Sugar Season? Nailed it.

As Maine Maple Sunday approaches (always the 4th Sunday in March), your favorite sugar shacks will be offering up batches of that sweet liquid gold. What better way to celebrate a delicious Maine tradition than making a cocktail around it? If you’re visiting one of the nearly 100 Maine farms and sugar houses participating on the weekend of March 23-24, be sure to get a bottle of maple syrup for what I have in store for you. Bonus: you’ll be supporting the local economy.

A Rusty Nail is made by mixing Drambuie and Scotch whisky and is either served in an Old Fashioned glass on the rocks, neat, or “up” in a stemmed glass. There are people who say it’s not a Rusty Nail without Drambuie, which itself is a type of Scotch infused with honey, herbs and spices. But I consider this classic due for an update.

While looking for a Drambuie substitute I stumbled across Chadwick’s Craft Spirits, located in Pittston, Maine. They use a natural process and local ingredients in their maple spirits. The water is drawn from a natural spring on their property, and they tap their own maple trees to make syrup. Then they age their own spirits in their own barrels that they built from their own woods! It’s like, could they be more local? Yes, they could. Larry Chadwick built the cabin where the barrels are stored. By hand. What am I doing with my life? Enjoying Larry’s hard work, that is what I am doing.

Chadwick’s Durkot Maple Craft Liqueur, a 40 proof cordial, makes a great substitute for Drambuie in this Maple Rusty Nail, and if you prefer the sweeter side of cocktails, use some maple syrup.


3/4 ounce Chadwicks Durkot Maple Craft Liquor
1 1/2 ounces Scotch Whisky
Orange bitters

Pour all ingredients directly into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice, stir gently. Garnish with an orange twist.

Or make it even more maple: Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Add 1/4 ounce of maple syrup to the shaker, close and shake. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.

Jessie Lacey resides at the heart of downtown Portland with her border collie puppy Josie, making cocktails and trouble.

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