The Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel and executive chefs Stephen Henry and Mathew Wiltzius are taking maple syrup to new heights, creating a unique collection of barrel-aged maple syrups, crafted and aged in the in-house Chicago rail passage underneath the hotel.
The old rail passage dates to the early 1900s, when it was used to bring coal by rail for the hotel’s boilers. The Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel now makes clever use of the area, located 65 feet below grade and measuring 120 feet long, with the new maple syrup initiative.
Six different five-gallon oak barrels, shipped from the South, are currently aging six maple syrup variations. The syrups are infused with spirits, include the hotel’s signature Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon, Grand Marnier, Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey, Herradura Tequila, 16-year-old single-malt scotch whiskey and dark Haitian rum. Each variety has been aging for more than 60 days and the flavor profiles range from smoky and oaky to floral and fruity.
Chefs Henry and Wiltzius are crafting cocktails and dishes with the syrups at the on-site Lockwood Restaurant & Bar and Potter’s Lounge. Guests can sample the Woodford Reserve Maple Syrup in the Old Chicago Passage Maple Manhattan and in the bone-in bacon chops. Additional drinks, dishes and brunch items will roll out as the syrups age.
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