Continuing the “DIY spirits” theme I’ve been fermenting during the pandemic, my boyfriend took on the task of making a pecan-infused, butter-washed bourbon. He might be doing all the work, but I get to reap the rewards and write about it.
We have but one regret. Initially, after tasting the bourbon-soaked pecans, I felt they tasted too strongly of alcohol and threw them out. Only later did I realize I could’ve coated them in sugar and roasted them again, and now I’m kicking myself.
Thankfully, I had my boyfriend save the butter. I melted down the butter from the bourbon-butter wash in a saucepan to burn off excess liquid, added 2 tablespoons of plain butter, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and stirred and simmered that for 30 minutes. After letting it cool in the fridge, the butter had separated from the leftover pecan bourbon, so I whipped the butter and pecan bourbon into a smooth, soft butter and stuck it in the freezer, briefly, to solidify, then stored it in the fridge. It made an excellent spread for toast, as well as the rimmer for the Old Fashioned described here. What’s also great about this process is that you don’t have to let anything go to waste.
I tried the Butter Pecan Bourbon on the rocks and found its flavor subtle and well-balanced, perfect for a 200-year-old classic like the Old Fashioned.
BUTTER PECAN BOURBON
10 oz pecans
750 ml bourbon
Spread out pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. Place toasted pecans in a bowl and sprinkle with butter and sugar to coat. Return pecans to the baking sheet and toast at 350 for another 20 minutes. Let pecans cool for 15 minutes, then place in a large-mouth (Mason) jar and fill with bourbon. Allow the pecans to infuse for 3 days in a cool, dark place. Strain the bourbon from the pecans, return the bourbon to the jar, and set the pecans aside. Melt 1.5 sticks of butter in a saucepan until it starts to brown slightly and get a nutty smell. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool (but not solidify). Pour the brown butter into the Mason jar with the infused bourbon and shake vigorously. Let the jar sit for 2 hours at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, separate the solid butter disk from the bourbon. (Use cheesecloth to separate smaller butter solids from the bourbon; you may have to repeat this step a few times.)
BUTTER PECAN OLD FASHIONED
1 1/2 oz butter pecan bourbon
1 sugar cube
2 dashes Angostura bitters
A few dashes of water
Place sugar cube in Old Fashioned glass, saturate with bitters and add a dash of tap water. Muddle until dissolved. Fill the glass with ice cubes and add bourbon. Garnish with orange slice and a cocktail cherry.