Take some water and corn, add little wheat, barley or rye, mix together at no more than 160 proof then put it into a container when it’s no more than 125 proof, but be sure to take it out before it reaches 79 proof.
What is it? Bourbon. Whiskey. Kentucky bourbon. Tennessee whiskey.
If you guessed bourbon, you’d be correct. If you guessed Kentucky bourbon, you’d be incorrect—that is unless the aforementioned mixture was actually mixed in Kentucky. Because as it turns out, “Bourbon doesn’t have to come from Kentucky.” So says Jason Foust, Regional Vice President, Midwest for the United States Bartenders Guild.
“I once got in an argument with a guy for nearly an hour about this,” he said laughing, recalling the fallacy built up around the often charming, caramel-colored spirit that smells heavenly and can warm you up almost instantly when sipped neat.
Remembering the many, many times I’ve heard, “All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon unless it’s made in the great state of Kentucky,” and not completely ready to take Foust’s word, I did a little research—and as it turns out, he really does know what he’s talking about. But not just about the unequivocal definition of bourbon, but also about the different styles, the aging processes, the mash bill, let alone the consumption of this bold, albeit smooth spirit. Yep, water and grain, mind you, that when mixed properly and aged correctly can bring a smile to anyone’s lips—whether they’re in Kentucky, or anywhere else for that matter.
Now for the real saucy part of this post … typically, a whiskey sauce calls for beef broth, lots of butter and heavy cream. But, I promise you, choosing plant-based options are just as fabulous and the sauce is absolutely divine. For the mushrooms, I use large white button mushrooms but you could certainly do a combination. The butter, I like Miyokos as it just seems to melt more like the dairy version and the flavor is nice and rich, like dairy butter. For the cream, I use Silk brand Heavy Whipping Cream—trust me, this product will change your life … it’s amazing in soups too! And the bourbon, well, I honestly believe the “secret” is in the sauce, meaning you need to use a good, quality bourbon (or whiskey) for a proper tasting sauce, hence I use Marker’s Mark. So there you have it … the low down on making a fabulous vegan whiskey sauce that will make you swoon. Yea, it is that good.
Jason Foust is the founding president of Indiana’s USBG chapter. His position as Midwest Regional VP has him overseeing chapters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Throughout the country there are only five designated regional vice presidents for the USBG. Foust also sits on the Board of Directors for the National USBG.
Vegan Creamy Whiskey Sauce
PREP TIME: 15 minutes | COOK TIME: 30 minutes
- 1-2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 cube plant-based butter
- 5-6 TBS garlic, chopped
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup bourbon
- ½ to 1 cup plant-based cream
Place butter and garlic in a large cast iron skillet, cover with mushrooms and onions and saute over medium high heat for about 10 minutes. Once the mushrooms have browned, add in the broth and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid is at least half way gone. Add the bourbon and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then, right before serving, slowly pour in the cream and whisk until the sauce thickens. And that my friends is all there is to it. Serve it over something as simple as rice or pasta or top off a thick slab of tofu or a piece of fish. We served it with black cod and literally cried it was so good. So damn delicious!