Consider this my apology to maple syrup.
Why would I need to apologize to maple syrup? Well, the truth of the matter is that I’ve never really been all that fond of it. So when I was going over my list of holidays this coming week–and there were plenty to choose from*–it would have been perfectly in character for me to skip over Maple Syrup Saturday (March 23,2013) and move onto something more to my personal taste.
And yet choose it I did, because I’ve come to respect maple syrup, even if it’s still not my favorite flavor.
You see, back in November I had to give up my beloved honey and agave nectars as part of going Low-FODMAP. I haven’t stooped so low as to add it to my tea over granulated sugar, but when I came down with a horrible sore throat the other week I did consider it. Briefly.
No, I’ve come to appreciate maple sugar not just for it’s glucose to fructose ratio but for its ability to flavor soups and other savory fare that honey or agave would have otherwise done. When mixed with other ingredients its harsh, bitter edges are blunted, making it much more palatable than on its own. In fact, when I was contemplating today’s cocktail I was struck by how much maple syrup reminds me of coffee liqueur.
Between coffee and maple syrup on it’s own, I was definitely thinking in the realm of breakfast, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to throw a little orange in there, too!
1.5 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Cachaça
3/4 oz Maple Syrup
1/4 oz Cointreau
Combine all ingredients over ice in the bottom of a mixing glass. Shake until you’re nice and wide awake, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass of your choice. Garnish with a strip of orange zest or two.
I chose the Brazilian rum mostly to be different, but the subtlety of the spirit really does this particular cocktail justice. It’s sweet, as you would expect, but not overly strong. You do, however, get the essence of the maple syrup in both the nose and the finished flavor of the cocktail. I think this would be an amazing brunch cocktail to serve alongside the usual Mimosa and Bloody Mary.
Throughout New England, now that it’s spring as the sap has begun to rise, maples will be tapped for the rich, sweet syrup that so many love. I may not consider myself in the ‘love’ column just yet, but with a cocktail like this I’m getting there.
*Coming up this week, just to name a few, are Passover (3/25-4/2), the Hindu New Year (3/22), and Greek Independence Day (3/25).