10 Ways To Use Bourbon Beyond Cocktails

We can't deny it; we're all about a nice bourbon-based cocktail when we're home relaxing or out at a bar. After all, we haven't ranked the best bourbon cocktails for nothing. Of course, a bourbon to sip on its own without any ingredients added (except for ice if you're into that) is also a go-to. When most of us think of bourbon, we consider those two options: to enjoy it in a cocktail or on its own. But we're here to tell you that there's so much more you can do with bourbon.

Whether you're in the mood to take your desserts to new heights or want to enhance the flavor of your pork or chicken, bourbon has you covered. Thanks to the unique flavors of bourbon that can range from oak to vanilla, dried fruits, and caramel, this amazing spirit makes for a wonderful addition to both sweet and savory dishes. Here are 10 ways to use bourbon beyond cocktails.

Use it in a marinade

There is nothing like a good marinade that can amp up a piece of meat to absolute perfection. Bourbon is the perfect addition to any great marinade thanks to its delicious smoky-tasting notes that pair perfectly with all meats. However, it's not just this smoky flavor that makes bourbon a must in marinades; it also helps tenderize the meat by breaking down the enzymes, providing an extra juicy steak that's melt-in-your-mouth.

Add bourbon to a marinade that's already been made of ingredients such as brown sugar, honey or Worcestershire sauce (depending on your preference), or build it directly in the pan after the meat has been removed by adding bourbon and bringing it to a simmer. There are many ways to go about making a marinade with bourbon, and whatever you decide to do, you'll likely be pleased with how delicious your steak comes out.

Add it to a jam

We all love a good jam to put on our toast in the morning or preserves to add to our charcuterie board when hosting guests in the evening. That fruity sweetness is never overpowering and provides just the right amount of added flavor to whatever we are enjoying the jam on. However, what if you could amp up the flavor or the jam even more?

A simple and easy way to enhance the flavor of jam is by adding additional ingredients. While you can try more typical ingredients, such as lime or citrus juice to bring out the flavor, go with the bourbon, especially for your peach preserves. The smokey notes of the bourbon will surely compliment the sweetness of the juicy peaches to perfection. If peaches aren't your thing, play around with other fruit jams and bourbon to see which one speaks to you.

Bake with it

When it comes to baking, many at-home bakers have that one special ingredient they love using in their recipes. Whether it's to make that cake extra moist or to pump up the flavor of any sweet treat, those ingredients can be anything from apple sauce to mayonnaise. While we appreciate any special ingredient one likes to use in their baking, bourbon is something you need to try regardless of any other.

Certain bourbons can offer hints of baking spices that include clove and butterscotch, while some even offer a creamy caramel flavor, which all makes for the perfect flavor for any dessert you're mastering at home. We especially love adding bourbon to our cookies. Our favorite is this chocolate bourbon cherry cookie recipe, which will make you a believer. By adding this spirit to the mix, the flavor will pop to a whole new level you never even thought possible.

Try it when roasting meats

Many of us enjoy a bourbon-based cocktail paired with our pork or steak, and for a good reason. Bourbon is aged in barrels, so you get this incredibly oak flavor that pairs nicely with the savoriness of any kind of meat. No wonder we like enjoying them together at a meal. However, we can always take it up a notch by combining the two to make a sauce that will enhance any roast.

We're all about the candied pork recipe that makes for a super juicy and flavorful pork shoulder. Once the pork has been slow-roasted, it's then time to add the perfect sauce made of brown sugar and, you guessed it, bourbon. The finished result is not only a flavorful, juicy pork that will wow you and your dinner guests, but you also get this crispy crust that you'll want to devour time and time again.

Soak pecans in it

While many people don't necessarily think bourbon and nuts are great together, the truth is that they are perfectly complementary. Bourbon has tasting notes that can be added to many items to help bring out the extra flavor, and adding it with nuts is no different, especially a sweeter nut like the buttery pecan.

