Bourbon Is The Boozy Ingredient You Should Add To Your Homemade Jams

Homemade jam is a labor of love. With all the fruit preparation, steamy stirring, and boiling jars, you want to be sure you're cooking up a batch of spread that wouldn't be mistaken for a common grocery brand. Learning to add special enhancements like rosemary to pear jam can make all the difference between a ho-hum jar and one that will make everyone beg for the recipe. When you've got plans for cooking jam from your favorite fruit, reaching for your favorite bourbon bottle is a delicious way to add some personality and a little kick to the batch.

Bourbon's natural sweetness marries well with fruit and adds toasty caramel notes to jams, helping balance all that sugar. Just like a vanilla bean adds interest to baked goods, bourbon creates luscious background flavors. Look no further than our list of the best bourbon cocktails to see what fruits pair well with the boozy addition: Apples, peaches, citrus fruits, berries, and cherries all make good choices for your jam pairing plans.

How to spike your jam

We'd recommend you choose a middle-priced bourbon for making your jam. Cheap spirits don't have much depth of flavor, and adding heat to expensive bourbon can burn off the delicious taste you're paying for. Don't add the bourbon early in the cooking process for the same reason: You'll lose the flavors. Just a teaspoon or two per 8-ounce cup of cooked jam added once the jam is thickened and nearly finished is enough to layer in flavor and keep the fruit in balance. Don't be tempted to overcomplicate this boozy jam with additional spices or mixtures of multiple fruits, or you'll risk losing the character of the core fruit and bourbon flavors.

Of course, fruit is not the only combination that makes for a great bourbon-laced jam. We love the sweet and salty umami layers in a savory bacon jam with bourbon served on a juicy burger or warm brunch biscuit. Sweet onion jam would also benefit from a splash of the golden spirit for a fun condiment to complement your next charcuterie board. The warm flavors of bourbon bring an extra lift to enhance these jam recipes with your own special twist.