If you're looking for a cocktail on these cold chilly nights that just screams sweet and warm, then look not further than the Maple Manhattan.
One Little Change Has a Big Impact
Now that the weather has turned chilly, it's the perfect time to try this variation on the classic Manhattan cocktail. No one seems to be quite sure where this variation started. I like to think it was created by a bartender at one of the small ski lodges off the slopes in Vermont. I've read that it may have started at The 21 Club in New York, but who really knows?
Many recipes call for rye whiskey, but I prefer to stick pretty close to the original recipe and use Bourbon. But I do slightly change things up by calling for a spicy Bourbon, such as a barrel-strength Maker's Mark rather than my normal sweet, wheated Bourbon.
What Is Maple Syrup?
Maple syrup is made from the tree sap of the sugar maple and various other maple trees. When we lived in the midwest, our house sat on a couple of acres in a forest that had many sugar maples. One of our neighbors used to tap the trees in our little area by drilling holes in them and attaching plastic tubing that drained the sap into small barrels. Once he'd collected enough, he would then spend a day boiling it down in his backyard to form the syrup. Since we always let him tap our trees, he'd give us some free bottles of it. Now that live in LA, we just buy it at the store like everybody else -- and it's pricey!
Our friends to the north in Canada are the world's leading producers of maple syrup, and developed a grading system that we have adopted here in the US. It can be a bit confusing, but try to purchase a Grade A Light Amber for a quality tasting syrup. Be sure to choose genuine maple syrup and not maple flavored pancake syrup -- they are not the same thing. The maple flavored syrup is basically a sugar syrup with artificial flavoring in it. It's much less expensive and has an inferior taste to the real thing.
Ingredients for a Maple Manhattan
If you are a regular Manhattan drinker, you probably already have everything you need to make this one.
- Sweet vermouth
- Maple syrup
As you can see, it is not that different from a typical mid century classic cocktail.
Tips for Success
It's hard to go wrong with a classic, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Use a quality Bourbon when mixing cocktails. Even with a sweet syrup, a poor spirit will shine through and turn your cocktail into a harsh-tasting near-miss.
- Yes, you can use a higher graded maple syrup. It will cost more, but it will have even better flavor.
Which do you prefer in your Maple Manhattan, rye or Bourbon?
A Maple Manhattan is Sweet Take on a Classic Cocktail
- 1 jigger Bourbon
- ½ Ounce Sweet Vermouth
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 1-2 Luxardo Cherries
- Add one scoop of fresh ice to a cocktail shaker
- Pour in all ingredients
- Shake for about 20 seconds and then strain into a cocktail or coupe glass
- Garnish with a Luxardo Cherry