Some people like to say you shouldn't mess with a classic, but I'm convinced that that's just because they haven't had a Maple Manhattan yet.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love me a proper traditional Manhattan, but there's something downright alchemical about the way that sweet maple and spicy rye come together.
It's a combination that somehow elevates all the best qualities of a Manhattan, without compromising on what makes it such a damn fine cocktail to begin with. No fizzy mixers, no frou-frou umbrellas, no fruity neon-coloured liqueurs, no nonsense.
Admittedly, I have a soft spot for Manhattans in general, for entirely sentimental reasons.
Where some couples have "our song", but my husband and I like to think of the Manhattan as "our cocktail". (We're not heavy drinkers or anything. We just love us some old-school cocktails.) It is the gold standard of cocktails in my book.
The Secret to Stepping Up Your Manhattans
My secret weapon for making an extra-special Manhattan is the naturally-infused maple syrups from PURE Infused Maple Syrup. The syrups are made in Nova Scotia by Hutchison Acres, a family-owned farm whose owners were born and raised in Nova Scotia's famous Annapolis Valley.
I was lucky enough to be invited to try out a sampler pack through their partnership with the Food Bloggers of Canada, and am head over heels in love with them.
I was immediately impressed by the variety of creative flavour combinations, from lavender-chai to cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
And unlike most flavoured syrups, the flavours in PURE Infused maple syrups are there to complement the natural sweetness of the maple, rather than competing with it.
How to Use Infused Maple Syrup in the Kitchen
Aside from making a great addition to cocktails, these syrups are surprisingly versatile in the kitchen, working equally well with sweet and savoury pairings.
Over the past few weeks, I've been adding them to pretty much everything I make. I've been pouring them over waffles, tossing them with roasted root vegetables, drizzling them over ice cream, and even brushing them onto chicken thighs.
However, my favourite way of using them is as a substitute for simple syrup in cocktails.
So far, I've used the Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Clove syrup in a tangerine-based Whiskey Old Fashioned and the Lavender and Chai syrup in a floral variation on the Gin Collins.
Meet Your New Favourite Cocktail: The Spiced Manhattan
Of all the cocktails I made, was this subtly spiced Manhattan made with the Vanilla, Cinnamon and Star Anise syrup was a hands-down winner.
If a regular Maple Manhattan owes its deliciousness to alchemy, then this Spiced Maple Manhattan is nothing short of pure magic.
It's smooth and sippable, just like a proper Manhattan should be, with hints of warm spice and mellow vanilla from both the syrup and the rye.
Despite the relatively generous pour of syrup that goes into the glass, it's not cloying at all. The rye still has enough bite to keep it grownup and complex, but it's still approachable and downright drinkable.
And there's even a cherry on top.
It's proof positive that a little change is always a good thing, even for the classics.
After all, in the words of the great Winston Churchill: "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."
I think that calls for a toast... don't you?
Disclosure: I was provided with a selection of PURE Infused Maple Syrups for review and recipe development purposes. All opinions expressed in this post are, as always, entirely my own.
Spiced Maple Manhattan
- Total Time: 5 mins
- Yield: 1 1x
This subtly spiced version of the classic Manhattan cocktail is made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and a splash of spiced maple syrup.
- 2 oz rye whiskey
- ½ oz sweet red vermouth
- ¼ oz PURE Infused Vanilla, Cinnamon and Star Anise Maple Syrup
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Maraschino cherries, for ganish
- In a mixing glass, stir the bourbon, vermouth, maple syrup and bitters with ice.
- Strain into a lowball glass and garnish with a cherry.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Category: Drinks
Rye is not Bourbon. That typo aside, maple sounds like great addition to the Rye version of a Manhattan! Bourbon is naturally sweet, so not appealing.
Isabelle Boucher says
I'm a big fan of bourbon-based cocktails, but when it comes to Manhattans, I'm a rye girl all the way! :) (And, incidentally, the International Bartenders Association agrees with me.)
Colleen (Souffle Bombay) says
Wonder what my grandmom would have thought about this one...Manhattans were her thang...right up till 102 last year. I bet she would have asked for another! Pinning!
Shareba @ In Search Of Yummy-ness says
I've sampled those maple syrups before, and was really impressed with the flavours. I'm not a big fan of Manhattans myself, but I think the sweetness of the maple syrup would make the drink more enjoyable :)
Lauren @ Healthy Delicious says
I love maple syrup and these infused ones sound so interesting! I'm not a Manhattan drinker at all, but this actually does sound pretty tasty!
Rose | The Clean Dish says
Your photos are GORGEOUS!! Please do mess with classics any day, I would love to see more of your cocktail recipes!!
Martha @ A Family Feast says
Oh wow! My best friend from grad school always drank Manhatten's and still does to this day! I am totally making this for her the next time we get together!
Angie | Big Bears Wife says
I can't leave recipes alone either (food or drinks) I'm always adjusting this or that! I'd love your version on this drink!
Oh, baby! I'd tap just about anything containing a bit of maple infused syrups. A manhattan with a touch of maple sounds like a perfect temper for the bite of rye.
Cookin Canuck says
I have to admit that I've never had a Manhattan, but the though of adding maple to any whiskey-based cocktail sounds like a great idea!
Ginny McMeans says
I am so glad you messed with that classic! The syrups sound just wonderful.
heather | girlichef says
Yes, this definitely calls for a toast. That syrup sounds AMAZING! I would love to get my hands on some of those. I think change can be a good thing from time to time - keeps things interesting.
Paula - bell'alimento says
OH MY GAWSH. Pinned. I'm so loving this one.
claire @the realistic nutritionist says
Oh yes. I could use one of those right now.
[email protected] says
i love your photos! If I were into cocktails I'd be all over this. It sounds luscious!