Pumpkin can just go on back to the patch it crawled out of, because this year we’re all about that other North American delicacy: Maple. The sweet tree sap pairs perfectly with all our fall favorites from bacon and sausage to bourbon and bitters. Here are 8 maple-y provisions we’re eating and drinking this season.
Maple Bacon Smoked Coffee: Bewdly, a coffee company based in Toronto (where else?), pours maple-bacon syrup over their coffee beans to make Maple Bacon Smoked Coffee. The slow-smoked beans soak up all of those savory and sweet flavors and release them when you grind the beans at home. During roasting the smell of weekend brunch will permeate your entire house, and you won’t even have to clean pork grease off of your range hood.
Maple Water: When you’ve tired of coconut water and aloe water, try maple water. Unfiltered DRINKmaple water is just pasteurized maple sap, and isn’t the viscous consistency that you are imagining; watery maple sap is tapped directly from maple trees and then boiled down to make thick maple syrup. The creators of DRINKmaple say it tastes like spring water with a hint of maple flavor and is packed with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, antioxidants and prebiotics.
Maple Bitters: If you’re looking to add a warm complexity to your cocktail, try Basement Bitters’ maple-infused Bitter Frost. The crew responsible for New York’s Hudson Whiskey creates the bitters using unaged rye spirit, local maple syrup, Sarsaparilla and 14 other botanicals. The 92-proof blend is then aged in Tuthilltown Spirits rye whiskey cured barrels. We recommend adding a few drops of the crisp, aromatic elixir to any whiskey drink.
Maple Pork Sausage: Fleisher’s, an old-fashioned butcher shop in New York, creates some of the most flavorful sausages on the East Coast. The shop’s Maple Breakfast pork sausage is made from locally sourced pigs and hand-linked without any preservatives, fillers, nitrates or nitrites. The recipe includes all-organic sage, ginger, nutmeg, cumin, onion, garlic and, of course, maple syrup.
Maple-Pecan-Coconut Cookie: When David Chang’s Momofuku Milk Bar confectionary opened a location in Toronto last year, they released a special cookie just for their Canadian fans. The Maple-Pecan-Coconut cookie is packed with chewy coconut, speckled with crunchy pecans and sweetened with maple syrup. The vegan and wheat-free treat has a cult following like every other Milk Bar dessert, but is unfortunately only available in Canada right now. The real rub? The cookies are baked in the Milk Bar kitchen in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and delivered to Toronto.
Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup: Only bourbon can improve on the taste of maple syrup. Mikuni Wild Harvest’s medium amber grade maple syrup, also known as Noble Tonic 01, is sourced from traditional sugar shacks in Quebec, and then aged in charred bourbon barrels. The syrup has hints of raw bourbon, vanilla, caramel and American oak. Once the syrup is matured, the empty barrels are shipped back to the Hudson Valley distillery and re-used to make another bourbon.
Maple Bacon: Tender Belly’s smoky Maple-Cured Bacon starts as Iowa heritage pork belly, which is hand-rubbed with maple syrup and spices, dry cured and then slow smoked over cherrywood. The belly is cut real thick for meaty, fatty bacon slices dripping with salty and sweet maple goodness.
Maple Beer: San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing is trying to break New England’s monopoly on that maple lifestyle. Anchor’s Bigleaf Maple Autumn Red, a malty red ale (6% ABV), includes California maple syrup in every batch. The brew is available through the end of October.
Alyson Sheppard is a writer at Playboy Digital. Her work has appeared in Maxim, Popular Mechanics, Mental Floss, McSweeney’s, National Geographic Adventure, Jezebel, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep