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FOOD + DRINK

Infused, Smoked and Barrel-Aged Runamok Maple Syrups

The independent Vermont producer's classic taste and charming variations

by David Graver
on 07 July 2016

Adding "flavors" does not necessarily improve a product (as we all may have learned from the vodka industry). And true maple syrup lovers know that nothing more is needed than the golden-hued goodness itself. Fortunately, Runamok Maple's premiere product, known as Sugarmaker's Cut, is a premium, pure organic syrup that just so happens to marry well with a myriad of clever and complementary tastes. The Runamok crew taps 81,000 trees across 1,500 acres in Northern Vermont during sugaring season. They closely monitor the trees and—based on temperatures and moisture—pull the sap and filter it through a reverse osmosis machine that boils away much of the water. Then it's bottled at the moment the team decides it's ready. The purity of Sugarmaker's Cut is both refreshing and delicate, while the flavor and consistency reflect the best of organic syrup making.

When one thinks of things that pair well with maple syrup (beyond waffles and pancakes) a few spices and botanicals come to mind: cinnamon, vanilla, perhaps hibiscus. And in their infusion series, that's exactly what Runamok has utilized. Again, it's all organic—from the aforementioned to cardamom and elderberry. The pairings are chosen carefully, so as not to overpower the base syrup, but even with the Makrut Lime-Leaf infusion, the grace notes of the citrus plant lend substantial notes to the nose and tongue.

For those seeking something a bit smokier, Runamok offers a Pecan Wood Smoked syrup that could hold up against the heaviest of breakfast meats. It's made in small batches through a proprietary method developed with a southern smoke-master. Rounding out their variations, Runamok also barrel-ages some of their syrup in three types of recently emptied alcohol barrels: rum, rye and bourbon. The aging process imparts some of the alcohols' flavors over time. Everything was made with as much care as their original offering, and if one is a bit tired of regular syrup, Runamok is a good place to start.

Find all Runamok Maple's syrups online, where prices start at $17 for 375 ml. Co-owner Laura Sorkin, who holds a degree from the French Culinary Institute, also shares many recipes for those looking to test the full potential of syrup.

Tasting bottle images by Cool Hunting, all other images courtesy of Runamok Maple

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