Not that I ever need a reason for a cocktail, but the cool weather that comes along in fall always makes me feel like a good cocktail. And a maple bourbon cocktail is fun fall new take on an old fashioned, made with maple syrup.
Bourbon by itself doesn't really interest me, but adding fun things to it to make a fancy cocktail, and well now you've got me. I don't just use it for maple bourbon cocktails either, this apple bourbon cocktail is also on repeat in the fall and winter.
Does maple syrup work in cocktails?
Absolutely. Honestly, I don't find too many instances where maple syrup doesn't work. ANd paired with the rich, nutty warm flavor of bourbon and a touch of orange bitter, you've got yourself a winner.
Why is it called an old fashioned?
Old fashioned is a short name for old fashioned stye whiskey cocktail, a drink that originated in the 1800s and has been revamped into what we now know as an old fashioned
Ultimately, my maple bourbon cocktail is a play on an old fashioned. An old fashioned is bourbon with muddled sugar, bitters and a twist of orange peel. And then you get a cute cherry on top. I ran with this idea and made some replacements....rather modern improvements.
Minimal ingredients in this one, here's what you'll need:
- Bourbon. I used Bulleit (as you can see in the pics, but you don't have to, you can use what you like).
- Orange juice. Freshly squeezed and not from concentrate is preferred.
- Maple syrup
- Orange bitters. I use Angostura bitters.
- Luxardo or Amarena cherries. YOu can use maraschino cherries, but Luxardo are so so much better. While they are more expensive, you'll be glad you used them, and they can be used in other drinks as well.
Why is this maple bourbon cocktail better than an old fashioned?
Use maple syrup instead of sugar. Maple syrup has such a deep, warm flavor. And to really hone in on that flavor, I reduced it for this drink. Just boiling til the syrup concentrates down...giving it a deeper more toasted sweetness. And, of course, if you are making this on the fly or are pressed for time, you can skip this step entirely and just pour right out of the bottle. One thing though - DO NOT USE PANCAKE SYRUP! Omg it is not the same thing. And not nearly as good. Every one, even if you prefer Mrs. Butterworth's for your morning pancakes, should have a small bottle of the real thing on hand...it is so much better and can be used in so many things. And it is not nearly as expensive as it used to be - so go get some 🙂
Add some orange juice to bulk it up. This is a maple bourbon cocktail not a stiff drink. An old fashioned is not a full drink - it is just the bourbon. Adding some orange juice makes this more of a cocktail and lifts it up. Orange is also a very festive flavor and goes great with the maple syrup.
Totally unnecessary, but something I really like to do when making this maple bourbon cocktail is to boil and reduce the maple syrup first. It really concentrates the maple flavor. You can do a whole cup of maple syrup and reduce by half and store in the fridge for multiple cocktails. Reduced maple syrup will keep in the fridge for two weeks.
Lastly, if you are interested in a typical old-fashioned, here is the recipe for that. But I encourage you, especially if you like bourbon and like an old fashioned, that you give this a try, you will be pleasantly surprised. And maybe even convert some non-bourbon drinkers along with you.
- cocktail shaker
- ½ cup bourbon
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice don't use concentrated if you can help it
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- dash orange bitters or any orange bitters
- 1 Luxardo cherry use maraschino if you can't get Amarena or Luxardo cherries
- In a a cocktail shaker combine the bourbon, orange juice, tablespoon of maple syrup and bitters. Shake really well. Pour over ice and drizzle with the little bit of maple syrup. Add a cherry for garnish.