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Preview image: a spoon lifts Uncle Nearest BBQ Sauce from a beige bowl which is on a wooden surface.

Whiskey BBQ Sauce with Uncle Nearest Whiskey

A smoky-sweet condiment to top your proteins with. Makes 2 cups.
Course Miscellany
Cuisine American
Keyword BBQ sauce, whiskey
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 15 2 tablespoon portions
Calories 93kcal


  • 3-quart saucier
  • whisk


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) from 1/4 large white onion minced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup, packed (110 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (177 milliliters) Uncle Nearest 1884 Whiskey or your preferred brand of whiskey
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (70 grams) molasses
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) cold water plus more to thin the sauce as needed


  • Heat the olive oil in a saucier over medium-high heat.
    Once the oil in the pot starts to shimmer, add the minced onions and garlic to the pot and sauté them, stirring frequently with a spoon, for 3-4 minutes.
    The onion and garlic will take on a slight brown tint by the end of this cooking time.
  • Add the brown sugar to the pot, then reduce the heat to medium. Stir the brown sugar into the onion and garlic, allowing it to dissolve, then allow it to come to simmer.
    Stir the mixture frequently to keep the sugar from burning. 
  • Once the sugar has dissolved and created a thick caramel-like syrup in the pot, add the Uncle Nearest Whiskey. Be careful to keep it from coming in contact with any flames since it's highly flammable.
    Use the spoon or a whisk to slowly incorporate the whiskey into the sugar mixture. Bring this liquid up to a simmer and allow it to cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  • After 2 minutes of simmering, add the tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, molasses, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup of water, the kosher salt, thyme, cumin, black pepper, celery salt, cayenne, and bay leaf to the pot.
    Stir these to break up the mustard and tomato paste and create smooth mixture. Bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. 
  • Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes or until it's reduced by half. *Use the line the sauce made in the pot (when it started cooking) as the gauge to see if it's reduced by half.*
    If after 15 minutes your sauce is too thin, continue simmering it for another 5 minutes. The consistency should be thick but still fluid, similar to heavy cream.
    If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a tablespoon or two of water. I recommend waiting until after you have pureed the sauce to properly assess whether it needs thinning, though. 
  • Once the sauce is properly thickened, remove, then discard, the bay leaf.
    Puree the sauce smooth using an immersion blender or by transferring it to a blender. Be sure to vent the blender lid.
  • Assess the thickness of the sauce and adjust as desired by adding more water.
    Allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring it to a serving dish or a mason jar.
    Use right away or store, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.


Swaps and Subs:

  • Replace the Uncle Nearest 1884 whiskey with your whiskey of choice or with bourbon.
  • Use turbinado sugar, or Sugar in the Raw, or light brown sugar in place of the dark brown sugar.
  • Swap the dijon mustard out and use yellow mustard instead. 
  • Replace the balsamic vinegar with apple cider vinegar, malt vinegar, or fruit vinegar.
  1. Because the sauce simmers and most of the alcohol cooks off, you can serve this to kids. However, since the flavor of the whiskey is still prominent, you should let people who are abstaining or in recovery know it's there.
  2. This sauce is great on all of your grilled, baked, or seared meats. Anywhere you would use BBQ sauce, consider using this recipe instead. 
  3. Canned sauce is good for 1 year.
  4. When you're pulling refrigerated sauce out to use, use clean utensils to scoop it out with to limit the introduction of foreign matter into the sauce, which will cause it to spoil faster.
  5. Only heat up what you plan to use instead of heating up the whole jar. Heating up the entire jar of sauce, only to return it to the fridge because you didn't use it, breeds bacteria. 
  6. To freeze this Whiskey BBQ Sauce:
    Spoon the cooled sauce into a freezer-safe bag or container. Press out any excess air from the bag. 
    • Freeze the sauce for 6 months. 
    • When you're ready to use it, allow it to thaw completely in the fridge. 


Calories: 93kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 415mg | Potassium: 150mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 104IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg