Trader Joe’s Maple Leaf Cocktail Is a Balm for Cold Weather

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Design: The Kitchn)

There are plenty of tried-and-true winter cocktail recipes that remain staples of the holiday season: sparkling apple cider sangria or a cranberry fizz (which also works as a mocktail) immediately come to mind. The classics are all well and good, but why not step outside of your cocktail comfort zone this year?

Leave it to Trader Joe’s to provide the unexpected, but perfect, ingredient to upgrade your drinking game: bourbon barrel-aged Vermont maple syrup. Sure, you can pick up a bottle to pour over your pancakes to give breakfast a grown-up kick, but you could also save a splash for a nightcap now that the weather is getting chillier.

Reddit user Sass_Act spotted the maple syrup and noticed that the staff posted an accompanying recipe, which includes bourbon (of course), a cinnamon stick, and a splash of lemon juice. Sounds like a classy twist on a hot toddy (although some users compared it to a whiskey sour). Commenters praised the recipe, confirming that it is indeed worth trying out. Others suggested alternative ingredients like mint leaves and rosemary, while one person even suggested replacing the bourbon with apple brandy.

Although you might be more accustomed to seeing maple syrup at your local diner rather than your local bar, it’s actually a pretty common cocktail ingredient: As you probably already guessed, it mixes well with brown liquors like whiskey and bourbon. It certainly lends itself to a spiced, autumnal cocktail that goes just as well with snow as it does with ingredients like cinnamon, star anise, and even smoked paprika.

Feel free to grab a bottle of the Trader Joe’s maple syrup and totally diverge from the staff’s recipe. Experiment with your own favorite spices and mixers until you find a comforting cocktail that you love — and that will help you get through the winter.