How To Make Bourbon Salt

It’s come to my attention that a request for bourbon salt has been made, and I feel that it’s a safe assumption that if I don’t take up this call to NaCl no one reputable will. Which makes me worried for those who wish to try some, who might otherwise be left to cast about, seeking out bourbon salt from sketchy characters and wandering into dark alleys at all times of the night and I already have enough to fret over. So here, I made you some bourbon salt.

Because I think of bourbon as stronger and sweeter than wine, I decided to go with a cup and a half of the stuff, rather than the two cups that the The New York Times wine salt recipe called for. I also made a few other wee adjustments, the explanation for which I’ll get to in due time. It will be worth the wait. Promiseies.

I upped the salt to a full one cup and reduced the sugar to ¾ cup. Why? To account, again, for the difference between wine and bourbon. I thought a higher ratio of salt would be good, as the bourbon flavor might otherwise overpower the salt and no, no *clutches pearls* we can’t have that! As for the sugar, well? I don’t know, I just wanted to difficult and I think at this stage in the game you can all forgive me my small moments of intractability.

As the wine salt recipe instructed, I simmered the bourbon over a medium flame until it was reduced by about half. Here you’ll just have to eyeball things, and really that’s okay. Also, the wine salt recipe calls for 20 to 30 minutes of simmering but the bourbon really only needs 15; mostly, just keep an eye on things. Then I dropped the heat to low and let the bourbon continue its reduction until there was about 2 tablespoons of syrupy liquid left, which only took another minute or two. This goes really fast so plan to hang around the pot on stand-by. Then I let that cool. Letting things cool is so essential but my God is it ever a pain in the ass.

Once the reduced bourbon syrup was cool, it was added to the bowl of my Cuisinart, which already held the salt. (A cup. A cup of salt. Just a reminder.) Then I pulse- pulse- pulsed. Three times exactly. After that the sugar, three quarters cup of it, went in, and pulse pulse pulse pulse pulse (this time I lost count). Once it resembled the “dry sand” described by The Times, I stopped pulsing, laid the stuff out on a cookie sheet and let it hang around my kitchen for a few hours until it dried out completely, it being a disgustingly humid day here in New York. Actually, I let it hang around for about an hour and then was like, “You know? It’s a disgustingly humid day here in New York and my oven hovers around 75 degrees even when it isn’t on, so I’m going to go ahead and let the salt dry out in there.” Which worked just fine too. After that I shoveled the stuff into some jars—I just used my hands for this, and also now my hands are so soft!—labeled ‘em and sat around snickering at how mean it would be not to share it with the person who suggested it be a thing that we make. (I’m going to share it, of course! Come on. How long have you known me??)

The finished product was incredible: salty and bourbon-y and sweet and wow. It could have maybe been more bourbon-y even? Perhaps I could have gone for two full cups? Perhaps I’ll just have to make another batch for comparison sake? One other note to make is that while I was reducing the bourbon some of it scorched and stained my favorite pot, which was so flipping rude of it! In case this happens to you, please step right this way for instructions on how to rid yourself and your pot of the scorch stain.

Oh but wait! Sorry, I’m not done because I made you a promise and I’m going to keep it. The other adjustments I made? I left out the thyme and the lemon. At first because I wasn’t really sure if thyme went with bourbon, though certainly lemon does (think of a hot toddy, or a twisted garnish on a quirky Old Fashioned), but then I also decided to leave out the lemon because … are you ready for this? Oh my God you might not even survive this! … I’M GOING TO PUT THE BOURBON SALT ON THE CRACK BROWNIES AND RIGHT????

Yup. Just as I thought. No survivors. It’s like the Langoliers up in this joint. Ah well, more bourbon salt for me then!


Jolie Kerr doesn’t know why she does nice things for Alex Balk, but it’s good that you can all benefit from her fondness for him.