Maple Syrup Is The Perfect Pairing For Bourbon Cocktails

Bourbon old fashioned and maple syrup
Bourbon old fashioned and maple syrup - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

While delicious when enjoyed neat, bourbon also makes for a terrific cocktail base. Its robust character won't be overwhelmed by other ingredients, all the while showcasing a delicious barrel character, hints of spice, and an underlying sweetness. Bourbon cocktail recipes come in a range of forms, with drinks like the classic Boulevardier and Paper Plane emerging as especially iconic modern renditions.

There's also room for experimentation with the spirit, with sugar a terrific launching point for riffs. After all, the liquor's sweet flavor is a central quality, so there's synergy potential in this cornerstone flavor. A terrific candidate for such exploration is maple syrup.

The sweetener's delightfully rich, caramel and nutty flavor is a perfect pairing with bourbon. The syrup offers far more complexity than regular sugar, and there's even textural enhancement, with the syrup lending a silky, buttery undertone. Since both derive flavor from wood, it's a complement that's natural -- yet surprising. Plus, maple syrup already comes in liquid form, so it won't require additional prep for the shaker. Just make sure to select other ingredients carefully, as bourbon and maple syrup are a powerful flavor combo.

Read more: The 27 Best Bourbon Brands, Ranked

Integrate Maple Syrup To Cocktails For A More Complex Taste And Texture

Bourbon cocktail with maple syrup.
Bourbon cocktail with maple syrup. - Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock

Before diving into shaking or mixing, it's necessary to carefully select the respective maple syrup and bourbon types. For the most aromatic maple flavors, reach for a darker grade of syrup, which will also lend the drink more body. The choice of bourbon is more malleable, but an all-around expression like a bottle of Buffalo Trace or Wild Turkey 101 is always a great starting point.

With all the extensive Old Fashioned variations, the cocktail is an ideal launching point for maple syrup experimentation. A famous rendition called the Benton's Old Fashioned combines fat-washed bourbon with the syrup for an ultimately decadent sip. Or keep it more straightforward by melding lemon and bitters alongside the combo for a fall-themed Old Fashioned.

Lemon does mix seamlessly in a maple-bourbon drink, which is showcased in livelier fashion when served as a Bourbon Smash. The cocktail highlights the more floral notes of the pairing alongside orange, lemon juice, and bitters, all diluted in seltzer and served over ice. Plus, there's even room for a take on the classic Frothy Whiskey Sour, perhaps with some ginger syrup to balance out the sweetness. Maple syrup melds well into just about any bourbon formula. Just be sure to let it shine rather than use it as a simple sweetening swap.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.