These 11 Bourbon-Inspired Desserts Are What Dreams Are Made Of

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By Cooking Panda

We’re celebrating Bourbon Heritage Month all throughout September!

What better way to celebrate the quintessentially American spirit than by making it live its best life by baking it into a dessert and adding rich, complex notes to your favorite sweet treats? Here are some of our favorite ways to boozify your desserts:

1. Bourbon Vanilla Caramel Sauce

Everyone knows it’s all about that bourbon caramel sauce. Make this vanilla-infused version to add an extra sweet kick to all your favorite desserts.

2. Chocolate Bourbon Pretzel Pie

Love sweet and salty? You’ll lose it for this spiked chocolate pie.

3. Blackberry-and-Bourbon Cobbler

Make the most of your summer blackberries by mixing them up with bourbon and baking them into a cobbler. This is also delicious with amaretto and probably all kinds of other liqueurs that work with fruit.

4. Caramel Apple Blondie Pie

Buttery, rich and fluffy cake, complete with sweet, tender caramelized apples — even better, the easy baking method here shows exactly how to get a perfectly flaky crust. Delicious!

5. Bourbon-Cream Cheese Brownies

Bourbon lovers will be in heaven with these yummy, sweet brownies with an adult kick.

6. Apple Bourbon Bread Pudding with Maker’s Mark Caramel

Salty caramel bread pudding? This one is a must. Plus, you can totally deep fry it (or not?) if you want to.

7. Hazelnut and Bourbon Torte

Kind of like a fruitcake, but way better. Plus, you get to dump bourbon caramel glaze over the top, so there’s no way that can’t be amazing.

8. Banana Bourbon Cupcakes


These cupcakes are flavorful, sweet and super moist.

9. Bourbon Pumpkin Pie Tart a la Mode

Fall is fast approaching, meaning that pumpkin is now officially allowed on your plate. Make the most of it.

10. Mint Julep Frozen Yogurt

Throwing a Kentucky Derby party? Or maybe you just want super boozy frozen yogurt that will get you drunk if you eat enough of it? (Who doesn’t?) MAKE THIS.

11. Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Bourbon Sour Cream Frosting

It may sound weird to you, but you have to try making a chocolate cake with stout. It’s incredibly moist, and the flavors, the flavors! Just try this one.

Featured Photo Credit: Maker's Mark

Tags: Bourbon, Bourbon Heritage Month, dessert, weekend dessert recipe, whiskey dessert
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Soar Through The Rest Of Summer With These 10 Fantastic Bourbon Cocktails

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By Cooking Panda

We’re celebrating Bourbon Heritage Month all throughout September. Want to join us? Here’s everything you need to know about Bourbon Heritage Month, plus the right way to taste bourbon.

If you have super awesome bourbon on hand, you might just want to go ahead and drink it straight — at least give it a taste. If you have something that is begging to be mixed into a cocktail, start here:

The Classics

Old Fashioned

Strong, aromatic and slightly sweet, Old Fashioneds are perfect for that good bourbon you want to mix into a cocktail without completely losing the flavors of good booze.

Whiskey Sour

Whiskey sours are easy and simple but always delicious. Ditch that sweet and sour mix you have and make it yourself with nothing more than lemon and sugar.

Mint Julep

This is another one that works well with the good stuff, as the sweet mint allows all kinds of flavors from your bourbon to shine through. Adjust the sugar to taste for a stronger or sweeter drink.

Boulevardier

A little Campari and sweet vermouth will play well with your whiskey for a rich, bittersweet cocktail that is perfect for fall.

Manhattan

This classic sweet, aromatic and balanced cocktail is perfect with any bourbon you have but goes especially well if you have something with floral notes, like rye. Love the aromatics? Add in a few extra dashes of bitters.

Want to mix it up with something a little unusual? Check these out.

The Unusual Refreshers

Bourbon Peach Sweet Tea

For some reason bourbon and peach preserves were just made for each other.

Frozen Mint Julep

If you love Mint Juleps but are craving something even more refreshing to get you through the last of the summer heat, you’ve come to the right place.

Strawberry Whiskey Sour

Similar to a regular one, but with an extra-special strawberry lemonade spin.

Honey Whiskey Lemonade

The thyme really adds a special note of complexity, although you can totally swap it out for something like basil, mint or rosemary. Don’t have honey whiskey? No problem. Just add a little extra honey (or simple syrup) to taste.

Rosemary Peach Maple Leaf

Tart, bright, earthy and sweet, this cocktail is great with something a little smoky.

Featured Photo Credit: The Bojon Gourmet

Tags: Bourbon, Bourbon Heritage Month, classic cocktails, Thirsty Thursday, whiskey
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Bourbon Heritage Month: Everything You Need To Be A Bourbon Tasting Pro

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By Cooking Panda

September is upon us, and that means something very important! Beyond pumpkin spice, crunchy leaves, caramel apples and sweaters, there is something very important about September — it is also Bourbon Heritage Month.

Did we just hear a collective sigh, readers? First of all, calm down. Sure, there are a lot of food and drink holidays out there, but there’s a good reason why Bourbon Heritage Month beats National Fried Chicken Day and National Tequila Day — it’s a totally real and widespread celebration that the state of Kentucky celebrates every year.

Here’s what happens: Every September, the governor of bourbon’s home state signs a declaration to celebrate Kentucky’s whiskey heritage all month, and the festivities begin, according to the Huffington Post. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival commences, complete with mechanical bulls, top-notch cigars and, of course, whiskey tastings. The stills also open back up by September after traditionally closing down for a short period of time in August for some routine maintenance.

If you’re going to visit Kentucky for whiskey-related reasons, September would absolutely be the perfect time. But if the journey is not in the cards for you, don’t fret!

While a good Kentucky bourbon may or may not taste just as good in its hometown, it’ll still taste pretty darn good on your balcony or comfy recliner. Start by grabbing a quality bourbon and a tasting glass, snifter, white wine glass or anything similarly bulbous with a narrow top to trap the flavors, like this:

Or this:

When tasting bourbon, it’s important to pay attention to these four essential categories, as detailed by Modern Thirst:

1. Appearance

Hold your glass up to the light or a white piece of paper and swirl it around a little. Is it clear or cloudy? Light amber or dark mahogany? Take note — this has everything to do with age, proof and filtration methods.

2. Aroma

Part your lips slightly and stick your nose in the opening of the glass. What do you smell? Charred oak? Smoke? Pipe tobacco? Vanilla? Cherry? Leather?

3. Taste

Don’t you dare gulp or “shoot” good bourbon! Take a good sized mouthful and do the “Kentucky Chew” — move the bourbon around your mouth with a chewing motion. Notice how it tastes in each different flavor zone of your mouth before swallowing.

4. Finish

Does the taste linger (long finish) or quickly dissipate (short finish)? Do you taste anything different after swallowing? What textures do you feel in your mouth? Does your upper body feel warm, a la the “Kentucky Hug”? Take note.

Try not to “cheat” by reading a review of your whiskey before tasting it, as you might have a completely different experience than what you read. Start with this graphic and see what you find:

Above all, enjoy this fabulous excuse to drink a ton of whiskey this month! Cheers!

Sources: Huffington Post, Modern Thirst / Photo credit: BourbonSippers/Instagram

Tags: Bourbon, Bourbon Heritage Month, Thirsty Thursday, whiskey, Whiskey tasting
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