My friend asked me the other day about coffee-bourbon. I didn’t really know what to tell him other than recommending some bourbons. At the BDW Global laboratory (my kitchen) we typically use Rebel Yell Bourbon for glazes and for cooking. Rebel Yell is a quality wheated bourbon that is very affordable and is similar to Makers Mark (another favorite in the kitchen, but Rebel is cheaper). I got a good laugh at the Rebel Yell website. I don’t know who they are marketing to, but this smooth mild bourbon is described as “ain’t for the meek” and apparently it “evokes a free spirit.” I would go with “ain’t for the rich” and “gateway bourbon,” but Rebel is good despite its somewhat redneck tough guy marketing strategies.
When I want to do some hard-core infusions and bitters making I like the Wild Turkey 101 proof. Turkey is another affordable bourbon that is full of rich flavors and at 101 proof packs quite a punch and a very efficient infusion. Maybe Wild Turkey should use the “ain’t for the meek” moniker, but they have chosen a different more reserved marketing tactic. The Turkey is a good choice because high-proof spirits infuse better in general, and if your recipe dilutes the alcohol content, starting with a high-proof will give you more room to work with. At less than twenty dollars a bottle Wild Turkey is an easy choise for experimentation.
These are two vastly different bourbons that between them offer the option of mild or wild. Either way you go, I love both of these whiskeys for all sorts of projects.
For a recipe I would check out Boozed and Infused for their coffee-bourbon. I particularly like the low sugar approach, easy to follow instructions and solid techniques. I have not tried this recipe yet but it sounds really good.