Rethinking Bourbon Barrels
Think that barrels are best used for aging Bourbon? Think again. A growing number of food and beverage producers around the country are repurposing these discarded vessels to add luscious caramel and spice to everyday edibles. Here are seven ways to add a touch of whiskey to your tea, coffee and even your morning pancakes.
Made with non-GMO whole soybeans and the same wheat and water used to make Bourbon, this soy sauce is fermented in a proper koji room, and then aged in the used Bourbon barrels. The result is a tasty blend of umami and vanilla sweetness that’s perfect atop a Southern-inspired stir-fry.
This condiment company still crushes its mustard seeds in the estate’s original stone mill, which dates back to 1900. The ground mustards are then aged in Bourbon barrels for a few weeks to further infuse flavor. This grainy, robust Dijon-style mustard is only one of the 20-plus varieties available. Others include Bar Harbor Real Ale and Summer Harvest, which are made with Maine blueberries.
This fermented Chinese tea is packed into barrels fresh from Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillery. The moist, charred wall of charcoal wood softens the tea’s earthy flavors and adds bold caramel aromatics.
Unroasted green coffee absorbs any flavors it comes in contact with—a weakness that Ceremony Coffee founders Ronnie Haas and Andy Sprenger, the head roaster, exploited. By conditioning the beans in former Bourbon barrels prior to roasting, they yield delicious notes of sugarcane, dates and pound cake.
Bourbon with breakfast? Can’t beat that. This syrup is made in small batches and aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels that once held the spirit for seven years. The 2012 limited-edition syrup has sold out, but the 2013 edition is now available. If you like the Bourbon-aged syrup, consider sampling those aged in rum or brandy barrels, too.
From the makers of Town Branch Bourbon, this new kid on the Kentucky’s whiskey block is a rich, complex stout brewed and aged with the company’s Café Citadelle Haitian coffee, then further aged in one of its own Bourbon barrels.
Noble uses single-grain Bourbon barrels sourced from New York’s Tuthilltown to add a bit of richness to various syrups and vinegars. The barrels are first used to age amber maple syrup, and once emptied, the same barrels are refilled with Sherry vinegar. The result? Vinegar featuring nuanced notes of maple and caramel, and a rich, nutty flavor of Sherry. Mixed with olive oil, this treat is just the topping for a salad dressing.
- 2Bluegrass Soy Sauce
- 3Raye’s Old World Gourmet Mustard
- 4Bourbon Barrel Puer Tea
- 5“Barrel-Conditioned” Coffee
- 7Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout
- 8Noble Tonic 03 Maple Matured Sherry Bourbon Oak Vinegar