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Robb Report Vices

From Breakfast to the Bar

Maple syrup has long been a North American treasure—it was promoted by Quakers and abolitionists as an alternative to the slave-produced cane sugar from the West Indies. In fact, Thomas Jefferson started his own maple plantation at Monticello in 1791. The maple-syrup industry, however, didn’t materialize until the Civil War. These days, there are many brands of pure maple syrup on the market, but one in particular has changed how we think about the nectar.

Crown Maple, a small-batch craft syrup produced by Madava Farms in New York’s Hudson Valley, is delicate in texture, yet bold and complex in flavor. Three expressions are available: Light Amber (highlighted by flavors of vanilla bean and brown butter), Medium Amber (which delivers hints of gingerbread and roasted chestnuts), and Dark Amber (which offers profound notes of freshly ground espresso).

From a barbecue glaze to an ice-cream topping, a coffee sweetener to a meat marinade, the uses for such craft syrups are widespread; they are certainly much more than a breakfast condiment. Our favorite application, however, requires a cocktail shaker, ice cubes, and a few choice spirits. All three expressions serve as an interesting replacement for simple syrup; the bottles in which they’re packaged even fit right in on the bar.

For an easily executable cocktail that features these artisan syrups, try the following recipe offered by Nicole Trzaska, the bartender at the Liberty NYC in Midtown Manhattan.

Crown Maple Leaf

1½ oz. Maker’s 46
¾ oz. Crown Maple Medium Amber syrup
¾ oz. lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a mint leaf and a piece of candied ginger.

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