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How to use bourbon?

My husband was given a bottle of Michter's and that's how he discovered he doesn't like bourbon. I don't really drink so I'm not interested in it either.

How can I use it in cooking? We wouldn't want the flavor to be too front-and-center but are open to a background note.

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  1. You know, there are recipes on the Michter website. The obvious bourbon balls come first, but there are others.

    1. Sometimes Non Bourbon folks like the taste when used in sweeter applications
      Ham Glaze
      Sweet Potato Pie
      Candied Sweet Potatoes
      Fruit Cake
      Bread Pudding
      In brines for Pork or Turkey
      In Pâté instead of Cognac or Brandy

      1. a splash added to any kind of chocolate batter.

        1. Bourbon balls taste strongly of bourbon - probably not the best for your purposes.

          Make some into homemade vanilla (just add vanilla beans and wait about 8 weeks, shaking weekly). I usually use vodka for this, but have often seen bourbon suggested as an alternative.

          Use 1 - 2 T. along with butter and brown sugar as a finishing sauce for skillet-toasted corn - "Drunken Corn".

          Bourbon-butter-eggs cooked sauce to serve over bread pudding.

          Derby pie is one example of chocolate/bourbon combination (along with walnuts or pecans). One recipe is http://americanfood.about.com/od/dess...

          1. Chocolate whiskey cake. NYTimes, Melissa Clark.

            People went crazy when I served this w/tart berry sauce.

            or you can send unwanted whiskey to me. please.

            1. A little splash in French Toast egg mixture.

              1. This cake is amazingly easy to make (my daughter helped heavily in making it when she was 3) and is fantastic. Better on days 2 and 3 than the first day, which makes it great for when you have company.


                2 Replies
                1. re: LulusMom

                  Ooh, I may have to make this for dessert this Christmas!

                  1. re: masha

                    I've done just that a few years! Nice to have a special cake that is actually better a day or two after making it, and serves plenty of people. Hope you like it.

                2. There's a vanilla quality to bourbon that you can exploit by adding vanilla beans to a small quantity.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: sr44

                    Or substituting bourbon for vanilla in recipes calling for the latter.

                    1. re: sr44

                      I make my own homemade vanilla extract by splitting two vanilla beans lengthwise and dropping them in the bottle, letting them extract for about a month, and then using that in any application calling for vanilla extract.

                      1. re: mdzehnder

                        And the vanilla beans benefit from the marination, too! Yum!

                    2. I just used some in bacon jam last weekend. Also added some to a slow cooking split pea soup. I've found it layers nicely with smoky, salty flavors. A friend recently made some spicy BBQ sauce that contained smoked paprika and bourbon - outstanding.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ankm2

                        That bourboned bacon jam sounds promising! Is there a bacon jam recipe you recommend?

                        1. re: rainey

                          Most of the recipes online are very similar/identical. I just reduced the coffee, added the bourbon as an extra and some chipotle flakes and boiled it a little longer with the extra liquid. It is so, so good. I've given most away due to persistent requests :-)

                      2. I throw in a shot or two into red wine-sauteed mushrooms and it gives the dish a nice pop.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: nokitchen

                          I flambé sautéed mushrooms in bourbon and serve with steak.

                          We grilled steak last night and the mushrooms were awesome!

                          1. re: nokitchen

                            I grew up in Kentucky and really enjoy this pie. I sometimes use a graham cracker crust instead of pastry, and sometimes use pecans instead of walnuts.

                            I, however, enjoy bourbon. If you don't like the flavor, you probably won't like it much in recipes. Perhaps you could share it with others who do enjoy the spirit?

                            (Edited because I hit enter too soon and hadn't completed my thoughts!)

                          2. There are numerous red meat marinades with bourbon and coffee, bourbon and molasses, you may want to Google them. I have not made one, but they sound interesting.

                            1. it's always welcome in my BBQ sauce or in a marinade for roasted pork or chicken along with SE Asian fish sauce, ginger, and brown sugar/molasses. (hmm I think I need to buy some bourbon)

                              or just keep it around for guests. whiskey sours next summer on the porch.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: hill food

                                Yeah, well, I don't like whiskey at all and my husband just drinks single malt scotches on the rocks. I don't see either of us ever getting into whiskey sours.

                                Shame, really, that he even opened it.

