Cold winter nights call out for a different kind of cocktail; margaritas seem out of place and even the beloved summer mojito just doesn't seem right. I'm a big fan of warm cider with a little splash of whisky. But last week my husband blew my mind with a cocktail that became my new favorite "cuddle by the wood stove" drink - with his own Vermont twist.
Introducing: The Maple Rum Collins
You may be familiar with the Tom Collins - a gin drink with lime juice, sugar or simple syrup, and a splash of seltzer. A Rum Collins substitutes rum for the gin (and was apparently a favorite of James Bond in the 1960's, according to Wikipedia!). A Maple Rum Collins drops the sugar or simple syrup and uses real Vermont maple syrup in its place (I'll give you a break if you can only get your hands on Canadian or New Hampshire Maple Syrup, but please, do NOT reach for the Aunt Jemima). Our version also used lemon instead of lime.
It literally tasted warm and cozy despite the fact that it was served over ice, and its golden hue matched the candlelight by which we were eating after putting the kids to bed.
There you have it - your new winter cocktail. You're welcome.
Recipe: Maple Rum Collins
2 oz rum (2 parts)**
1 oz lemon juice (1 part)
1/2 oz maple syrup (1/2 part)
2 oz seltzer (2 parts)
Directions: Combine rum, lemon juice, and maple syrup in a shaker with ice (shake). Pour into cocktail glass filed with ice, top with selzter. Serve with a slice of lemon for garnish.
*The recipe can be doubled to fill a whole highball (no wonder I felt a little tipsy that night!).
** Note: we have just discovered Smuggler's Notch Rum, made by the same company that makes the whiskey I prefer for my hot toddy with cider. If you want a truly Vermont drink, this is a great brand to check out! If you can't get your hands on this local treasure, look for a nice high quality rum that is amber - somewhere between light and dark.