Good Eats

Bourbon On The Side

By Brys StephensDecember 3, 2012

It’s not surprising that fall vegetables with a sweet flavor (like sweet potatoes) tie in well with the raisin-y, nutty, fruity notes of bourbon. But you can even pair bourbon with vegetables that have a little more bite, and the end result is quite delicious. Below two vegetables—radishes and brussels sprouts—get a dose of bourbon, just in time for the holidays.

Bourbon-Glazed Radishes

serves 4 

In a side dish of glazed radishes, their spicy heat is tamed by slow simmering with a nob of butter, a splash of water or stock, bourbon, and a spoonful of sugar. The radishes get coated at the end with the pan’s mellow sweet, reduced bourbon glaze.

1 lb. radishes, trimmed

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 tsp. granulated sugar

2 to 3 cups water or chicken stock

Splash of bourbon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Put the radishes in a skillet just large enough to hold them in a single layer, along with the butter, sugar, and enough water (or chicken stock) to come halfway up their sides. Partially cover with a lid, or a round piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Gently simmer the radishes over medium heat, adjusting the heat as you go, until the radishes are tender when a knife is inserted, and most of the liquid has evaporated and started to form a glaze on the bottom of the pan. Remove the covering from the pan, and add just enough bourbon to liquefy the glaze.

Continue to cook, shaking the pan, until the radishes are coated with the glaze. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Bourbon and Mustard
serves 4

Brussels sprouts are brought to life when caramelized and sautéed in hot bacon fat until tender, then tossed through with an assertive blend of honey mustard and bourbon and topped with crispy thick-cut bacon.

¼ cup bourbon
1 tbsp. good quality honey mustard
1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

4 slices thick-cut bacon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the bourbon and mustard until combined, and set aside.

Cook the bacon slices in a medium skillet until crispy, then drain. Crumble the bacon when cool enough to handle. Pour off and reserve the bacon fat from the pan. Wipe the pan clean to remove any burned bits.

Return 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat to the pan set over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on the outside, about 2 minutes. Add a splash of water to the pan and cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until just shy of desired tenderness.

Add the bourbon and honey mustard to the pan, and toss to combine. Cook for 30 seconds or so to cook off some of the alcohol, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Note: The Brussels sprouts retain some of the alcohol in this dish.

Brys Stephens is a freelance writer based in Charleston, SC. www.brystephens.com