcher. Fill a glass at least halfway with ice and add 1.5 ounces of bourbon (or to taste). Fill with lemonade and stir to combine. Slap a sprig of mint against your palm to release its aroma and garnish with it.
This makes enough lemonade for four glasses. I prefer to mix the bourbon glass by glass so that you can store the lemonade without bourbon in it. Super fresh lemonade is the only kind of lemonade I will drink, and the addition of maple syrup adds a welcome complexity to the flavors. We haven’t been shy about how much we love maple and bourbon together, and this iteration is no different. The flavors blend so well, and the mint aroma as you’re drinking adds an extra freshness.
We are not always walking around with glasses of bourbon in hand, though this blog may leave you with another impression, but we do find it easy to incorporate bourbon into many areas of our normal eating habits. Butternut squash soup is one of my favorite cold-weather dishes to make, and since my go-to recipe calls for bacon bits, I took the opportunity to add bourbon to the mix too.
The final product is an earthy, tangy soup complemented nicely by the subtly sweet bourbon and maple flavors in the bacon. A bonus of this recipe is that it allows me to organize the chopped ingredients neatly. I am one of those clean-as-I-go cooks; a messy kitchen makes me crazy.
To make bourbon maple bacon, simply lay out raw bacon on a Silpat mat-lined baking sheet (it’s best to use one with a bit of an edge on it to contain the grease) and drizzle a bit of bourbon maple syrup on each slice. Then bake at 375° for 30 to 40 minutes, or until crispy. Note: it is important to put the bacon into a cold oven and let it rise to temperature with the oven, otherwise it won’t turn out crispy.
Put four pieces of the cooked bacon into the refrigerator to chill. When your soup is ready, crumble a bit of the bacon on the top. This is comfort food at its finest.
If you have a bourbon lover in your life, Noble’s Tonic 01: Tuthilltown Bourbon Barrel-Matured Maple Syrup makes a good gift. We used it recently to top lemon sour cream waffles, and its rich flavor impressed us because it tastes quite a bit like bourbon, but not so much so that you wouldn’t want it for breakfast. On the contrary, this is precisely what we want for breakfast pretty much every day now. (Could be a problem…)
It is made with maple syrup from Quebec, which then gets aged in bourbon barrels at Tuthilltown Spirits in New York, where they also sneak in a touch of raw bourbon. Pure delight.
We were attracted by the packaging design. Simplicity gets us every time, and the little wax drip from the cork is charming. Unfortunately, the wax was annoyingly difficult to remove in order to actually pull the cork out, and the second time we used the syrup, the cork was wouldn’t come out because it was, presumably, being held in with sticky syrup. We ended up having to use a corkscrew on it because the plastic cap came unattached from the cork when we were pulling on it. (This was a serious battle of wills, you guys.)
One star off for the cork issues, but the taste and quality of the syrup were worth the struggle.
This week has somehow become “Maple Bourbon Week” here on There Will Be Bourbon. Happy accident, because maple and bourbon are great friends. In fact, I bet maple syrup is a welcome guest any time bourbon is hanging out with chocolate or iced tea. (Bourbon apparently has amazing friends.) Here’s a simple recipe to make a delicious pork meal:
Maple Bourbon Pork Loin:
(adapted from Ben’s Sugar Shack)
2 oz. bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace)
1 oz. molasses syrup (which I made here)
8 oz. real maple syrup
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1½ lb. pork tenderloin
In a cast iron dutch oven (or something similar), heat bourbon to burn off the alcohol. You can light it on fire, but do it safely, of course. The flame should go out once the alcohol is gone. Turn to low heat, add molasses, syrup, and brown sugar, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Once the glaze has cooled a bit, pour over pork loin. Let pork marinate for at least an hour.
Once you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°. Put pork and glaze back in the dutch oven, cover, and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until pork is just cooked through. Slice and serve, topping the pork with a healthy spoonful of the warm glaze.
The result is a sticky, sweet, bourbony piece of pork. Serve with some veggies and a delicious slice of homemade cornbread.
We’ve been on a bit of a bourbon-maple kick lately. I continued the trend by making bourbon maple roasted vegetables. I based it on this but you can pretty much just roast whatever vegetables you want. I chose carrots and brussels sprouts, and I blanched the brussels sprouts prior to roasting.
Roasting vegetables is the easiest thing in the world—cut ‘em up; throw on some salt, pepper, and olive oil; mix it all up; and toss it in the oven for a while. For this recipe, wait until the veggies have about 10 minutes left to cook then mix together ¼ cup maple syrup (I used grade A dark amber from Vermont) and ¼ cup bourbon (I used Black Maple Hill because of the name mostly) and simmer on the stove until it reduces considerably. Take the veggies out of the oven and pour the syrup mixture over the top. Stir it around and throw it back in the oven for a couple minutes.
This was a satisfying autumn evening side dish. I accidentally roasted it for too long, so a few of the brussels sprouts were slightly mushy. For those of you following this recipe (using the word loosely) at home, “too long” means I left them at 400° for 45 minutes. So…try 350° and/or take it out sooner. Normally I’m the queen of precision, but roasting vegetables is a really loosey goosey operation for me. As long as you have warm, soft vegetables at the end, it will taste delicious. Especially if you finish with a glaze of bourbon and maple syrup.
Before this weekend, I’d never had chicken & waffles before. Crazy, right? I mean, I love fried chicken and I love waffles. Who doesn’t? Crazy people, of course. I’ve also been curious about bourbon maple syrup, since I love maple syrup, and we already know bourbon and syrup are a great combination. So in the name of research, Rachel and I got some friends and said, “Hey! You guys! Meet us at Tupelo for brunch! They got chicken and they got waffles!”
This is the plate of heaven that was presented to me. Not pictured is a delicious bowl of cheddar grits, which I ordered despite knowing this would fill me up BECAUSE BRUNCH THAT’S WHY! The chicken was fried chicken deliciousness, the waffle was waffley tastytimes, and the bourbon maple syrup was perfect. The bourbon flavor really stood out. At one point, one of our friends said the bourbon flavor reminded him that he was still hungover. I took this as a good sign, because who doesn’t like a little bourbon flavor with their brunch? CRAZY PEOPLE, of course!