Maple syrup was a big part of my diet growing up because it's what goes on Eggo waffles. In the '80s, I consumed approximately 7,000 of those yellow discs, always with a liberal dose of Vermont's finest tree juice. But I never thought of maple syrup as a cocktail accoutrement until visiting The Grove (1611 Lamar, 713-337-7321) and trying their Maple Manhattans — made with maple syrup instead of plain sugar. After this unexpected reunion, I decided to learn more about this mysterious substance. During a 12-minute Google investigation, I discovered that maple syrup is both healthy and hardy. According to two completely unbiased national publications — The Sugarmaker's Times (dot blogspot dot com) and Vermont Living — it has "more minerals than honey" and "won't actually freeze." Bonus. I can get extra phosphorous with my waffle sweetener, and contrary to what those "maple syrup freezes" rumormongers say, I can do it all in the comfort of somewhere really cold. But enough of my insightful teachings. All you wanna know is, how does it mix with booze? Quite well, actually. But these are Manhattans, remember. You can only down a few before things go awry and you're shouting "Leggo my Eggo!" at the bartender trying to cut you off. — W. Healy
1 1/2 ounces Knob Creek bourbon
1/2 ounce maple syrup
Squeeze of lime juice
Shake with ice. Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with cherry. Honey sucks!
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