Bourbon is great in everyone's glass as a beverage to relax with after a hard day of work. 🍷
But did you know that bourbon can also be a great cooking ingredient for your recipes? Try Honey Bourbon Shrimp or Honey Bourbon Chicken in Crockpot or Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
If you're put out at the idea of putting alcohol in your food, then remember that white wine is often used in many recipes.
Bourbon is no different!
Actually, it is even better in so many ways, especially during the fall season when you need hearty and warm meals to keep you going in the cold temperature.
Bourbon can make your fall recipes great by tenfold just with its small addition.
Do you want to know how bourbon does that? Or maybe you want to know if bourbon has any benefits for you? Well don't worry, because we are here to answer all your questions about bourbon!
Some basics about Bourbon
Bourbon is essentially a type of whiskey, although many alcohol aficionados consider bourbon as a cheap knockoff of Scottish whiskey, but don’t let them fool you!
Bourbon is a classy brand of alcohol in its own right and incredibly versatile.
For example, can you use scotch whiskey to make your brisket? But you can use bourbon!
And this is what makes bourbon so special and unique amongst alcohol! Thanks to its rich smoky and vanilla flavor, bourbon makes for a fantastic cooking ingredient in many recipes. But how did bourbon come to be?
Origin of Bourbon
Bourbon is a French name linked to The House of Bourbon which produced several kings for France. But the actual alcohol is a purely American creation from the state of Kentucky.
In fact, 95% of bourbon is produced in Kentucky alone!
And if you think that Americans don’t take their alcohol seriously then you are making a big mistake!
There are strict rules on how bourbon is made, and only if they are applied will a bottle of alcohol be labelled as bourbon!
We cannot list all the rules here, but some of the rules include things like using only charred new-oak barrels for aging and adding only water to dilute the alcohol and nothing else.
The rule about the charred new-oak barrels for aging is especially important, as that is what gives bourbon its trademark vanilla and caramel undertones!
Benefits of Bourbon
Okay, alcohol is bad for you. We don’t need to tell you that. But do you know another magical fact about alcohol?
It can actually be good for you and your health if you take it in small amounts.
Our ancestors had survived long winters only due to alcohol!
It's just when you start drinking it too much does it give you adverse effects.
Otherwise, some types of alcohol are so good for you that even doctors advise you to use it! Bourbon for instance definitely tops the good alcohol list and we will give you all the reasons for it!
1. People think that all kinds of alcohol lead to weight gain. While that may be true with your average plain beer, it is just not true with bourbon. This American native drink comes with no carbohydrates, fats and extremely low sugar content, making it an extremely healthy drink physique wise and also a healthy cooking ingredient! If you are looking for a diet drink, maybe you should consider bourbon instead of diet coke!
- A glass of alcohol is said to relax the mind, but nothing does that better than bourbon. Because it is perhaps the only alcohol that contains antioxidants, which are said to reduce oxidative stress and reduce cell damage. So not only will a glass of bourbon let your mind relax, but it will also give your body a much needed break!
- These days people are waking up more and more to the adverse effects gluten can have on our bodies. It is bad for our digestive system, leaves you bloated and feeling fatigued among other bad things for our health. But there is no hiding from gluten, even in our drinks! The one exception for this is bourbon, which is completely gluten free thanks to its long and intensive distillation process!
- One of the major reasons for almost all the health problems is bad cholesterol, which is available in our modern diet in copious amounts. Even most of our cooking ingredients come packed with cholesterol. This becomes especially true when we are cooking meat, as they are already so filled with fat and cholesterol. Which is why it is so important that you include bourbon in these heavy meat based recipes, since it will increase good cholesterol to fight against the bad cholesterol. This way you can at least negate the high cholesterol of your brisket and be able to enjoy it with delicious bourbon flavor as an added bonus!
Cooking with Bourbon
Most people think that cooking with alcohol is something that is reserved for the fancy Michelin star restaurants, with their expensive wines and what not.
But this is not the case with bourbon, which is not only very affordable to get but is also super simple to include when you are cooking.
Whether it is a savory dish or a sweet dessert, bourbon can make for an excellent addition. With its taste profile of vanilla and smoky caramel flavors, bourbon can add a unique nuance to any recipe you choose!
But there are still some things you should keep in mind when you are thinking of using bourbon as a cooking ingredient.
- The number one rule of using bourbon as a cooking ingredient is that it must be good in quality. Just remember that if bourbon tastes good in your glass, it will also be good in your food. Just buy a good bottle of bourbon and use it for your cooking.
- You should check the alcohol percentage of your bourbon before you use it for cooking. You see, whenever you use any alcoholic beverage for cooking the general advice is to heat it up until all the alcohol evaporates and you are only left with flavor and nothing else. No one likes to taste actual alcohol in their brisket! But here is the catch! Alcohol with a higher percentage needs more cooking time to evaporate. There is also another reason why you should be careful with high percentage bourbon, as it can make your meat or fat coagulate really fast. This is a good thing in jellies, jam and dessert, but not when you are using bourbon to make marinade sauce!
What recipes goes best with Bourbon?
Staring from Thanksgiving Turkey, to your pecan bourbon pie or roasted chicken. You can also make beautiful roasted potatoes with bourbon as its marinade. Bourbon also works with every kind of meat, whether it's beef, pork or chicken. You can even use it with seafood like scallops, salmon, or shrimps!
Some of the common ways to use bourbon is to make a marinade sauce out of it, or make a delicious bourbon glaze that will go great with any vegetable. The baseline is that bourbon is highly versatile as a cooking ingredient, which can leave you with a lot of space to experiment!
Alcohol gets a bad rep, and for many good reasons. But it's also important to understand that the fault lies with how we use them, and not the actual thing. Bourbon is one alcohol that can offer us many benefits if we use it responsibly. We hope this guide has shown you the good side of bourbon and that you’ll consider it as a must have ingredient for your kitchen pantry!
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