Maple syrup with a Breckenridge bourbon flair
Special to the Daily
IF YOU GO
What: Burton’s Maplewood Farms artisan syrups.
Find them at:
The Breckenridge Sunday Market, held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 11 at scenic Main Street Station in South Breckenridge.
The Dillon Farmers Market, held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays through Sept. 16 at Buffalo Street, by Town Park.
More information: To learn more about Burton’s Maplewood Farms and its barrel-aged maple syrups, visit www.burtonsmaplewoodfarm.com.
“You had me at bourbon.”
It’s that key word — bourbon — that gets people’s attention when maple syrup maestro Tim Burton is asking folks if they’d like to sample his bourbon-barrel aged maple syrup.
“That stops them in their tracks,” he said, who owns Burton’s Maplewood Farm in Medora, Indiana.
When folks walk by the booth, they sometimes mistake the amber-colored syrup bottles for actual bottles of bourbon, he said.
“I tell them it is bourbon without the burn,” he said.
Burton and his golden elixir are likely familiar to some Summit County residents. He has participated as a drop-in vendor at both the Breckenridge Sunday Market and the Dillon Farmers Market (held Fridays) in years past, and this year is a full-time vendor at both markets. Stop by the booth to sample three varieties of syrup each week.
This summer, he has expanded into the Colorado, Wyoming and Utah farmers market scene. In Colorado alone, you can find the Burton’s Maplewood Farm at 10 farmers markets, including a variety in Denver along with the Vail Valley and Steamboat Springs.
“People here are so progressive, and they are very nutritionally savvy,” Burton said regarding the company’s recent push west. “The farmers’ markets are so strongly supported here in Colorado because people want to know where their food is coming from.”
That and there is a “renaissance for high-end maple syrup,” he said.
“People are learning different ways to apply it as a natural sweetener and also how to use it as a savory component,” he said.
One of his customers caramelizes onions using the bourbon barrel-aged syrup, which she layers atop hamburgers. Indeed, this syrup is not just for breakfast.
“Leave the pancakes in the pantry,” he said. “This is fantastic for savory applications, like in a maple bourbon Dijon marinade for salmon or trout, or as a glaze on thick-cut bacon, Brussels sprouts, baby carrots or even green beans.”
BETTER WITH AGE
While it’s hard to improve on something as naturally perfect as pure maple syrup, Burton seem to have found a way. Drawing inspiration from small-batch distillers, he re-purposes used spirit and beer barrels as storage vessels and hot-packs the maple syrup, infusing his amber elixir with the subtle, yet distinctive, flavors of each respective spirit. The bourbon syrup has local roots; it’s aged in used bourbon and rum barrels from Breckenridge Distillery, a very successful collaboration that’s been happening for four years now. Each year the limited-run syrup is the first to sell out.
“It’s easily the most popular barrel-aged syrup we do,” Burton said.
And there are other barrel-aged collaborations on the horizon. A batch of syrup has been aging in blackberry whiskey barrels from Denver distillery Leopold Bros. for the past three years. He plans to bottle it for the 2017 season, which is when he’ll also introduce another dear-to-Colorado-palates flavor into the mix, namely Palisade peaches. For the past few years, people have been telling him over and over to head west, to Palisade. Last month, the stars aligned and Burton picked up two empty barrels — one peach brandy and one pear brandy — from Peach Street Distillers in Palisade.
Along with brewers and distillers, Burton’s syrups are super popular among some of America’s top chefs, including Wolfgang Puck, Rick Bayless and Chicago chef Stephanie Izard (winner of “America’s Top Chef”) who showcased Burton’s Maplewood Farms syrup on the Martha Stewart television show in 2014. Last year Burton delivered a three year aged Madagascar vanilla-bean Bourbon maple syrup to Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotel in Chicago, Branson’s first American hotel.
Closer to home plenty of big-name properties and chefs are paying attention as well. Burton has done custom barrel-aged syrups for the Four Seasons in Vail and The Little Nell in Aspen. Jason Brunson, the owner of hot spot Old Major in Denver, uses it to braise bacon, Burton said — and chef Alex Seidel at Mercantile Dining & Provision in Union Station uses Burton’s Maplewood Farm syrup in some dishes and sells bottles of it on the retail side.
Starting this fall, the syrup will be sold and served at high-end Colorado restaurants.
To learn more about Burton’s Maplewood Farm and its artisan syrup, visit burtonsmaplewoodfarm.com.
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