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Bourbon County Beer Marshmallows

Bourbon County Beer Marshmallows

Bourbon County Marshmallows

When you count the seasons by what’s available in the bottle shops, you see the months pass in a different way. Right now we’re just leaving Fresh Hop Season and moving into Barrel Aged Beer season, one of the best beer seasons of the year.

It’s also the time of year when beer releases hit a fevered pitch and people wait in line for hours hoping to score a bottle or two of a beer that’s been aging in a wooden barrel that formerly housed liquor. It’s worth it, even if just for the bragging rights and the perfect cellarable beer. Beers that you always want two of, one for now and one to save for later. Stored properly they can be even better years later.

Bourbon County is the Godfather of the bourbon barrel aged beer. Goose Island is widely credited as being the first people to take a discarded bourbon barrel, load it up with stout, store it for nearly a year and then drink it just to see what would happen. This, more than anything, is a commentary on the heart of true brewer.  Curious, courageously experimental, and unafraid to think outside the bottle.

It was a move that would have cultural repercussions beyond their wildest dreams. Starting a movement so strong and widely adopted it caused spent liquor barrels to go from a nuisance that distilleries had to deal with to a sought-after commodity that caused a shortage.

The face of beer is undeniably altered for the better because of the curiosity that caused Greg Hall to fill 6 bourbon barrels with stout in the early 1990s. In the name of that experimentation and curiosity, I decided that I’d like to figure out what would happen if you put a beer — one that had spent time cohabitating in a wooden barrel with the remnants of bourbon — into a marshmallow. Turns out, it’s pretty fantastic.


Bourbon County Beer Marshmallows

Servings 24 marshmallows


  • Powdered sugar
  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin such as Knox
  • ½ cup beer of choice flat and cold*
  • ½ cup water or beer
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • Grease a 9x13 baking pan, sprinkle with powdered sugar until well coated, set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add ½ cup cold, flat beer. Sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to stand while the sugar is being prepared.
  • In a large saucepan (mixture will bubble up) over medium heat, add the water, 2 cups sugar and corn syrup. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Raise heat to high and allow to boil until the mixture reads 240F on a candy thermometer (about 6-8 minutes).
  • Once the temperature has been reached, turn off heat.
  • Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin. Once all the sugar has been added turn the mixer on high until light and fluffy and tripled in volume, this can take up to 10 minutes.
  • While the mixer is running, prepare the egg whites. Add the egg whites to a bowl with the salt. Beat on high with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beat until stiff peaks return.
  • Gently fold the egg whites and vanilla extract into the stand mixer ingredients until just combined.
  • Pour the marshmallows into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Allow to set at room temperature until set, about 2 hours. Remove from pan, cut into squares. Toss with additional powdered sugar to prevent from sticking together.


*Open the beer at least two hours before you plan to make the marshmallows, and up to several days in advance. Pour ½ cup into an open container. Loosely cover and refrigerate. Enjoy the reaming beer, since you HAD to open the beer it’s your job to finish the rest.

Beer Eggnog Ice Cream

Beer Eggnog Ice Cream

I’m here to change your mind, to flip your vote. I know, I know, eggnog is gross, right? Yeah, I thought so too. Then I realized that it’s not. It’s actually quite amazing, it’s basically boozy, drinkable ice cream. IF you make it right.

Most importantly: back off the nutmeg. Because the difference between a teaspoon of "fresh grated nutmeg," with its big, fluffy, air-filled piles, it’s about one quarter the amount you’d use if you just scoop it out of the McCormick bottle (jar? tin? container? What the heck do you call those things, anyway?)

Tl;DR: if a recipe calls for "fresh grated nutmeg" and you pssshhh all over that because you just want to scoop it out of the pre-ground tub (is that the word?), use 1/4 of what it calls for or you’ll wreck your dish.

Now that we’ve discovered why you didn’t like that one batch of nutmeg juice your aunt used to make, we can all agree that eggnog is amazing. Oh, and so is ice cream, and beer, obviously.

What beer should you use? Great question! I’m so glad you asked, let’s talk about that. Malty. Always a malty beer (back away from the IPA’s). I’ve done this a few times, this beer-ed up nog situation (I know, you’re shocked by this news, I’ll give you a second to recover).

Here are the undisputed reigning champs of beer-nog: Winter Ales (as long as it isn’t one of those winter IPAs), and Barleywines. Both are heavy on the malt, and full of those clove, cinnamon, spice notes that go so well in our boozy ice cream.

Sure, you can use a pre-made version. Or a leftover eggnog from your last nog endeavor. For an ice cream base, it’s completely fine.  Want my scratch beer-nog recipe? Here it is: Pub Nog. 

Just use a beer you love, a beer with high ABV and tons of malt. You’ll love it.

