HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Why bourbon for ham glaze?

rworange Dec 22, 2011 12:25 PM

Would plain old whisky such as a blended Scotch work?

It seems every recipe for ham that includes booze, specifies bourbon. Why?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Anita Nap RE: rworange Dec 22, 2011 12:30 PM

    Bourbon is whiskey (from a particular region in the southern US) and generally has a different flavour profile than, say, an irish whiskey or a canadian whiskey. Just like you can have sparkling wine but unless it's from the champagne region it is not champagne.

    The short answer is, you can use any whiskey but make sure you taste/smell it first. A bourbon can be deeper/heavier in the nose and taste whereas a regular old whiskey might not be. You might have to adjust with some additional herbs/spices to get the deeper tones but it will likely be fine.

    1. twyst RE: rworange Dec 22, 2011 12:30 PM

      "It seems every recipe for ham that includes booze, specifies bourbon. Why?"

      Because of the way bourbon tastes. Scotch would work technically, but I cant imagine the taste of scotch being one that I want to give to my food, and I love scotch.

      1 Reply
      1. re: twyst
        alkapal RE: twyst Dec 22, 2011 09:05 PM

        agree 100 %

      2. r
        rjbh20 RE: rworange Dec 22, 2011 12:53 PM

        Bourbon usually has a lot of vanilla and other "sweetish" flavorings from the oak barrels, which which makes it work well in both sweet and savory dishes. Scotch, though also aged in oak, has a peaty, smoky sharpness that doesn't mix as well.

        As to the bourbon/ham connection, well they're both southern and just taste good together.

        3 Replies
        1. re: rjbh20
          bushwickgirl RE: rjbh20 Dec 22, 2011 02:35 PM

          "As to the bourbon/ham connection, well they're both southern and just taste good together."

          And that's it in a nutshell (or oak barrel).

          1. re: bushwickgirl
            Joebob RE: bushwickgirl Dec 22, 2011 04:41 PM

            I made the Crack Ham Glaze with bourbon for the first time last week and DAMN it was the best glazed ham I've ever had.

            1. re: Joebob
              alkapal RE: Joebob Dec 22, 2011 09:06 PM

              here also done with brandy -- http://www.marthastewart.com/280530/h...

        2. chefj RE: rworange Dec 22, 2011 05:31 PM

          Brandy and Dark Rum would mock the flavor profile of the Bourbon much more closely than Scotch or blended Whiskey.

          1. AreBe RE: rworange Dec 23, 2011 08:41 AM

            From 27CFR: "Bourbon whisky", "rye whisky", "wheat whisky", "malt whisky", or "rye
            malt whisky" is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a
            fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye, wheat, malted barley,
            or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored at not more than 125° proof in
            charred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of
            the same type.
            Seems most all of us agree that bourbon is best for this glaze, but one of the other whiskies aged in the "charred new oak containers" probably would also be good.

            1. rworange RE: rworange Dec 23, 2011 06:47 PM

              Thanks all. I don't drink liquor much so i was hoping to use the bottle of blended scotch i had. i broke down and bought the bourbon. Both are cheapo versions, TJ and Evan Williams, but I can see the point to the bourbon which is a bit more complex with the flavors some noted.

              Show Hidden Posts