Burton’s Maplewood Farm returns to Eagle County with bourbon maple syrup | VailDaily.com

Burton’s Maplewood Farm returns to Eagle County with bourbon maple syrup

Caramie Schnell
Special to the Daily

EAGLE COUNTY — "You had me at bourbon."

It's that key word — bourbon — that gets people's attention when maple syrup maestro Tim Burton is asking folks if they'd like to sample his bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup.

"That stops them in their tracks," said Burton, who owns Burton's Maplewood Farm in Medora, Indiana.

Burton and his golden elixir are likely familiar to some Eagle County residents. He has participated as a drop-in at the Minturn Market in years past and has been a popular vendor at Gourmet on Gore each year since 2012. When folks walk by the booth, they sometimes mistake the amber-colored syrup bottles for actual bottles of bourbon, Burton said.

"I tell them it is bourbon without the burn," Burton said.

This summer, Burton has expanded into the Colorado, Wyoming and Utah farmers market scene. In Colorado alone, you can find the Burton's Maplewood Farm at 10 farmers markets, including a variety in Denver, along with Breckenridge, Dillon and Steamboat Springs.

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In Eagle County, you can find his booth from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Minturn Market and from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Edwards Corner Farmers Market each Saturday. Stop by to sample three varieties of syrup each week.

"People here are so progressive, and they are very nutritionally savvy," Burton said regarding the company's recent push west. "The farmers markets are so strongly supported here in Colorado because people want to know where their food is coming from."

That and there is a "renaissance for high-end maple syrup," Burton said.

"People are learning different ways to apply it as a natural sweetener and also how to use it as a savory component," he said.

One of his customers caramelizes onions using the bourbon barrel-aged syrup, which she layers atop hamburgers. Indeed, this syrup is not just for breakfast.

"Leave the pancakes in the pantry," Burton said. "This is fantastic for savory applications, like in a maple-bourbon Dijon marinade for salmon or trout, or as a glaze on thick-cut bacon, Brussels sprouts, baby carrots or even green beans."

Better with age

While it's hard to improve on something as naturally perfect as pure maple syrup, Burton seem to have found a way. Drawing inspiration from small-batch distillers, he repurposes used spirit and beer barrels as storage vessels and hot-packs the maple syrup, infusing his amber elixir with the subtle, yet distinctive, flavors of each respective spirit.

The bourbon syrup has high country roots; it's aged in used bourbon and rum barrels from Breckenridge Distillery. Each year, the limited-run syrup is the first to sell out.

"It's easily the most popular barrel-aged syrup we do," Burton said.

And there are other barrel-aged collaborations on the horizon. A batch of syrup has been aging in blackberry whiskey barrels from Denver distillery Leopold Bros. for the past three years. He plans to bottle it for the 2017 season, which is when he'll also introduce another dear-to-Colorado-palates flavor into the mix: Palisade peaches. For the past few years, people have been telling him over and over to head west to Palisade. Last week, the stars aligned and Burton picked up two empty barrels — one peach brandy and one pear brandy — from Peach Street Distillers in Palisade.

Along with brewers and distillers, Burton's signature aged syrups are super popular among some of America's top chefs, including Wolfgang Puck, Rick Bayless (Rick uses the traditional syrup) and Chicago chef Stephanie Izard (winner of "America's Top Chef"), who recently showcased Burton's Maplewood Farms syrup on the Martha Stewart television show in 2014. Last year, Burton delivered a three-year aged Madagascar vanilla-bean Bourbon maple syrup to Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Hotel in Chicago, Branson's first American hotel.

Chef connections

Closer to home, plenty of big-name properties and chefs are paying attention, as well. Burton has done custom barrel-aged syrups for the Four Seasons Resort Vail and The Little Nell in Aspen.

Jason Brunson, the owner of hot spot Old Major in Denver, uses it to braise bacon, Burton said — and chef Alex Seidel at Mercantile Dining & Provision in Union Station uses Burton's Maplewood Farm syrup in some dishes and sells bottles of it on the retail side.

Starting this fall, the syrup will be sold and served at high-end Colorado restaurants. To learn more about Burton's Maplewood Farm and its artisan syrup, visit http://www.burtonsmaplewoodfarm.com.

Get the syrup

In Eagle County, you can find the Burton’s Maplewood Farm booth from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Minturn Market and from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Edwards Corner Farmers Market each Saturday. Stop by to sample three varieties of syrup each week.