My grandmother turned 103 last weekend. It is difficult to imagine living to be 103. By 103 years old, your health declines and you have outlived most of your friends. The reward is that you become the matriarch. Matriarchs are dominant, fair, tough, feminine leaders. I feel lucky to have a matriarch as a role model.
This year, my family felt it was important that I get some of my grandmother’s things. Included was an antique hall table, an antique pitcher and Grandma’s cookbook. The hall table evoked memories of playing cards, since the second drawer down on the left was the place she kept the playing cards for the family’s favorite game Tripoly. Other valuable memories were stored in her cookbook. Memories of tamale pie, persimmon cookies, carrot salad, graham cracker squares, meringues and Bourbon balls. My grandmother is a good mentor and shared most of the recipes with me on recipe cards that say “from my kitchen to yours”. I feel special to have ownership of “the book” and look forward to making and sharing these recipes with my children.
One recipe that I’ll share with my children is Bourbon Balls. They will have to wait till they are a bit older to try these, though, because they contain 1/2 cup of Bourbon. Grandma tells me on the recipe card that I can use rum, Brandy or Bourbon and I will always chose Bourbon. Bourbon whiskey was one of my grandmother’s favorite drinks. I’ll never forget joining her and her girlfriends for breakfast after church one day and the conversation included a discussion on their favorite drink, Bourbon whiskey. Little did I know our generations had so much in common, because I love Bourbon whiskey. It’s great with orange juice, cola, lemon lime soda, etc.
Bourbon whiskey is a type of American whiskey. It is aged in oak barrels and has a lovely woody, smokey flavor. It is controversial the exact birthplace of Bourbon whiskey, but now 95% of all the Bourbon in the world is produced in Kentucky. My Grandmother’s grew up in Ohio and Kentucky was the neighboring state. Of course, prohibition (1918-1931) was in effect during her younger years; so I’m uncertain if she drank Bourbon Whiskey during her early 20’s.
How would I go about making a Bourbon whiskey flavor that a food processor may use in a sauce, confection or beverage? Two materials I use in any alcoholic flavor include Ethyl oenathate (AKA synthetic cognac oil) and Whiskey fusel oil. If these are not available, I use a blend of Ethyl caproate, Ethyl caprylate, Ethyl nonanoate, Ethyl decanoate and Ethyl laurate for the Ethyl oenathate. For the Whiskey fusel oil, I tend to use iso-Amyl alcohol and other short chain alcohols. Because Bourbon has a sweet, woody, smokey flavor, I like to use oak extract, gamma-Octalactone, Benzaldehyde, Vanilla extract, Guaiacol and Ethyl lactate. Items that tend to “lift” an alcohol flavor include Ethyl acetate and Acetic acid.
There are many other items to be considered for a Bourbon Whiskey flavor, but these items can get you started in the right direction. If you have any other suggestions, please comment.