Feel Free To Substitute Whiskey For Bourbon In Cooking

Whiskey is great for sipping on or using to make cocktails — but it can also be great for cooking. You can use whiskey to make sweet and savory recipes, whether as a glaze for meat dishes or an ingredient you've chosen to incorporate into a batter for a complex, flavorful dessert.

If you've already discovered the joys of cooking with whiskey, you may have a collection of recipes that put it to good use. However, what should you do if you plan on making whiskey-infused recipes but discover you've run out of your go-to whiskey? If you have bourbon — a specific type of American whiskey — at home, you can use that as a substitution.

Swapping out whiskey for bourbon in a recipe couldn't be easier. The two can be substituted ounce for ounce, so you don't even need to do any extra converting to use one instead of the other. 

Bourbon can be sweeter than other whiskeys

While bourbon can easily replace whiskey in practical terms, you may still want to consider the taste difference between the two spirits. Bourbon typically has a sweeter flavor profile than whiskey. Specifically, its flavor profile often consists of vanilla, caramel, and sometimes chocolate; it has a softer profile versus the earthy, smoky bite of whiskey. 

Therefore, if you plan to use bourbon instead of whiskey, you'll want to consider that the dish may turn out a bit sweeter. Of course, in some recipes, this may be a perk. Namely, a bit more sweetness is usually welcome in desserts. 

For example, Tasting Table's recipe for whiskey-caramel cheesecake bars. While ample sweetness is already present in this dessert, it certainly wouldn't hurt to infuse it with the subtle, vanilla-caramel notes bourbon brings to the table if swapping it out for whiskey. Or, if you're going to use a whiskey glaze to elevate a bread recipe, consider using bourbon to impart smoky, sugary undertones, whether you plan to bake a sweet bread loaf or a savory one.