How to Use Bourbon and Whiskey for Cooking

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How to Use Bourbon and Whiskey for Cooking

While drinking bourbon and whiskey is hard to beat, cooking with it comes in a very close second. When done right, the nuance in flavors shines through and can help you elevate just about every dish.  

Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or new to the culinary scene, this guide will take you on a flavorful journey. It will show you how to use bourbon and whiskey to transform simple dishes into extraordinary experiences. 

Bourbon and Whiskey Are Versatile in Cooking

Bourbon whiskey’s sweet yet bold character makes it an adaptable ingredient in the kitchen, adding depth and complexity to lots of different dishes. 

Here are some general tips for cooking with bourbon: 

  • Use it as a marinade: The high alcohol content of bourbon makes it an excellent tenderizer, so use it to marinate meats like pork or chicken before grilling or roasting. 
  • Make a glaze: Mix equal parts bourbon and honey or maple syrup to make a delicious glaze for roasted vegetables or grilled meats. 
  • Add it to sauces: Bourbon’s smoky and sweet flavors can elevate sauces like BBQ or a sticky Asian sauce, adding another layer of complexity to your dishes. 
  • Infuse it into desserts: Bourbon’s caramel notes work well in desserts like ice cream, cakes, and pies. You can even infuse bourbon into whipped cream or caramel sauces. 

Cooking with bourbon and whiskey isn’t complicated. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new combinations. Just remember you only need an ounce or two (one shot) to add that unique taste. Anything more, and you could overpower the dish. 

Bourbon and Whiskey with Chicken

One of the best meats to cook with bourbon and whiskey is chicken.  The flavors pair beautifully, and there are endless ways to use them together. 

Here are a few simple recipes to get you started: 

Bourbon-Glazed Chicken Skewers 

Elevate any BBQ with these bourbon-glazed chicken skewers. But make a lot, because you’ll be amazed at how quickly they disappear. 


  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes 
  • ½ cup bourbon whiskey – Rebel 100 or Ezra Brooks 99  
  • ¼ cup soy sauce 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • ¼ cup honey 
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil 


  1. In a bowl, combine the bourbon, soy sauce, garlic, honey, and oil. 
  2. Add the chicken cubes to the marinade and toss until evenly coated. 
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. 
  4. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. 
  5. Thread the chicken onto skewers and discard the remaining marinade. 
  6. Grill for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until fully cooked and slightly charred on the outside. 
  7. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or over rice. 

Whiskey BBQ Sauce 

Another way to incorporate bourbon whiskey into chicken is through a great BBQ sauce. 



  1. In a small sauce pot, mix together the whiskey and BBQ sauce. 
  2. Cook it on medium heat until it begins to boil. 
  3. Turn the heat on low and allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes. Careful not to cook too long so it doesn’t thicken too much or burn. 
  4. Use the sauce for sides or main dishes, or just dip some fries in it. 

Bourbon and Whiskey in Desserts 

As mentioned, bourbon’s sweet and caramel flavors make it perfect for desserts. Here are two easy ways to incorporate bourbon into your sweet treats: 

Bourbon-Spiked Apple Pie 

Bourbon notes go incredible with certain flavors, and one of those is apple. Take your apple pie to the next level with a splash of bourbon. 


  • 1 pre-made pie crust 
  • 6 cups sliced apples (Granny Smith or Honeycrisp work well) 
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 
  • ⅓ cup flour 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • A pinch of nutmeg and allspice 
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut into small cubes 


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). 
  2. Mix the apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in a bowl. 
  3. Add in the bourbon and stir until evenly coated. 
  4. Pour the apple mixture into the pie crust and dot with butter. 
  5. Place the second pie crust on top and crimp the edges to seal. 
  6. Make a few slits at the top of the pie for ventilation. 
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown. 
  8. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream on top. 

Bourbon Caramel Sauce 

Another versatile sauce that’s perfect for drizzling over ice cream, cakes, or even using as a dip for fresh fruit. 



  1. In a saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat until it turns into a golden-brown syrup. 
  2. Carefully add in the heavy cream and stir until well combined. 
  3. Stir in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. 
  4. Once the sauce has thickened, remove it from heat and let it cool slightly. 
  5. Slowly pour in the bourbon whiskey while continuously stirring until fully incorporated. 
  6. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to a week. 

Of course, the best thing about cooking with bourbon and whiskey is if things go south, you can always just order pizza and drink your bourbon instead. 

Ready to stock up? Find some great Lux Row Distillers bourbon and whiskey near you. 

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