Rims are an often overlooked tool in the bartender's belt, but they shouldn't be. Sure, margaritas get salt rims and lemon drops get sugar, but is that the limit of creativity? We think not. Bourbon sugar is a bold way to kick your bar game up a notch, and you don't even have to work that hard to make it happen.
Most products you buy from the store labeled bourbon sugar are bourbon smoked sugar. Bourbon distilleries are required to use brand-new barrels for every batch of liquor if they want to label their whiskey as bourbon. That leaves a whole lot of used barrels left over. Many of them are used to age other spirits, such as Scotch, rum, and tequila. But a few companies use the bourbon-soaked wood to smoke sugar.
Bourbon-infused sugar is more approachable to make at home. Let's say you want to make 4 cups of bourbon sugar. Pour 1 cup of sugar, preferably raw demerara, into a glass jar and add ½ teaspoon of bourbon on top. Now, add ½ cup of sugar and another ½ teaspoon of bourbon and repeat until you're done. The purpose is to get the sugar to taste like the bourbon, so choose a bottle that you enjoy the flavor of. Then, close the lid on the jar and shake vigorously before letting it sit for a week in a cool dry place. Shake the jar again every day until the seven days are up.
Read more: The 27 Best Bourbon Brands, Ranked
Putting The Sugar To Work
Now that we've got bourbon sugar, either store-bought or homemade, let's figure out how to use it. Although it makes for a great addition to your morning coffee, we're going to focus on cocktails. You may think that the obvious choice would be to put it on a whiskey cocktail, like an old fashioned, but the flavors of the bourbon sugar are going to be drowned out by the whiskey in the cocktail, relegating your hard work to little more than a regular sugar rim. It isn't a terrible idea, but we can do better.
A few cocktails come to mind: The first is a White Russian made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream. The drink benefits from a touch of sweetness, and the coffee liqueur plays nicely with the molasses and oak notes of the bourbon. A bourbon sugar rim on a Mai Tai is also a safe bet. The orgeat and citrus already provide a nutty sweetness, and when you mix that with dark rum, you have the perfect place to put your new bar ingredient.
There are lots of cocktails that won't pair well with bourbon sugar, but be courageous and explore with what you have. Trying to pair new ingredients with familiar cocktails can only deepen your understanding of which flavors work together. It's only through delicious, delicious failure that you can fulfill your potential and become the ultimate bar warrior.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.