Beer Eggnog Ice Cream


  • 3 cups 730g prepared eggnog (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 cup 240g heavy cream
  • ½ cup 100g brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup 6oz winter ale beer or Barleywine


  • Stir together all ingredients.
  • Churn in ice cream maker according to manufactures specifications until it reaches a soft serve consistency. This can take up to 20 minutes; the ice cream base should more than double in size (of all the ice cream recipes I make, this one takes the longest to reach this stage. Just keep allowing the ice cream to churn until it’s more than doubled in size).
  • Place in an airtight container, freeze until set, about 3 hours.


Beer Meringue Cookies

Beer Meringue Cookies 4

You and I need to talk about Barleywine for a second. First, it’s not wine, It’s very much a beer, one that happens to be perfect this time of year. It’s a strong beer, with an ABV (alcohol by volume) that’s usually north of 10%.

Generally sold in the larger 22-ounce bottles that promote beer sharing, and the flavors are beautiful with the foods we serve during winter gatherings. Barleywine is usually amber or dark brown, gorgeous fruit, spice and vanilla flavors.

Beer Meringue Cookies 2

It’s not hoppy like those bold summer beers, it’s deep, malty and often slightly sweet. It’s a bold beer, but one with a character and depth that will surprise your "I don’t like beer" friends. Want to turn a bourbon drinker into a craft beer fan?

This is a great start. I used Odell Woodcut 8. A beautiful, rich, dark fruit, vanilla, and oak flavored gorgeous beverage that’s perfect to bring in lieu of wine to that holiday gathering.

Beer Meringue Cookies 3

Barleywine’s are not only perfect to serve with a huge spread of roasted meat, pumpkin pies, and candied yams, it’s also perfect for cooking with. The flavors are huge, making a little go a long way. Which will incidentally leave you with even more for that snifter glass you should probably be serving this out of.

Beer Meringue Cookies_

Beer Meringue Cookies


  • 3 large egg whites room temperature
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Barleywine beer or Belgian ale


  • Preheat oven to 200°F at least 30 minutes prior to baking. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add the egg whites and salt to a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and frothy, about 1 minute. While the mixer is running, gradually add the granulated sugar about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating for 2 minutes between each addition. Beat until firm peaks form, about 2 additional minutes.
  • Add powdered sugar and beer, beat until peaks return.
  • Spoon meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch tip. Pipe 1-inch rounds onto prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake meringues until dry, about 2 hours. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.


No Bake Cream Cheese Caramel Pumpkin Ale Pie

No Bake Cream Cheese Caramel Pumpkin Ale Pie. Free up that oven space with the easy, delicious make-ahead pie!  

No Bake Cream Cheese Caramel Pumpkin Ale Pie

The end of the year is a bit like dessert. The holidays are our reward for what we’ve endured, both the exceptional and the atrocious. Even the weather has turned it’s back on us, forcing us to dress in layers and scrape ice off our windshields. This year has been a beast to me so far, but I have hope for these last few months.

The fall in Seattle was gorgeous, much more beautiful and etherial than I’d expected. A charming backdrop to an otherwise difficult season in my life. The dessert is coming, the year isn’t over yet. We have Thanksgiving to look forward to, with the celebration of gluttony that it brings.

No Bake Cream Cheese Caramel Pumpkin Ale Pie3

The December holidays, whichever you happen to celebrate. Gifts to buy, wrap and tear open. New Year’s Eve is still waiting for us at the finish line. Champagne, barrel-aged beers, whiskey cocktails, sparkly sweaters, twinkly lights, and pies. Lots and lots of pies.

Here’s one that won’t take up oven space, it’s boozed up with beer, and it’s topped with caramel sauce. No matter what the year has dealt you, you always have pie and beer to look forward too. Pie and beer fix most things.

No Bake Cream Cheese Caramel Pumpkin Ale Pie2


No Bake Cream Cheese Caramel Pumpkin Ale Pie

Servings 6 -8 servings



  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker about 9 whole graham crackers
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 7 tbs melted butter


  • 16 wt ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup brown ale beer barleywine will also be great
  • 15 wt oz pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup caramel sauce
  • ½ cup candied pecans


  • Add the graham crackers, brown sugar and melted butter to a food processor, process until well combined.
  • Starting with the sides press well into the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan. Press well using the bottom of a heavy glass or measuring cup. (You can bake at 350 for 12 minutes to make the crust more solid, but it isn’t absolutely necessary).
  • Add the cream cheese, brown sugar and white sugar to a stand mixer. Beat on high until well combined, light and fluffy. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla extract, beer, and pumpkin puree. Building up speed, beat until well combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl to make sure the mixture is well combined.
  • Spoon into the crust. Top with caramel sauce and candied pecans. Chill until set, at least one hour and up to overnight.