For people who grew up on “fake” maple syrup and remember their first, mind-blowing taste of the real thing, barrel-aged syrup kicks it up another notch. The bourbon-flavored syrup actually doesn’t taste much like bourbon, but it has a depth and complexity of flavor, including notes of vanilla and an undeniable oakiness. On the other hand, the rum is hard to miss in the rum-flavored syrup.

“When somebody tastes our syrup, I want them primarily to taste maple syrup with a really nice, pleasant, sort of unexpected flavor of bourbon or rum,” said Scott Arndt, vice president of Maine Gold in Rockland. “I can do things, potentially, to intensify the flavor, but I don’t really want to.”

Arndt says he uses the syrup primarily as a dessert – on top of ice cream, for example, to which he then adds maple sugar for crunch. Most often he just drinks it straight out of a shot glass. He also suggests using it to glaze roasted vegetables.

David Woods includes it in cocktails at his Wiggly Bridge tasting room. At home, he glazes scallops with the bourbon syrup, slathers it on Belgian waffles, and pours it into his oatmeal.

“Rum is great with a glazed chicken tender and pineapple,” he said. “I mean, the flavors are just intense.”

Woods gave us this recipe for a cocktail that uses bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup:

THE FORAGER

2 ounces gin

½ ounce bourbon maple syrup

3 drops bitters

Slice orange or lemon

Thyme sprig

Mix the gin, bourbon maple syrup and bitters in a glass and add the orange or lemon for garnish. Serve with a sprig of thyme.