If we could, we’d use real maple syrup as currency. We wouldn’t just slather it on pancakes; we’d put it on everything. If you’ve tasted Vermont liquid gold, you understand our enthusiasm. The stuff is the nectar of the gods. But if you’ve spent your days covering your waffles in the high fructose cornswill they sell for cheap at the local market, you’re probably confused right now. The fact is, real maple syrup is a commodity steeped in tradition and craft, and not all syrup is created equal. Here are 8 bottles of great maple syrup for your next short stack.


Noble Tonic 01: Tuthilltown Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup

No, you didn’t read that wrong. Bourbon maple syrup is a thing. The folks over at Noble get medium amber-grade maple syrup from sugar shacks in Quebec, and then mature it in Tuthilltown charred American oak barrels. The syrup is then mixed with a touch of Tuthilltown’s famous bourbon, where the syrup gets its robust maple, oak, and bourbon flavors. The only two ingredients are maple syrup and single grain bourbon, and that’s exactly how we like it. $29


Bobo’s Mountain Sugar

If you can say the name of this syrup without at least cracking a smile, you’re doing it wrong. Aside from the wacky moniker, Bobo’s is small batch maple syrup made by Tina Hartell and Skye Chalmers out of Weston, Vermont. Their syrup comes in three varieties, each delicious in its own right: Amber Color and Rich Taste, Dark Color and Robust Taste, and Very Dark Color and Strong Taste. Our favorite is definitely the amber, but it’s worth trying them all to see what you like. This stuff is the simple truth—everything you want, without any of the fluff. $11


Coombs Family Farms Organic Maple Syrup

We won’t lie: The fact that you can buy Coombs Family at select Walmart locations probably doesn’t qualify it as a “small batch” syrup, but that doesn’t mean for a second that their operation is big-time. The Coombs family has been in the maple syrup business for seven generations now. They work exclusively with small family farms in Vermont to source their syrup, and each farm they work with is certified organic to ensure the best product possible. As far as the family’s processes are concerned, they’re still using the same sugar shacks they built decades ago. They’re as real-deal as it gets, and it shows in the care and quality that goes into their syrup. $16


Hidden Springs Organic Vermont Maple Syrup

Hidden Springs Maple is a family-owned maple farm on over 1,000 acres in Putney, Vermont. The land has been owned by the Cooper-Ellis family for the last half century, and while they’re known as one of the biggest and most respected maple producers in Southern Vermont, they put a tremendous amount of emphasis on their family roots and history. All their syrup is 100% natural and organic, and is tapped on their family farms in Vermont. They come in the standard three syrup flavors (Golden Delicate, Amber Rich, and Dark Robust), and you can buy them in sizes ranging from small half pints to 5-gallon buckets. No frills and no fuss; just Grade A, quality syrup. $25


Slopeside Syrup

Tapped from the towering maples on a ski resort in Richmond, Vermont, Slopeside Syrup is the result of four grandchildren who just wanted to keep up the namesake of the place their grandfather built. The Cochran’s have built their lives around the land, and it shows in the time and dedication they put into their organic, pure, delicious maple syrup. Like most other real Vermont syrups, Slopeside comes in Golden, Amber, and Dark. While you could probably give us this stuff in a trash can and we’d still drink it by the pint full, it’s worth noting Slopeside’s beautiful packaging and logo design. $9


Crown Maple Syrup

Speaking of great design work, we could go on and on about the beauty of Crown’s bottle. Instead, let’s talk about the beauty of what’s inside those bottles. The folks at Crown make a very bold claim: “Crown Maple Syrup is the best maple syrup you can buy because every step of the process—from tree to table—is painstakingly controlled to meet our exacting standards.” If we’re being honest, that might  be the legitimate truth. Aside from their incredible standard flavors, they also offer an organic barrel-aged bourbon maple syrup that’s simply superb. $22


Pure Vermont Maple Syrup

If you want to talk maple syrup history and heritage, the Bouchard family is a prime example, not to be left out of the conversation. For over 100 years, they’ve manufactured and sold some of the best maple syrup in the entire world. What we love most about the Bouchard’s and their dedication to the craft is that it is completely inseparable from their brand. They have so much pride in their heritage that whether you’ve tasted their product or not, you know their story. In fact, they’re still tapping the same trees for syrup that their ancestors did in 1912, when they first opened up shop. Aside from all the standard flavors and variations you’re used to, they also offer different flavor infusions like vanilla and cinnamon that are unlike anything you’ve ever had. $12


Bushwick Kitchen

We imagine there aren’t too many maple trees growing in Brooklyn these days, which would probably make it tough to tap any sizable amount of maple syrup. Then again, that hasn’t stopped the folks from Bushwick Kitchen from producing some of the most unique and delicious small-batch syrups we’ve seen. Sourced from the Catskills Mountains, their syrup comes in three varieties: Coffee, Spicy, and Cinnamon. The Coffee flavor uses pure maple syrup infused with Stumpdown Coffee Roasters’ Hair Bender Blend, which gives it notes of maple with chocolate, cherry, toffee, and fudge. The Cinnamon is infused with organic cassia cinnamon from Indonesia. The Spicy flavor utilizes a mix of various chili peppers, which probably wouldn’t do well on waffles and pancakes, but kicks ass on roasted vegetables, steak, or fried chicken. $14

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Unzip your coat and have some mulled wine on the house—you’ve arrived at your final gifting destination: The Holiday Gift Guide. It’s like your friendly neighborhood one-stop holiday shop, except instead of balsa wood ornaments, ours is packed with thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list. Future heirlooms, small-but-significant stocking stuffers, and gear for getting out there (or staying in)—are all right here. There’s no music playing in the background though, so you’ll just have to hum Bing Crosby while you click around instead.

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