Proof is a new brand of cocktail syrups, ranging from steadfast (Traditional) to oddball (Maple Bacon), made by a bartender-led crew based in Decatur, Georgia. The collection is designed to go beyond mere sugar and water, and have bitters already in the mix. Per the company:
These high quality cocktail syrups are an “everything but the bourbon” approach to craft cocktails and feature our oleo-saccharum made the traditional way from organic cane sugar, with our added bitters. Simply mix .5 oz of any PROOF Syrup with 2 oz of your favorite bourbon or rye whiskey, to easily create the perfect textbook old fashioned.
We checked out Proof’s “Traditional” expression, both on its own and when mixed as directed.
With its reddish hue, this is clearly something beyond a “traditional” syrup — it’s the color of watered-down Peychaud’s Bitters, indicating from the start a bit about how it’s been doctored. The nose of the plain bitters is spicy, with cinnamon and nutmeg distinctly heavy, and the palate is quite sweet with brown sugar and a bit of a honey character. Cardamom notes become evident as the finish emerges.
With whiskey (I used Jim Beam Distiller’s Cut in a 4:1 ratio as directed), the combo was a hit. Very spicy — there’s clearly plenty of bitters added to the mix here — it follows through on the promise that it makes two-ingredient cocktails completely possible. The whiskey shines, the bitters shine, showcasing a clear clove element. Perhaps the sugar quotient could be elevated a tad, but that’s perhaps splitting hairs.
I’m not sure I need maple bacon syrup but, what the hell, given the strengths of the “Traditional” version, I’m willing to try.
A / $25 per 16 oz bottle