Enhance Your Dishes with Bourbon Butter Key

When it comes to the signature ingredients of the cold weather season, bourbon certainly stands out from the crowd. With a gorgeous golden color and a flavor that can lean both sweet and savory, it is tempting to incorporate it into any and every recipe. The good news is, you can. All you need to do is use it to make rich and luxurious bourbon butter.

Yet bourbon on its own can be hard to cook and bake with. In many situations, simply drenching food in pure liquor can be overpowering, while in others the dish may not be receptive to all that extra liquid. What you need to truly infuse any recipe with bourbon is the right vehicle for the spirit. The solution? Compound butter. 

Compound butter is butter that has had additional ingredients incorporated into it to give it a new flavor. You may have encountered roasted garlic compound butter, chive compound butter, or even crawfish compound butter before, but the possibilities extend to bourbon as well. Since butter, like many other fats, is an excellent flavor carrier, combining it with bourbon creates a more workable and balanced tool for imparting the delicious complexity of the spirit to almost anything.

How to make compound butter

butter in stand mixer

Making bourbon butter is a very straightforward process. First, select a high-quality, unsalted butter. Since it is the star of the show, ensure that it has a taste and texture you enjoy. You can check out our ranking of the best butters or select a favorite of your own. Next, soften the butter by leaving it out at room temperature for a while or by using the microwave for just a few seconds. Add it to a food processor or stand mixer along with a few tablespoons of your chosen bourbon, then blitz it until all the ingredients are combined. Scoop out the fresh compound butter, shape it into a log (wax paper can be helpful here), and chill until firm.

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Once your butter is ready to use, the real fun begins. Since bourbon can contain tasting notes of everything from caramel and nuts to smoke and tobacco, your bourbon butter can be applied to all kinds of dishes successfully. Put a pat of this butter on top of pancakes and waffles to complement the maple syrup and add a sophisticated oaky bite. Spread it onto rolls with a sprinkle of smoked salt for an autumnal appetizer. Meat and vegetables are fair game, too. Finishing items like filet mignon or roasted carrots with this butter will intensify savory, umami flavors while also brightening them with a touch of sweetness.

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