The Maple Bourbon Smash. A Spring Cocktail with a Hint of New England

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I spent half of my childhood in Vermont and one of my fondest memories is of maple syrup. After all, that’s where the good stuff comes from.

Between February and April, all across Vermont and northern New England, you will see buckets hanging from many, if not most, of the region’s iconic Sugar Maple trees. Tapping the sap is a time-honored late-Winter, early-Spring tradition, where farmers harvest the precious clear liquid in order to boil it down to amber syrupy perfection. But here’s the crazy part. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup!

I tried it once. Took half a day and because I only collected about a quart of sap, I ended up with barely enough syrup for one stack of pancakes.

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Anyway, the maple snap of this delicious cocktail always brings me right back to Vermont, which is wonderful. Add the little hint of smoke and it makes it a perfect winter drink. However, nostalgia aside, I hardily recommend just buying the maple syrup at the supermarket – unless you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, a boatload of buckets and a maple forest handy.

The Maple Bourbon Smash

What’s in it, pray tell?

  • 2 oz. Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Maple syrup
  • 2 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Lemon twist to garnish
  • 1 Drop liquid smoke

How do I craft this smoky concoction?

1.)  Pour the bourbon (top shelf booze really makes a difference), maple syrup (I prefer real Vermont Grade B), lemon juice, and one drop of liquid smoke into a shaker filled with ice.

2.)  Shake it like a madman, then strain into a double old-fashioned glass with ice.

3.)  Garnish with a lemon twist. (Makes one drink.)

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David Pitlik is a corporate writer by day, a comedy writer from a previous life, and a lover of great food, wonderful drink and sparkling banter with good friends.



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