Took us seven years.
The big revelation. The “Ahh Haa” moment.
Geniuses we are.
Like everyone else who gets started making maple syrup, I imagine, we started on the stovetop with a big pan. Then an outdoor burner. Next an evaporator. And five years ago, we built and occupied “The Sugar Shack” for this pastime.
Now, for those who may not be familiar with the process of making syrup, it’s critical to know that with it comes some quiet time. Time where you’re sittin’, stirrin’ ‘n conversatin..
Petting the pooch, tinkering with tools, making up stories and the like. Of course, snacks are important! Cheese ‘n crackers, popcorn, smokehouse meats. You know, the essentials. Also, it is not uncommon to find a cigar or two in a properly equipped sugar shack. And perhaps an adult beverage. Maybe. Just a splash.
So the flow of events could typically be sequenced like this.. stoke the fire, add some sap, stir the evaporator content, grab a hunk of cheese, sample the syrup, rinse with bourbon, repeat as necessary. Something along that line.
I’ve warned you before that my stories can wander, shoot tangent. Here we go!
May 2, 2015 a horse named Tencendur ran in the Kentucky Derby. Tencendur was bred ‘n born right here in Galway. True story. Look it up. Google it. My good friend Mike runs the farm up on the corner of 67 and 147. He took Tencendur to Churchill Downs. Really. How cool is that? Puts this beautiful animal on a trailer.  Heads south.  Mike gets to the Derby and who rolls out the red carpet? Old school Bourbon maker, Four Roses. The official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. This out of state, relative unknown horse from this tiny farm town in upstate New York and his entourage are treated like royalty. If you know my friend, Michael, this should not surprise you. This prince of a man endears himself to characters of all sorts wherever he goes. Just ask any golf pro in the northeast. “Party of 4. From the Cock ‘n Bull. I’m sure you’re expecting us!”

So back to the Sugar Shack story. We’ve been tastin, stirrin, sippin ‘n smokin in the shack for a few years at this point (annually, not continuously!) when finally, in early spring of 2015, the revelation!!
Put a little syrup IN the bourbon. Einstein!!
A splash or so of bourbon, a drizzle of syrup, a little snow. It’s a cocktail!

Almost. I think it’s not a cocktail until three ingredients get to dance together. And this concoction could use a counter balance to the sweet of the syrup.
Peychaud’s Bitters, made in the great state of Louisiana to the rescue. Why? Cause it’s my favorite and this is my story! And, most importantly, it’s my drink!
So here’s the official recipe for a proper Cock ’n Bull Maplehatten..
It’s been well thought out, each step, each component. Any alterations, any substitutions, and we (and by we I refer to the official Sugar Shack Bored Directors) cannot be held accountable.
Fill a pail with ice (pail defined as a sturdy C ‘n B rocks glass)
Pour on 3, maybe 4, maybe even 5 ounces Four Roses Bourbon
Add a splash o’ Galway Maple Syrup
Hit with a whisper of Peychaud’s

Tumble 3 times into a stainless mixing glass and return to original pail for consumption.

No straw.
Absolutely no garnish.

This being the day and the year with no Kentucky Derby, I suggest you make yourself a Maplehatten, take in some sun and Enjoy. Stay safe. Thanks for stopping in…