Real maple syrup is always delicious poured on a stack of pancakes, but come fall, we begin to feel the urge to include it in everything, including our drinks. Luckily, the stuff is great in cocktails, whether paired with spicy bitters or rich bourbon, roasted fruit or apple brandy.
Looking for a little maple-mixing inspiration? Start right here...
Roasted Fig Cocktail
This whiskey cocktail is filled out with flavorful maple syrup and a roasted fig purée. That rich flavor is balanced out with the tartness of fresh lemon and balsamic vinegar.
This autumnal rum cocktail from Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco gets a bit of smoky spice from smoked paprika. Maple syrup adds a deep, earthy sweetness, and sage boosts the outdoorsy aroma.
Plum Spiced Hard Cider
Roasted plums will make your entire house smell delicious—and they make for a great drink too, spiced with cinnamon and star anise, and sweetened with maple syrup. For the cocktail, the roasted plum mixture is spiked with applejack and hard cider, two of our favorite fall beverages.
Cold Spring Cocktail
Though there's as much maple as lemon in this drink from Jackson Cannon of The Hawthorne, it's not at all sweet, just warming and aromatic. If you have a bottle of cognac you haven't been emptying fast enough, this recipe's a good starting point.
Buttermilk Maple Gin Flip
Maple syrup plays off the warm spice notes of the nutmeg sprinkled on top of this flip, which is made with tangy buttermilk instead of cream.
This frothy sour has a core of spicy rye, which is brightened with fresh lemon. Angostura bitters add spice, and the whole thing comes together thanks to the earthy sweetness of maple syrup.
Hot Butternut Rum
It's not strictly required that you sweeten this hot drink at all, but we find that a dash of maple syrup is wonderful with this play on buttered rum, made with roasted squash and loads of fall spices.
This classic cocktail made with applejack and citrus is sweetened with maple syrup for an easy, not-too-tart finish.
Citrus and Anise Mulled Wine
Is mulled wine a cocktail? Why not? We'll bend the rules a bit for this one, spiced with coriander, mace, cinnamon, and star anise, and spiked with a little brandy. The maple syrup adds to the complexity of the brew.
Bourbon Maple Cider
We recommend that you always have bourbon and Angostura bitters on hand, especially if you're inviting friends over. Add a few fall essentials (applejack and your favorite hard cider) and you'll be all set...once you've sweetened the mixture up with a bit of maple syrup.
Fort Washington Flip
Mixed with applejack and herbal Benedictine this drink created by Misty Kalkofen is enriched with a whole egg. The maple syrup that sweetens the cocktail echoes the richness of the egg nicely.
Sangaree's an old drink—Jerry Thomas's 1862 book listed 6 different variations. This version (which came to us from Jim Meehan of PDT in New York) includes red wine (Beaujolais Nouveau if you like it, something else if you don't), apple brandy, sloe gin, Angostura, and maple syrup for a touch of sweetness.
Do you put maple syrup in your cocktails? Got any favorite recipes?
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Serious Eats. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.