Best use of alcohol at breakfast | Best of Chicago 2011 | Food & Drink | Chicago Reader

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Best use of alcohol at breakfast 

Burton's Maplewood Farm rum-infused maple syrup

Paul Kahan once called Indiana maple syrup baron Tim Burton a "visionary" not just for retapping the family sugar bush a mere ten years ago or for founding the Annual National Maple Syrup Festival but for continually creating new ways to make use of his harvest. Last year he began offering bottles of clear, cool, pure unreduced maple sap at the Green City Market, and this year he began aging his finished syrup in used liquor barrels. The six-month-aged rum expression, with a vanilla top note and a whisper of heat, is too precious to cook with or even soak your pancakes in. Burton sees it as more of special garnish, which is why he's already sent out samples to chefs all over Chicago—including Kahan, who says it has "great complexity and richness." If you don't want to wait to see what the pros can do with it, Burton's already taking preorders for 750-milliliter bottles that will be ready in October, two months before his bourbon and brandy barrel-aged syrups are ready. —Mike Sula

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)