The Buxton Common’s Autumn Shade. Photo courtesy of The Buxton Common

One of the first big events in Maine to be canceled or postponed because of COVID-19 was Maine Maple Sunday in March. If you’ve been choking down dry pancakes all summer as a result, I have good news: A reimagined version of it is taking place this weekend. In anticipation of your soon-to-be-restocked maple syrup supply, let’s look at some cocktails made with maple syrup. Whether you prefer to go out or make your own (cocktails, not maple syrup), there’s something for everyone.

The Maple Old Fashioned is one of two maple cocktails on the menu at The North Point. Photo courtesy of The North Point

Several local establishments have maple-forward cocktails on their menus. The Buxton Common has the $11 Autumn Shade featuring Scotch, fresh apple cider and maple syrup. The only fall ingredient missing is pumpkin! (Please don’t add pumpkin; even a pumpkin-crazy person like myself has to draw the line somewhere.) Gather, located in Yarmouth, has the $11 Switchel (vodka, fresh ginger, maple syrup, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar). At The North Point in Portland, you can choose between the $13 Maple Bourbon Sour (bourbon, maple syrup and lemon juice) and the $13 Maple Old Fashioned (orange-infused bourbon, maple syrup and Angostura bitters). Wait a minute, what am I saying? This is America; you don’t have to pick just one!

Something to look forward to is Chaval’s special menu for Maine Maple Producers Weekend. Among the many maple menu items they plan to offer that weekend (dine-in and takeout) is a maple cocktail currently under development by bar manager Asher Boisvert.

The Fanta Se Flip calls for a whole egg and a reverse dry shaking technique. Photo courtesy of Black Cow

For some local inspiration, take a look at Black Cow bartender Austin Williams’ creation. He has an unfair advantage – his family makes maple syrup (Stearns Hill Maple) in West Paris. His family used to live in Santa Fe and almost opened a bakery called Fanta Sé, so his cocktail (the Fanta Sé Flip) is a nod to that. It’s not currently on Black Cow’s menu, but word on the street is that it might soon be. And don’t worry, “flip” doesn’t mean that you have to go all Tom Cruise on your cocktail shaker. It’s just a term for a cocktail made using a whole egg. Not the shell, but everything else. Combine 1.5 ounces Mezcal, 1 ounce lemon juice, 0.75 ounce sloe gin, 0.75 ounce maple syrup, and a whole egg in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake for 15 seconds. Fine strain the shaker contents, toss out the ice, and then shake again for 15-20 seconds, a technique known as a reverse dry shake.  Pour into a coupe glass (or drink out of your shoe … it’s a pandemic, after all) and garnish with bitters if you’re feeling fancy.

You won’t find the Breakfast Cobbler, concocted by Tipo bar manager Kristen Mixter, on the menu, but you can make it at home.

Tipo bar manager Kristen Mixter (with “mix” in her name, she had to go into bartending, right?) has an equally delectable concoction for home bartenders to try.  Called the Breakfast Cobbler, it combines 1 ounce Madeira (a fortified wine made on the Portuguese Madeira islands off the northwest coast of Africa), 0.75 ounce apple brandy, 0.75 ounce Grade A dark maple syrup, 1 ounce orange juice, 0.25 ounce lemon juice, and a small pinch of salt. Serve over crushed ice in a julep cup and garnish with fresh berries, a mint sprig and powdered sugar. Tipo is not serving brunch, so the Breakfast Cobbler isn’t on the menu; if you want to try it, you need to make it yourself.

Finally, I asked a local maple syrup producer how he uses his product. Frank Boucher, one of the owners of Gile’s Family Farm in Alfred, swears by a mixture of Black Velvet (a Canadian whisky), apple cider, maple syrup and ginger ale. “It’s served cold,” he said, “but it’ll warm ya right up!”

Angie Bryan is a former diplomat who is enjoying getting acquainted with her new home in Portland, one cocktail at a time.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: