2019 was the least productive season for New Hampshire maple producers since 2014 owing to the unseasonably cold weather. Last year in our sugar bush, we repaired record damage on our tubing as a result of the spike in the squirrel population. The squirrels went to town munching on a small (but important) piece of tubing, and it was such a pain. So let’s all hope for the best this year and make the most of the syrup we do have. By the way, I do wish one could fully look forward to sugaring without the inconvenience and worry about muddy roads, but I guess they just go hand in hand. Each of these three recipes features maple syrup.
I made this delicious warming cocktail with Sapling liqueur, which is produced by Saxtons River Distillery in Brattleboro, Vermont.
(makes approximately one cup of syrup, enough for eight cocktails):
1/2 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup maple syrup
1-1/2 cups water
For one cocktail:
2 ounces bourbon
1-ounce Sapling maple liqueur
2 tablespoons ginger syrup
3 ounces fresh orange juice
LOCAL INGREDIENTS: maple syrup, ginger if you can find it, maple liqueur
For the syrup:
In a small saucepan, combine all the syrup ingredients. Bring up to a boil and then down to a simmer. Simmer for about 12 minutes, until the syrup reduces to about one cup. Remove from the heat. Let steep until cool, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Refrigerate for up to a week.
For the cocktail:
Combine the bourbon, maple liqueur, ginger syrup and orange juice. Fill a glass with ice and pour the cocktail over. Garnish with an orange twist.