Alcohol Professor: Baking with Bourbon

Here’s another recent piece I wrote for Alcohol Professor about bringing bourbon into the kitchen and doing more than just sipping on it. Its rich flavors make the ideal vanilla substitute in most baked goods recipes — like cookies, brownies and cakes.

Thanks to Whisky Chicks founder and author Linda Ruffenach, Chef Bobby Benjamin of Butchertown Grocery, and Chef John Castro, formerly of Bardstown Bourbon Co., for the wise words about all things baking and bourbon! They shared the important dos and don’ts when it comes to baking with the brown spirit.

According to Chef Castro, the secret to cooking with bourbon is “a playful spirit and an ego that that will allow you to know when it’s better just to drink it.”

I love that. And Linda also concurs. She says, “You do not want the bourbon to overpower the dessert, plus the alcohol in bourbon can compromise the science in baking where the end result is not what you want.”

Also in the article is Linda’s recipe for Flourless Chocolate Brownies. Yum!


As forced hibernation continues throughout the world because of COVID-19 lockdown measures, many people have found themselves returning to a favorite pastime that had been shelved due to, well, the simple lack of time. The art of baking is gaining momentum as the quarantine continues, offering both a goal-driven activity and a way to make more food without going to the store (and here’s what to do if you can’t find yeast, by the way). Let’s face it, there is only so much Netflix one can watch.

While following a recipe to a T is paramount to how the creation turns out, there are ways to add unique flavors and add twists to classic baked goods. We’re talking about bourbon here, folks, and if you have some on hand as a basic quarantine staple like most of us do, then don’t be afraid to bring it into the kitchen!


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