This time of year, it seems like pumpkin gets all the attention. I like pumpkin as much as the next person, but my favorite fall flavor is caramel apple.
Once the weather turns chilly and I’m ready to start using my fire pit again, I invite friends over and we share in this homemade caramel apple-infused bourbon.
While this recipe is a total cinch to make, it does take a bit of forethought to accommodate the preparation time.
I’ve made infused bourbons with fresh apples before, and while I love the flavor, I don’t like how it can take several weeks to properly infuse.
It occurred to me to swap out fresh apples for dried ones, and I’m so glad I gave this method a try! The dried apples absorb and infuse the bourbon very quickly, so it only takes three days to prepare this infusion.
To get started, just place some dried apples, cinnamon sticks, and bourbon into a good-sized jar and let it sit for three days. I like using 24-ounce canning jars for this purpose, but you can easily do this in smaller jars if it’s what you have on hand.
Since this is a caramel apple bourbon recipe, we’re going to make a quick caramel syrup on the stovetop. Don’t panic! It’s easy, I promise.
You’ll definitely want to make sure you use a quality, sturdy saucepan. Equally important is ease of cleaning; sticky caramel can be a pain to get off poorly-made pans. I love using the 1.5-Quart Saucepan from my KitchenAid® Stainless Steel 10-Piece Set to make this caramel because it doesn’t scoot around on the stove, and all I need to do to remove the caramel is fill the 1.5-Quart Saucepan with hot water.
All you need to do is place a cup of white sugar into the 1.5-Quart Saucepan and set it over medium heat. After ten minutes or so, the sugar will begin to melt. Use a spatula to scrape up the melted sugar and allow the rest of the sugar to get a chance to melt. It will turn all clumpy, and then after a while those clumps will melt into something very beautiful.
Boil the caramel mixture until it is a deep amber color, then carefully whisk a cup of water into the 1.5-Quart Saucepan to form a syrup. I recommend wearing oven mitts for this job because hot sugar can be painful if it splatters.
Allow the syrup to cool before transferring it to an airtight jar.
Once the bourbon is done infusing, strain out the apples and cinnamon sticks and transfer the infusion into flasks (I used two 8.5-ounce hermetic glass flasks). If you want, you can also transfer the soaked cinnamon sticks into the flasks.
Depending on how sweet you want the final product to be, transfer between two and four tablespoons of caramel syrup into each flask. You may want to start with less, give it a taste, and add more as needed.
You’ll have caramel syrup leftover, so stash it next to your coffee pot and enjoy some caramel coffee in the morning.
There you have it!
You can serve the bourbon at room temperature for sipping, or stash it in the freezer for later.
Either way, I recommend a pretty granny smith apple slice as a garnish.
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Caramel Apple Infused Bourbon
Makes 10 servings
2 cups dried apple rings
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cups bourbon
1 cup white sugar
Sliced granny smith apples for garnish
Pack the apple rings and cinnamon sticks into a 24-ounce canning jar. Fill the jar with bourbon and securely attach the lid and rim. Give the jar a good shake and allow the mixture to infuse for three days.
Meanwhile, prepare the caramel syrup by placing one cup of granulated white sugar in the 1.5-Quart Saucepan from your KitchenAid® Stainless Steel 10-Piece Set and setting it over medium heat. After about 8 to 10 minutes the sugar will begin to melt; use a spatula to scrape up the melted sugar and allow the un-melted sugar to touch the bottom of the 1.5-Quart Saucepan. The sugar will form into large clumps and then slowly melt. Boil the mixture, stirring constantly, until it turns a deep amber color.
Place oven mitts on both hands and slowly pour one cup of room temperature water into the caramel mixture. Whisk over low heat until the caramel has melted into the liquid and no clumps remain. Allow the mixture to cool and transfer to an airtight jar for storage.
Strain the apples and cinnamon sticks out of the bourbon. Divide the infused bourbon into two 8.5-ounce hermetic glass flasks. Depending on your sweetness preference, add between two and four tablespoons of the caramel syrup to each flask.
Serve the caramel apple bourbon at room temperature for sipping, or chilled in shot glasses. Garnish with sliced granny smith apples.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*