One of my passions is maple syrup. I'm not speaking of the thin grade A variety of maple syrup, I'm hoping that you know what grade B means. In case you don't, grade B is the thick, dark byproduct of making the lighter (less flavorful) maple syrup. I seek out this product and hope you will too. It has a rustic, smoky flavor that is not at all sugar forward, although the terroir is pure maple.
There is a restaurant in New York City, located down in Greenwich Village that I particularly admire. The name of this boite is Minetta Tavern. I've been fortunate to dine here a couple of times- and each time I order a cocktail that is similar in nature to the Red's Maple Sap Cocktail. I suppose the similarity is the use of a brown liquor such as Bourbon. In the case of Red's Maple Sap cocktail, I've twisted it up a bit.
Minetta Tavern is an historic room, serving classic cocktails, aged prime beef, succulent- just plucked from the ocean seafood and masterful renditions of classic French Bistro/American Classic cuisine with a twist. The twist is the quality of the service along with a bustling dining room and and historic, only in New York- brilliant in my eye- experience in dining.
If you find yourself in NYC, go in for a cocktail and try their maple leaf Sazerac. The Maple Leaf Sazerac uses a brown liquor like Bourbon or Rye. It requires the application of Absinthe, or an Absinthe wash.
But that is the only similarity.
Mine takes a dangerous, twisted path through all realm of reason. In fact, you could say that after several of these cocktails you should consider carrying a letter of apology in your pocket. Why in your pocket?
You keep this note in your pocket so that when you are found wandering the streets of Greenwich Village at night, stark raving mad, nearly all your wrongs can be righted through that little note. In fact you might even make a new friend or two. I'm just mentioning this once. This cocktail is so delicious, so sumptuous, that after three, you'll want three more- and that's where the trouble will start.
Red lived in Down East Maine and made some "wicked- fine" maple syrup from a couple of maple trees that survived the freezing cold winters on an island off the coast of Maine. He gave me some of this almost pitch black syrup once and the liquid memories live on today in my palate.
I created this cocktail in his memory- and the memory of the smoky elixir.
Recently I discovered a flavor driven- Rye Whisky from Canada. The product is named Tap 357. It's so named for the Cask Aged Blended Rye Whisky- aged at least 3 and up to 5 years in Oak. Real Maple syrup gets added to the aging Rye and a very Northern spirit of spring is now in this drink.
I think that this liquor is quite versatile and hauntingly delicious. I am alternating with Spicebox *Spiced Rye Whisky* and cannot decide which Rye I prefer- I think mixed together they are best with a Ginger Beer.
A bit of spice with a bit of maple. Hmmmm this is an idea!
Lucid Absinthe makes a statement in this cocktail as well. Lucid rolls in at a healthy 62% by volume so the kick you feel the next day may explain that hand-written, stained, crumpled note in your pocket.
Always mix Lucid. Never, ever drink it straight. Please. 62% alcohol by volume is nothing to mess with.
I also added about 3 Tablespoons of Coconut water to the glass. It just works better than just plain water.
Red's Maple Sap Cocktail
Ingredients for two quite rousing cocktails or one absolute mind eraser.
(Don't forget to bring your note!)
2 shots Tap 357
1 Shot Lucid Absinthe
2 Oz. Coconut Water
Add ice to a shaker 1/4 fill...
Add Coconut Water
Shake until shaker gets frosty.. You'll know when to stop shaking!
Strain into a short glass with a couple cubes of coconut water ice. (Freeze un-sweetened coconut water in an ice cube tray overnight)
Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and three drops of Bitter End Thai Bitters