Food Tastes Better With Bourbon in It

5 whiskey-inflected condiments that are predictably delicious

By The Editors

Food Tastes Better With Bourbon in It
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28 December 2015

If you are a discerning guy — and if you are reading this you must be — you probably keep an eye out for food that delivers more than what you can find in your local supermarket.You probably also know that imbibing whiskey is more popular today than it has been since before Mad Men was actually taking place live on Madison Avenue. Bring the two things together and what do you get? Crafty condiments and other foodstuffs with a little kick. The kind that comes from rye, corn and barrel-aging. Herein: five such staples that have you covered for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Bluegrass Soy Sauce
Too often, soy sauce is just a vehicle for delivering sodium to your ‘buds without a saltshaker. But this stuff is worthy of your grass-fed Argentine porterhouse or high-end tuna sashimi. Made with non-GMO soy beans, red winter wheat and the same limestone water as Kentucky bourbon before being aged in ex-Woodford Reserve barrels, it has a smoky-sweet, bourbon-driven flavor. Plus, they’re “the only micro-brewed soy sauce in America,” according to founder Matt Jamie.

Kentucky Knows Bourbon Barrel-Aged Coffee
There are plenty of bourbon coffees out there now, but not many are aged in a Pappy Van Winkle barrel. Tony Davis at Kentucky Knows was lucky enough to acquire some ex-Pappy barrels, taking his already-worth-your-time bourbon coffee — 100% Arabica beans roasted in a 74-year-old Probat roaster and aged in Buffalo Trace barrels — up to the top shelf.

Red Clay Southern Hot Sauce
This stuff isn’t Tabasco, which also uses bourbon barrels to ferment its chili peppers, but sanitizes them of all bourbon traces first. Chef Geoff Rhyne, who launched acclaimed Charleston seafood restaurant The Ordinary, specifically hunts for small-batch bourbon barrels with the flavor nuances he wants to use to ferment the peppers for his sauces. “The ‘devil's cut’ in the staves transforms into the ‘angel's share’ as the peppers ferment,” says Sean Mahoney of Red Clay, adding “tons of character.”

Sosu Barrel-Aged Sriracha
Most srirachas pickle their peppers in vinegar, which does little to enhance the flavors of the ingredients. Sosu departs from that, fermenting and aging them instead in whiskey barrels, a process that founder Lisa Murphy says “develops a very complex flavor in our sriracha — spicy, fruity and smoky.”

Noble Tonic 01 Tuthilltown Bourbon Maple Syrup
The flavors of maple and bourbon combine so well that there are not just bourbon-ized maple syrups, but also maple-flavored bourbons, too. What Mikuni Wild Harvest has done is take that pairing and gone crafty with it, maturing their syrup in barrels from noted New York-based micro-distillery Tuthilltown.

—Richard Thomas

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