bourbon-spiked banana bread

bourbon-laced banana bread

My love-affair with the South is multi-fold and I can wax poetic for hours putting most normal folks to sleep, but if I had to pick my three favorite things, it would be what I refer to as the Three B’s: bluegrass, barbecue and bourbon. And if ever I could combine all three, it would be pure heaven. It’s very hard to me to resist bourbon in food as well. The famous tipsy-cakes is probably what started the love-affair and the Jack Daniel’s ice cream at this place didn’t help the matters. I’ve sampled quite a few bourbons in the past, and have finally found my favorite, but I’m always on the lookout for new, small-batch-made bourbon.

bourbon-laced banana bread

I’m not sure where the idea of putting bourbon into banana bread came from, but I’m glad I did it – the bread gave off a deep caramel aroma and it accentuated the sweetness of the banana. In my now-predicable move, I substituted cranberries for walnuts as I greatly prefer more tart to my quick-breads and because I have my cranberry supply to go through.

I suggest pouring out a slightly more generous portion of bourbon than the recipe calls for – it’s quite possible, if not probable, that you might want to have a taste prior to adding the bourbon to the batter, you know, to make sure it hasn’t gone bad or anything. Quality control is so important nowadays.

UPDATE: Kris in the comment section, very accurately pointed out to me that JD is not bourbon but is sour mash whiskey – a very good point indeed. For those of you looking for a quick primer on the difference, I found one here!

Bourbon-spiked Banana Bread
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tsp bourbon
1/2 cup cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream, bourbon and vanilla; mix to combine. Stir in nuts, and pour into prepared pan.
3. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.


  • Kris

    Gotta be careful with your descriptions there — confusing Jack Daniel’s (Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey) with bourbon can rile up some bourbon lovers!
    I will be trying some bourbon in my next batch of banana bread though.

  • radish

    Hey Kris, excellent point, I didn’t even think of it.. I would not drink JD though, it’s a bit too harsh for my palette, I think that in tipsy cakes it’s just fine. The show I watched the cakes discussed on referred to JD as bourbon – but you make a very good point – thanks for pointing it out! i hope i didn’t offend any bourbon experts out there :)

  • EB

    Oh man this is like my perfect food!! I have a love of the bourbon and I dig banana bread like no other.

  • Sherry

    Mmmm, banana bread with Bourbon sounds great right about now. I’m currently on a road trip and haven’t been near a kitchen for over a month (except for a very brief – and tasty – 3 days). Right now we’re in Bardstown Kentucky and have been touring Bourbon distilleries for a couple days. What fun!
    Once we’re home again I think I’ll put Bourbon-spiked Banana Bread near the top of my “things-to-cook-list.” Thanks for the inspiration!

  • rose

    Umm… maybe if I had a swig of hooch first I wouldn’t mind that I can’t find the amount of flour your recipe calls for? Am I overlooking it? I’m going with 2 cups, since there’s a cup of sugar, but I’ll check back for the real amount. Your sub of cranberries for walnuts sounds delish. Thanks!

  • Jesse

    Looks fantastic! My friend and I drove through Kentucky last year just touring bourbon distilleries… it was amazing. And no doubt I got quite the bourbon education. One thing I learned for sure is bourbon is great in food! And sweets!

  • Amanda Boyce

    The minute I saw the title “bourbon spiked banana bread” I was sold. I literally dashed to the liquer store, which I’m sure made the clerk nervous as it was only 4 p.m. and picked up a nice sack of booze. hehe like I needed an excuse, right?! I’m looking forward to baking this sucker up!

  • Debbie

    This sounds delicious. I just posted a banana bread and am always looking for a new one with different ingredients. I will give this one a try!!!

  • Beki

    Could I substitute pumpkin puree for bananas? I love bourbon infused desserts and I also just fell in love with pumpkin bread. An ASAP answer would be appreciated because I want to bring this to a party this weekend.
    Thank you!

  • radish

    Hi Beki, i am sure you can – though i am not sure of the proportion. Have you tried looking up pumkin spice bread on the Martha Stewart site? I think she has a great one. If you want to reach me sooner, you should email me next time :) – it’s on my ‘about me’ page.

  • Paul

    This is the best! I just used Eagles Ridge – 2 Tablespoons… last round Noah’s Mill 1 1/2 Tablespoons, everybody raved about it – the cranberries and bourbon enhance the bannana flavor.

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