Maple Fireside Nightcap

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Last week, our dear friends the Lady Otter and D. Bunnyhunter brought us a little jar of Macallan’s Amber Liqueur to sample.

Made by Scotland’s The Macallan, this is an amazing whiskey liqueur with notes of maple and pecan. Talk about a great thing to drink in New England in the fall. I’m not usually one for sweet-ish drinks, but all I can say is: Yum.

Now, our friends mentioned that the Amber Liqueur is either not being made any more or is really hard to find, which proved to be more than true. An internet search reveals that it’s sold out at more than one retailer.

If you can’t find it, why not make it yourself?

We set about to see if we could approximate the flavors in the liqueur. This cocktail is definitely a work in progress, as it has some of the flavor notes of the Amber, but doesn’t capture its depth or nuttiness.

We didn’t have anything pecan flavored on hand, so for this drink, I used a smidge of walnut-based nocino that an old friend of mine brought me from Italy a number of years ago.

The verdict? It’s really good, but pecan would be better—and truer to the Macallan’s flavor. Next time, I’m going to see if I can track down a bottle of pecan liqueur. (Anyone have any recommendations? I was looking at trying Praline New Orleans Pecan Liqueur.)

All in all, this is a really good cocktail on its own. It’s sweet, warming, and very, very strong. (Warning: Since this drink is basically all booze with a little sugar, one might knock you on your keister.)

A note on the maple syrup

All maple syrups were not created equal. Be sure to seek out some genuine, pure maple syrup for this—not pancake syrup, many of which are a combination of corn syrup and artificial flavorings.

Maple Fireside Nightcap

4 shots scotch (I used Johnny Walker Black)
2 shots pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp. Nocino

Serves 1

Measure out 4 shots of whiskey into a cocktail shaker.

Add the nocino. (If you don’t have nocino on hand, I wouldn’t go out and buy a bottle just for this�unless you know you like it. This drink would be really good without it, too.)

Add the maple syrup to the whiskey and nocino. I have to admit, there’s something totally delightful about measuring out shots of pure maple syrup.

Stir the contents of your shaker with a spoon. You want to dissolve the maple sugar into the liquor before you add the ice. (If you don’t, the syrup will seize up when it hits the ice and won’t want to dissolve.)

Fill the shaker half full with ice, cap it, and shake vigorously to chill your drink.

Pour out into a martini glass. If you like, garnish the drink with a piece of maple sugar candy on the rim.

Serve immediately. Cheers!

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. Jessie, This is really cool, I like your header 'If you can’t find it, why not make it yourself?' I was expecting just a tasting note, but then made your own version of it :P , so cool , ok, now I know I'll have to try this for myself, maple syrup + liquer sounds good. I like my alcohol sweet, thanks for sharing!
  2. I suspect that using a different whisky would help as well. I don't find that straight JW Black has the same depth (sherry and wood notes, mostly) as even a young single of the Macallan. Unfortunately, a bottle of even a 12-year of the Macallan goes for around $50 :/ However, I do have maybe 7 oz left in a bottle that I may be willing to donate to the cause of replacing the beloved Amber :D
  3. Thanks, guys! :D Sam--I bet it would be fabulous warmed. (Though, I have a feeling that would knock me right out, as most hot drinks with liquor in them tend to do...) Lady Otter--Hmmmm. We will have to continue our intrepid cocktail development! Maybe if we hit on something we think is just right we could try it with your Macallan. Wouldn't dare want to waste that experimenting. +Jessie
  4. I can just imagine the taste of this cocktail! Must be quite potent too...since I'm no good in mixing drinks, maybe I'll get my husband to do it for me. Thanks for sharing.