I’ve already said it several times, but I really do think that maple is an underrated cocktail syrup. It’s sweet and rich, and — thanks to its fairly thin body — goes into solution with extreme ease. I like it in Old Fashioneds, I like it in Juleps, and — as of last night — I love it in scotch.
Scotch-heads love to freak out when you add anything to scotch that isn’t a couple drops of distilled water, but I bought this bottle of scotch, damn it, and I’ll do with it what I please. (It’s also Dewar’s white label, which is — according to the internet — a good “everyday scotch.”) Adding a little syrup to scotch is not, of course, my original idea. This drink is based on a recipe for the Improved Scotch Cocktail I saw on Serious Eats, which combines scotch, Benedictine, demerara syrup, and two types of bitters. I just used maple syrup instead of the suggested demerara and omitted the bitters entirely, though you can add them back in if you wish.
I’m not sure the bitters are needed, however. Benedictine already has a lot going on — 27 herbs, spices, and peels, to be exact — and maple syrup has a lot of minerality and richness; I don’t see a reason to muddy the drink with additional botanical tinctures. With just just three ingredients, you get a rich and complex cocktail that still tastes mostly of scotch. To make it, you will need:
- 60mL scotch
- 3/4 teaspoon Benedictine
- 3/4 teaspoon maple syrup — not pancake syrup
Add all ingredients to a lowball and stir to dissolve the syrup. Add a big ol’ cube of ice and stir to chill. Shake some bitters in there if you so desire, but I think it’s lovely as-is.