Rum infused with a healthy dose of maple syrup and the added richness of vanilla and prune is just what the doctor ordered.
Using maple syrup as an ingredient in cocktails is all the rage, but the syrup most often sweetens or acts as an accent flavor and is rarely permitted to serve as a base. Enter Maple Liqueur! Rum infused with a healthy dose of syrup and the added richness of vanilla and prune? This recipe from Andrew Schloss’s Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits might be just what the doctor ordered for enduring the latest snap of arctic air…especially if it’s served as a warm toddy with lemon peel and a cinnamon stick.
There are two main grades of maple syrup in the United States (Canada has a different grading system). The most expensive, grade A, comes in light amber, medium amber, and dark amber; it is the lightest and most nuanced. Grade B is a darker, richer, and more caramelly syrup. That’s what you want here.
The flavor of maple combines sweetness, tartness (from malic acid), and aromatics, mostly from proteins and vanillin, a vanilla-tasting by-product of wood. In this delectable liqueur, the taste is underscored by the generic fruit flavor from prunes and a floral hit of vanilla. Serve this liqueur mixed in a warm toddy (a cinnamon stick spiraled with lemon peel makes an excellent swizzle), or as the sweet element in a Rye Old-Fashioned.
Makes about 1 quart
1¾ cups dark rum (80 proof)
1 vanilla bean (Madagascar or Bourbon), split
6 prunes, coarsely chopped
1¾ cups pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
Combine the rum, vanilla, prunes, and maple syrup in a 1-quart jar.
Seal the jar and put it in a cool, dark cabinet until the liquid smells and tastes strongly of maple with a hint of fruit, 3 to 5 days.
Strain the mixture with a mesh strainer into a clean quart jar. Do not push on the solids to extract more liquid.
Seal and store in a cool, dark cabinet. Use within 1 year.
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