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Whiskey Caramel Sauce with Bitters

Many types of whiskey can be used in a caramel sauce, though rye is a good choice because of its inherent spice. In addition to caramel and vanilla flavors common to all barrel-aged spirits, rye grain offers a deeper flavor with a distinctive note of allspice. A few dashes of bitters rounds out the whiskey’s spice with additional notes of clove.

Bananas are great foils to the spicy-sweet flavor of this caramel sauce, though it’s also hard to beat atop classic vanilla ice cream.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
⅓ cup heavy cream
⅓ cup rye whiskey, plus 1 tablespoon
⅛ teaspoon salt
4–5 dashes aromatic bitters, like Angostura


In saucepot, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar, heavy cream and corn syrup. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove pot from heat, and add ⅓ cup rye whiskey. Return to medium-high heat, and whisk vigorously to combine. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat. Add salt, bitters and remaining whiskey.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes to let sauce thicken. Leftover caramel will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks. Makes about 1 cup.

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