|Photo © Leigh Beisch Photography|
Maple SyrupThere 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.