There's nothing quite like the flavor of bourbon, nor is anything like a perfectly cooked steak, so it's no wonder some culinary genius put them together. I have been cooking steak since I was a teen - fun fact - my very first job was at the back of a country store that was also a butcher shop, and even now, I'll step back into my apron to help out at Barb & Patty's here and there.
How does a bourbon peppercorn sauce sound? This simple pan sauce is just so easy and comes together quickly, and of course pairs beautifully with a bourbon cocktail or a bourbon barrel aged red wine or even stout.
Bourbon Peppercorn Steak Sauce
2 Peeled and Smashed Garlic Cloves
1/2 c Bourbon
1 c Cream
Freshly Ground (or cracked) Pepper (to taste)
While your steaks rest, in the same pan used for searing steaks, re-heat the pan if it has cooled, add a little butter if needed (you most likely won't need to as the fat from the steaks should be plenty). Toss in garlic cloves, (for stronger garlic flavor, feel free to mince one of the garlic cloves to keep in the sauce as opposed to removing them at the end), and cook until toasted and flavors released, then carefully pour in bourbon to deglaze the pan - do not pour from the bottle, especially if you have gas stove as it could start a fire - pour the bourbon from a measuring cup. It will splatter, so if you have a splatter guard, you'll want to use it. Continue to deglaze the pan, stirring the bits left from the steak into the bourbon. When the bourbon cooks down by 1/3 to half, slowly pour in cream and stir to combine, add pepper (cracked or ground). The amount is up to you - I like to use quite a bit of coarsely ground pepper, but that might be too much for some and not enough for others, so personalize it to your taste. Remove and discard smashed garlic. Simmer until the sauce is the desired thickness. Drizzle over steaks and get ready for a festival of flavors!
* If you are grilling steaks - you can still whip the sauce up easily, add a pat of butter (and a drizzle of olive oil to keep the butter from burning) to sear the garlic. Add an 1/8 of a up of beef or vegetable stock along with the bourbon to add the depth of flavor.
One of the essentials of fall is apple cider, and when the temperature dips, hot mulled cider really hits the spot - especially when there’s a shot of bourbon involved.
The apple is so iconic to American culture, that it’s crazy to think that the apple as we know it is not native here. The only native apple trees to the Americas were sour crab apples. Settlers from England brought apples with them, and struggled to get the first orchards started - in fact - they had to ship more bees to the colonies for proper pollination. The origins of the apple (and cider) date back to ancient Egypt, like 1300 BC. Back then, all cider was alcoholic because of the fermentation process and lack of ability to preserve foods. Like most alcoholic beverages, cider was a happy accident, then was replicated. The apple spread from Egypt to Rome and continued throughout Europe, then of course made its way to the new world. For centuries, cider was actually the preferred drink, even more so than beer as it had a lower alcohol content since throughout most of history water was not safe to consume. It was only in the 20th century that beer and stronger spirits became more popular, (prohibition was partly to blame. What were they thinking?!?)
Today, thanks to refrigeration and modern preservation, cider no longer has to be alcoholic, and the recipe for this week’s cocktail calls for plain old cider from the produce section. You can also leave the bourbon out for the kiddos, or instead of adding the bourbon all at once to the recipe, add a shot to the glass/mug before serving.
Bourbon Mulled Cider
1/2 Gallon Fresh Apple Cider
1/4 c Mulling Spices
8-12 oz Bourbon (I used Knob Creek Smoked Maple)
1/2 an Orange, in slices Apple Slices (optional)
Pour cider into a stock pot, (or crock pot), add mulling spices, orange slices and bourbon (if not adding separately to glasses later). Heat on low (turn on high if using the crockpot). Simmer for about 30-40 minutes to infuse flavors. Serve warm, garnish with cinnamon sticks and orange/apple slices and indulge in your warm cuppa happy.
Now that we’re welcoming October this weekend, many are actually ready for pumpkin and to truly enjoy all things fall - and no - there are plenty of us that really can’t get into autumn when it’s 90 degrees out, including apple cider. It’s just weird. But now, it really is fall - so our cocktail this week is the Maple Cider Old Fashioned - I opted to keep the orange slice because it brightens it up plus the syrup replaces the sugar and adds depth to the cocktail.
Maple Cider Old Fashioned
Dash of Bitters
2 oz Bourbon
2 oz Apple Cider
1/4-1/2 oz Maple Syrup (depending on tatse)
Cinnamon Sticks (for garnish)
Place the orange in the bottom of a rocks glass and add the dash of bitters and muddle; add maple syrup and muddle again. Fill the glass with ice; pour bourbon and cider over the ice. give the cocktail a good stir, garnish with a cinnamon stick and enjoy your glass full of autumnal happy.