The Kentucky bourbon balls recipe knows the importance of soaking pecans in bourbon to help bring out that boozy flavor. Simply pour the bourbon over a bowl of pecans and let them soak for a few hours before roasting. While these nuts are pretty darn good on their own straight from the oven (after they've cooled), using them in this no-bake dessert recipe also does the trick. The nuts are added to the dough, which also has bourbon in it, so there is quite a punch in these tasty treats that every bourbon lover will surely appreciate.

Master a bourbon BBQ sauce

When it comes to an outdoor barbecue, it's all about the grill and, of course, dousing whatever is on that grill with the right sauce. Whether it's chicken or ribs, the right BBQ sauce can help make all of your grilling dreams come true. Sure, you can simply slab your chicken with any ol' BBQ sauce, but we say if you really want it to stand out, create your own with a splash of bourbon in it.

A bourbon with lots of oak flavor and a touch of pepper (staying away from anything with too many sweet notes or caramel or vanilla) will make for the perfect savory BBQ sauce you'll want to smother your chicken in. We can't get enough of the bourbon-chile barbecue sauce recipe that combines spice and smoke for a mouth-watering finish. Plus, the peach preserves and brown sugar help add just the right amount of sweetness you'll want.

See what it can do to your dessert sauce

Whether it's hot fudge on your ice cream sundae or a crème anglaise to go with your cakes and cobblers, everyone has their go-to dessert sauce they can't get enough of as a topping to their sweets. And, of course, caramel sauce to go over just about anything. While not all of these dessert sauces may work with bourbon, we know for a fact that caramel sauce surely does.

Take the bourbon caramel sauce recipe, for example. We love this recipe because it adds just the right amount of booziness to your sweets without overpowering any of the flavors. Instead, a bourbon with tasting notes of vanilla and caramel (and baking spices, of course) will only enhance the flavor of this sauce you already love and crave. The recipe also calls for sea salt, which not only helps bring out all these flavors but adds just a touch of salt for an impressive finish.

Give your glaze a kick

Creating the perfect glaze for your weekday salmon dinner is just as essential as making sure it's cooked at the right temperature. You want your salmon to come out delicious, with a nice and flaky texture, and the right kind of glaze can undoubtedly help that goal. There are many ways to go about making a good glaze for your fish dish, and our favorite, by far, is the ones that call for bourbon.

A bourbon that has a lot of spice and fruity notes, such as banana and raisin, can help make for a tasty glaze. The reason being is that these particular flavors can help complement your savory dish and harmonize perfectly for one incredible bite. This bourbon-glazed salmon recipe gets it right by using a bourbon that is neither too fancy nor too cheap to help create the perfect amount of added flavor.

Create a bourbon ice cream slushie

No matter the time of year, whether it be hot in the summer or cold in the winter, we love having some ice cream. It's an easy dessert that is refreshing and always satisfying. The best part is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy it. You can have it in a waffle cone or a bowl covered with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and plenty of chopped peanuts. No matter how you have it, ice cream will satisfy any sweet craving.

We especially like this hot honey-bourbon slushie recipe that offers a different way to enjoy vanilla ice cream that's full of spice. To make these boozy dessert treats, the ice cream is combined with honey infused with chiles for a flavor-packed kick. Then the bourbon comes in to help add a hint of smokiness for an adult slushie that's unlike anything you've ever sipped before.

Whip up bourbon mashed potatoes

Oh, mashed potatoes, how we adore you. We admire how mashed potatoes can turn any meal into the ultra comfort dish that resonates home cooked deliciousness. Not only are mashed potatoes ultra thick and creamy, but they can be tailored to your specific desires. They can be buttery or enhanced with garlic and chive, and some even like them with truffle or cheese. But you're missing out if you haven't tried mashed potatoes with bourbon yet.

Create the perfect boozy mashed by adding bourbon alongside the cream and butter and then topped with crispy bits of bacon. If you're not looking to add bacon to your potatoes, no worries. Instead, make this type of potatoes when you're enjoying something savory to pair with them, such as any type of meat you'd normally want to enjoy bourbon with, including pork or steak. Who knew there were so many other ways to use bourbon beyond cocktails?