                                1. re: rainey

                                  still it won't go bad, so no rush.

                                  it's always fun and very louche to arrive at a party with an opened bottle or a 5-pack of beer as a hostess gift even if you didn't actually consume any on the way.

                                1. Personally I would save it for entertaining - one less bottle of liquor you would have to buy if you were stocking a bar for a party. Seems like kind of a waste of a good bottle of bourbon to use it up in food recipes.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Atomic76

                                    Totally agree. Bourbon is very popular right now. Something better than Jack Daniels on the bar would be welcomed by a bourbon loving guest

                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                      I find that after a couple of Booker's or Pappy Winkles, everyone loves bourbon. Don't worry, though, they don't go in the chili...just a splash from the handle of 1783 that lives on the counter.


                                  2. i just made some chocolate bourbon by soaking 1/4 cocoa nibs per 1 cup of bourbon in a glass jar for 3 weeks, the strain. initially, it will taste (and smell) harsh and a bit sour. but wait 5 days (at least; 7-10 are better) and the flavor will mellow and deepen.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: wonderwoman

                                      Thanks for that one!

                                      I wasn't a vodka drinker either until I did chocolate vodka and suddenly martinis were interesting. ; >

                                      1. re: rainey

                                        forgot to mention that i also throw in a vanilla bean.

                                        also, make sure you wait at least five days before drinking. your initial impulse will be to toss it (as someone did last year:). but a few days' delay, and your patience will be more than rewarded.

                                        one more thing: i strain it through cheesecloth, but there's still some sediment at the bottom of the bottle which doesn't seem to affect the taste.

                                        1. re: wonderwoman

                                          When I make liqueurs I strain through paper coffee filters. They plug up and need to be replaced but they do a good job and are always available.

                                          1. re: rainey

                                            thanks for the info. i have a batch brewing (two actually, one with cocoa nibs and dried tart cherries) that will be ready in three weeks.

                                    2. I've made this Lane Cake, which uses bourbon in the filling. If the flavor is still too pronounced, you can probably adjust the amount. The original cookbook it comes from suggests using grape juice when making it for children.


                                      1. This is my new 'best' carrot recipe. It's from Edward Lee's Smoke and Pickles.


                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: nikkihwood

                                          Now that's interesting.

                                          We have roast carrots for Thanksgiving and I'd love to dress them up. Only thing is I don't want something thick and sweet with all the other T-day foods that tend to already be starchy.

                                          If you've tried these carrots do you think bourbon would add something to simple roast carrots without the OJ and glazing?

                                          1. re: rainey

                                            anything that might be amenable to brown sugar or molasses is a likely suspect. so yeah carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, pancakes...

                                            1. re: rainey

                                              They are some sweet, but not thick. The bourbon actually cuts the sweetness a somewhat. You could probably reduce the brown sugar and orange juice. On the other hand, maybe a brief soak in the bourbon after roasting would add a nice touch.

                                              hill food, you are correct.!! :)

                                          2. After we make caramel apples and the caramel has set we dip the apples in bourbon just to let the flavor absorb and then we leave them out to dry and serve at parties.

                                            I brush bourbon on whole wheat bread right out of the oven

                                            I add it to french toast batter.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              so please, add to my list: baked apples, bread and french toast!

                                              1. re: hill food

                                                Too funny! Well, I hope you'll give the ideas a try. :)

                                            2. when i make an apple dutch baby pancake, i like to warm maple syrup over low heat with a splash of bourbon and lemon zest. lemon wedges squeezed on top. to die for!

                                              1. bourbon bacon jam! i sell it to people as the holidays approach. everyone raves!

                                                1. It's funny how things come back around. My grandmother, born in the 1880's (deceased since 1969), always added a tablespoon or two in her cakes and pies - probably in other things too. She was known as one of the best cooks around, so, maybe give it a try. I used 2 T. in my pecan pie at Thanksgiving. You could not taste it, but it made a pie that I normally dislike into something very good.

                                                  1. I use it in place of Shao Hsing rice wine for Chinese cooking.

                                                    I also put it my pecan pie, and use it to make vanilla.

                                                    1. Bourbon is a good substitute for brandy in most dishes. Also any kind of whiskey, rum or rye. I use 1/4 c. in pumpkin pie.

                                                      There's the standard egg nog, pound cake, etc.