The Old Fashioned is, as far as cocktails go, one that is both perfect in its classic form but also one that is so malleable, so able to be riffed upon, that it will never actually get old (fashioned).
Sure, some purists will complain that cocktail culture has taken things too far while others will complain about the complainers being stodgy old coots, but all of the complaining aside, at the end of the day a good cocktail comes down to: Do you like it? For us, we like playing with our Old Fashioneds and trying to figure out new, simple ways to enhance the flavor profile of the drink.
One of our favorite ingredients that is great for modifying your Old Fashioneds — while still not going too far off the deep end — is maple syrup. Needing some form of sweetener in your drink, maple syrup makes perfect sense. Not only does it provide that aforementioned sweetness, but it does so with a flavor profile that complements whiskey.
Recently, we came across one company, Runamok Maple, that is taking its maple syrup game to new levels and these new levels make for some pretty amazing Old Fashioneds.
Runamok, a certified organic maple syrup company based in Fairfax, Vermont makes a wide variety of maple syrups, ranging from their standard-bearer, the Sugarmaker’s Cut to smoked and barrel-aged varieties to an entire line of creative infused maple syrups (such as Makrut lime and jasmine tea infused syrups). They even have seasonal varieties, including a Festivus maple syrup, which is infused with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and cloves.
After playing around with the various flavors, we came up with some favorites. They are:
You can’t go wrong with a classic. Rich maple flavors enhance the vanilla and caramel notes of most bourbons.
Coffee-Infused Maple Syrup
We like to call this one the breakfast Old Fashioned. Rich coffee notes layered upon sweet maple make for the best part of waking up.
Ginger Root Infused Maple Syrup
Looking for something with a little more spice? This ginger root-infused maple syrup toes the line between sweet and spicy without going too far in either direction.
Smoked with Pecan Wood Maple Syrup
Smoked cocktails used to be all the rage – and still are in some places. This smoked maple syrup sidesteps the smoked part of the drink and yet still adds just enough pecan wood flavor without being overwhelming.
Need a recipe to get started? Here is a fool-proof Old Fashioned recipe:
- 2 oz bourbon of your choice
- 1 oz maple syrup
- 3-4 dashes bitters (depending on what syrup you’re using, you can switch this up. We like a mix of Angostura and Orange bitters, though black walnut bitters are a great option for a cold-weather flavor profile)
- Orange peel, optional
Method: Add ingredients to a mixing glass with a large cube. Stir. Strain into a rocks glass with another large cube. Optional: garnish with an expressed orange peel (if it makes sense with the maple syrup you’re using, of course).
Don’t know what whiskey to use? Check out our list of the best bourbons for an Old Fashioned here.
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