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A liqueur by Matchbook Distilling x The Culinary Institute of America

Spirit distilled from 100% organic ME oats infused with browned NY butter, roasted oats and brown sugar

750 ml

30% Alc by Vol

Suggested Serve

Fireside Fika

Makes 1 serving

As the cold winds blow, a short break for a coffee and mid-day treat is a welcome respite. In Sweden, this daily occasion is a national treasure known as Fika. For this Fika-in-a-glass, we’ve combined the almond and grain-forward notes of Maillard Granola with espresso for a taste of coffee and cake to slow down on a winter’s day.

1 oz espresso
2 oz Maillard
1/4 oz simple syrup
2 oz tonic water

In a glass filled with fresh ice, combine the ingredients, and stir gently to combine.

Into The Bottle

We're excited to share with you a special project that's been a labor of love for us at Matchbook Distilling Co., in collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America. Our goal was simple yet ambitious: to capture the culinary magic of the Maillard reaction in a bottle.  Our inspiration? The humble yet versatile granola. In the production of granola, oats and butter undergo the Maillard reaction, developing a depth of flavor that is both complex and comforting. This process, familiar to our kitchens, is the cornerstone of our latest release: "Maillard" a liqueur by Matchbook Distilling x The Culinary Institute of America.

For those unfamiliar, the Maillard reaction is a chemical process occurring when amino acids and reducing sugars in food react under heat, creating complex flavors and aromas. It's what gives the golden brown crust to bread, the rich flavor to roasted coffee, and the delightful aroma to toasted granola.  Inspired by this, we turned to granola, a staple where the Maillard reaction plays a central role. In its making, oats and butter transform, developing a caramelized depth of flavor of sweet, nutty and roasted components. The aromas of browning butter are familiar to us all and there's nothing quite like it. 

Browning 400 lbs at once was a truly project affirming moment -- we were engulfed in aromas buttery, nutty, caramel.  Memories of croissants and financiers and madeleines at times made it hard to focus on the task at hand -- but we were sure we were on the right path. 

We teamed up with the masters of the Maillard reaction, the chef educators at the CIA. Together we—mostly they—browned 400 lbs. of butter, an incredibly challenging and labor-intensive task that brought out the rich, nutty flavors characteristic of the Maillard reaction. 

Why is it so labor intensive? First, the butter must be slowly warmed to a boil, maintaining those active boiling temperatures until it achieves a significant amount of water evaporation. This takes several hours of careful watching and stirring, making sure the butter doesn't boil over, burn, or catch fire. Boiling out the water allows the butter to reach the high temperatures where the Maillard reaction takes place. It has the added benefit of concentrating the reactants—the sugars and amino acids—creating an ideal environment for the flavorful browning to occur.

Back at the distillery we had prepared a mash of organic oats from Maine.  We fermented the mash for a week before distilling it through our copper pot-column stills.  When we returned from the CIA with our truck filled with browned butter, we immediately poured it into the tank to let it macerate - a process sometimes known as fat washing.  We're capturing the flavor and some of the fat and leaving the milk solids behind for a big browned butter flavor and texture. 

We didn't stop there. To add another layer of depth, we included oats roasted in a coffee roaster and a touch of brown sugar. The result? "Maillard" – a liqueur that's a tribute to the simple yet profound joy of cooking and the alchemy of beverage alcohol production.

"Maillard" isn't just a drink; it's a reflection of our journey in understanding and celebrating the chemistry of cooking. It's an invitation to explore the nuanced world of flavors where science meets passion.

We hope you'll join us in this celebration of the maillard reaction! This is an incredibly limited release with only a few hundred bottles being produced, we expect it to go very quickly. 



More than 90% of CIA students receive scholarships and other forms of financial aid.  Your purchase helps ensure students realize their dreams of attending the world’s premier culinary college.

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