Spiced Bourbon


A couple of weeks ago, B and I flew home (or close to home, anyways) to help celebrate our friends Nick and Siobhan get married. It was a beautiful ceremony, held at St. Patrick’s church in downtown DC, and the reception was held at the Cosmos Club near Dupont Circle. The most amazing place to have a reception that I think I’ve ever seen. But as one of the bridesmaids said, “after we were done tarnishing it they were left with the choice to either burn it down or convert it into a Holiday Inn Express.” (Well said, Carrie. Well said, indeed.)

I think some of our ridiculousness was a result of the spiced bourbon that Siobhan and Nick gave us in their out-of-towner goodie bags. In addition to the delightful squares of Ghiradelli chocolate and breath mints, and map of DC, they also left a flask of home-infused spiced bourbon.

Now, I mostly stick to wine and beer, myself. The taste of straight liquor is just too much for me usually. If I’m drinking liquor, I’d like it to come in the form of an overly-sweetened fruity concoction, served with enough sugar such that I can’t even taste the alcohol, thankyouverymuch. I will gladly take the sugar overload and the hangover the next day rather than drink something that tastes like rubbing alcohol (read: anything other than the aforementioned sugary drinks.)



They handed out liquor to the out-of-towners. So my people.


So even I was surprised when Amy, Emily and I tasted the bourbon straight from the flask (we’re all class, don’t you know) and I didn’t immediately feel the need to vom afterwards. Siobhan and Nick’s infused bourbon was spiced with just the hint of vanilla, cinnamon, and apples; it was just enough to tame that fire that you feel drinking straight liquor.

Of course, when Brad and I got back from the wedding, we (with no dissuasion from Nathan, of course) decided that this spiced bourbon MUST be replicated, immediately if not sooner. Thus, the rando pictures of Nathan with two handles of Beam. Siobhan sent me the original recipe they used, but we decided to try a different spin – we spiced ours with vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, oranges, and honey. We used Jim Beam, which admittedly, is not the Bentley of Tennessee whiskey, but hey, you don’t need the best stuff when you’re infusing lots of flavor into the liquor, anyways. You can tell the color difference below – on the left is unflavored Beam, on the right is our home-infused beam. It’s darker, which means more flavor!



If you know someone who enjoys the finer things in life, this would be a great homemade Christmas present. Otherwise, have it as the Holiday Beverage of Choice at your celebrations this year. Choose your own infusion flavors, even!



Spiced Bourbon

Adapted from Nick and Siobhan
Yields however much you want


some bourbon (we used 2 handles)
some orange peels (we peeled 2 oranges)
some vanilla beans, halved lengthwise (we used 4)
some whole cinnamon (we used 8 sticks)
some whole cloves (we used 8 cloves)
some honey (we used about 1 cup)

Pour out 1 cup of bourbon into a small saucepan. Add honey to saucepan, and heat mixture until honey is dissolved. Add honey mixtures, orange peel, vanilla beans, cinnamon, and cloves to bourbon. Let stand for 1 week. Taste and add more spices/peel as you feel necessary. Imbibe, over ice if desired.



High Highs / Open Season



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23 thoughts on “Spiced Bourbon

  1. Ok, so I was way wrong on my guesses. But, um, YUM! My family like bourbon almost as much as…well…uh…they just really really like bourbon.

    I’ll have to add this to my list of homemade liquors- to be made, along with limoncello and kahlua.

  2. This looks awesome but, I have a ton of apples right now and no oranges. Do you know how your friends infused theirs with apples? Just cut them up?

    • Shell Li – Here is the original recipe!

      Bartenders have been infusing vodka for years; now they’re joyfully infusing bourbon with everything from black cherries to bacon. Chris Beveridge from 12 Baltimore in Kansas City, Missouri, favors apples, cinnamon and vanilla.

      * 1 750-ml bottle Woodford Reserve bourbon
      * 3 medium Granny Smith apples—cored and quartered
      * 4 cinammon sticks
      * 2 whole vanilla beans


      1. In a jar, combine one 750-milliliter bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon with 3 cored and quartered medium Granny Smith apples, 4 cinnamon sticks and 2 whole vanilla beans. Refrigerate for 2 to 5 days, shaking the jar and tasting the infusion daily. Strain through a fine sieve into another jar. Serve the infused bourbon on the rocks, or shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  3. This sounds AMAZING! I plan to make a batch ASAP! Out of curiosity, what was the original recipe? Which did you like better? YUM!

    • See my reply to Shell Li’s comment above for the original recipe, CF. I think I liked the different flavors of our home infusion, but I thought the one made with apples was more smooth, in my opinion. Either one is a great project and VERY tasty =)

  4. I’ve been on a liquor infusing kick. After success with limoncello I made lemon verbena and brandy with cherries. Next is bourbon with asian pears and maybe quince too. Having recently discovered Imbibe magazine, I am plan on making the vin d’orange they recently features. (Check their site, they have recipes every issue).

  5. I’m in love with bourbon, I am very skeptical of this idea, but if bradley likes it I am willing to try. You need to talk to andy about his experiments with authentic glogg making. This has become our newest swedish christmas tradition.

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  10. Jim Beam is not Tennessee bourbon, it’s Kentucky bourbon. Tennessee whiskey (Jack Daniels) is exactly that: Tennessee Whiskey, but its not bourbon.

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