From Cocktails to Desserts, These Are Our Most Irresistible Recipes That Use Bourbon
Smoky and rich, bourbon is a star ingredient in cakes, fruit desserts, glazed ham, smoked pork chops, and cocktails galore. Here, recipes that deliciously demonstrate the spirits versatility.
The smoky appeal of bourbon makes it a hardworking and rewarding ingredient at every stage of a meal and in every season. It is has the versatility to influence a mouth-watering range of cocktails, sauces, pan juices, entrées, sides—such as the bourbon-glazed sweet potatoes seen here—cakes, and even pies.
From the liquor tray, silky bourbon adds body and depth to ageless classics (the Manhattan) as well as season-specific drinks like the warming citrus-sharp toddies and cream-thick eggnogs of winter. It also works in summer's leaner cocktails celebrating grilled stone fruits.
In the kitchen, bourbon has an affinity for many of our favorite ingredients. Paired with comfort foods like cooked apples, peaches, and toasty pecans, the oak -barrel softness of this quintessentially American spirit brings out the best in each. The velvet sweetness of bourbon also makes it a wonderful dressing and glaze for salty and savory dishes, ranging from the sauce for roast turkey to the pan juices for smoked pork chops. Bourbon and pigs get on very well together: Cooked down with shallots, bourbon adds depth to a portable bacon jam destined to become a picnic staple, and reduced to a sticky syrup with apricot jam, bourbon adds the defining touch to a spectacular glazed ham.
And then there is dessert, where bourbon's presence extends from a quick tablespoonful to over a cup for a drenching. It can be subtle or defining. Brown sugar, butter, cream, eggs, and chocolate are voluptuous partners for bourbon that are brought into focus and given structure by the dark liquor's toasty fire.
Bourbon-Glazed Smoked Pork Chops
Bourbon's toasty sweetness is deployed both as a quick marinade and final touch to the pan juices for smoked pork chops.
Easy Peach Potpie
Did we mention that peaches and bourbon are best friends? Bring them together for a playdate in this delectably simple potpie.
Flourless Chocolate-Date Cake with Salted-Caramel Sauce
The intense flavor of this mousse-like cake that's drenched in caramel comes from the purée of dates cooked in bourbon. Do not skip the final flourish of flaky salt!
It's the ultimate bourbon cocktail. If there is a secret to the agelessly perfect Manhattan it is the quality of the cherry on the top (er, bottom). Whatever you do, skip the artificially red one and go for the good stuff.
Take this savory, spicy, and eminently spreadable bacon jam on your next picnic.
Three-Tier Candied Pecan Cake
Studded with crunchy pecans and filled with warm pears, this statuesque cake is made for celebration.
Bourbon-and-Brown-Sugar Cake with Berries
The suggestion of sweetness in bourbon is emphasized by brown sugar in this cake that incorporates a bounty of fresh, seasonal fruit.
Bourbon is the backbone of this classic eggnog. Adding a hefty pinch of salt to rich eggnog is the simple trick to calibrate this festive cupful perfectly.
An absolute classic, mixing bourbon with muddled sugar and bitters—and a cool splash of water—yields the darkly quiet cocktail whose appeal never diminishes.
Chocolate-Caramel Swiss Roll
A dark bourbon-cocoa glaze is brushed onto supple chocolate cake before it is filled with whipped cream and caramel. This impressive dessert will create a sudden silence around the supper table as spoons scrape plates.
Apricot-Bourbon Glazed Ham
The tang of apricot jam and fresh lemon juice combined with bourbon's inherent smokiness create a finger-licking glaze for salty ham.
Spoil everyone at your table with an individual potpie, filled with the comfort of warm apples and allspice, and fragrant with bourbon.
Kentucky Bourbon-Brown Butter Cake
Grilled Peach Old-Fashioned
This luscious riff on the more austere original Old-Fashioned is made memorable by the caramelized richness of the grilled summer stone fruit paired with fragrant thyme.
Bourbon Hot Toddy
Mellow honey and sharp lemon juice balance the dark warmth of bourbon.