5 Best Bourbon Extracts In 2021: Reviews & Buying Guide

Cocktail Mixers & Other Essentials Reviews

Various bourbon extract to choose from

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It is a no-brainer that bourbon as liquor is deliciously good. But did you ever wonder that this spirit can also work well as an extract? Bourbon extract is made from the finest bourbon whiskey, which can be added to your savory meals or sweet treats to make the flavors even more exciting. The possibilities are endless!

Bourbon extracts vary depending on the brand. Some are mixed with vanilla, while others are 100% pure bourbon. To avoid confusion, we made this list of the best bourbon extracts worth a try.

Our Top Picks

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Best Overall - Thousand Oaks Barrel Bourbon Extract

• .65 fl oz.
• Powdered form
• Small scale pot bourbon taste

Best for Baking - Home Brew Ohio Tennessee Bourbon Extract

• .65 fl oz.
• Tennessee bourbon whiskey flavor
• Made with natural extracts

Best Capacity - Olivenation Bourbon Extract

• 8 oz. capacity
• Kosher certified
• Gluten-free

1. Thousand Oaks Barrel Bourbon Extract - Best Overall

 Thousand Oaks Barrel Bourbon Extract

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 Pros Cons
  • .65 fl oz.
  • Powdered form
  • Small scale pot bourbon taste
  • Leak proof packaging
  • Minimal bourbon flavor

What Customers Have To Say

Customers commented that this best bourbon extract gave them the taste of whiskey they were looking for. They also like that it does not have much alcohol, so it doesn’t interfere when freezing. 

Why We Think It’s Great

This best bourbon extract is made of swish barrel essences specifically formulated to taste like the liquor’s regular mash bill. The flavor is patterned like the traditional small-scale pot bourbons made in the 1800s. Hints of corn, winter wheat, rye, and other grains can be tasted in this extract. 

Compared to other brands, the Thousand Oaks Barrel bourbon extract comes in a powder form that needs to be dissolved using any type of liquor with 35-40% ABV. The pack is also tightly sealed to extend its shelf life and minimize leaking.

Who Should Buy It

This best bourbon extract is perfect for those who don’t like the liquid bottle variant. If you want to give this essence a sharper flavor from the alcohol, you may do so since you will decide how much liquor you will put in.

2. LorAnn Bourbon Extract - Best Tasting

LorAnn Bourbon Extract

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 Pros Cons
  • 1 fl oz.
  • Gluten-free
  • Sweet-oaky flavor
  • Non-alcoholic
  • Quite pricey

What Customers Have To Say

Amazon customers commented that this best bourbon extract is so potent that they only need a few drops to mix with their food to unleash the flavor. They also like the intense taste it gives to their baked goodies. 

Why We Think It’s Great

The LorAnn best bourbon extract is known for the naturally sweet and oaky flavor of bourbon but without its alcohol. The extract has a “super strength” feature, which only requires you to put a few drops in your dishes. 

Who Should Buy It

For those who are relatively new to bourbon extract, you might find this brand a good purchase simply because it comes in a small size. This means that you can try it out first and see if you will like it. 

3. Trader Joe's Pure Vanilla Bourbon Extract - Most Unique

Trader Joe's Pure Vanilla Bourbon Extract
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 Pros Cons
  • 4 fl oz.
  • Comes with vanilla
  • Strong bourbon flavor
  • Bitter aftertaste

What Customers Have To Say

Shoppers commented that this best bourbon extract makes their baked goodies such as cakes, cookies, and pies extra delicious because of the vanilla and bourbon’s sharp flavor. They also put the bourbon extract on their coffees, and it also does wonders.

Why We Think It’s Great

The Trader Joe’s best bourbon extract comes in a four-fluid-ounce bottle made of pure vanilla and 35% alcohol content. While it is way larger than other extracts, the product will last a long time as a few drops can already affect any food flavor.

Who Should Buy It

If you don’t want to purchase several small bottles of bourbon extract, this brand is for you. It also has a strong flavor profile that others might love.

4. Home Brew Ohio Tennessee Bourbon Extract - Best for Baking

Home Brew Ohio Tennessee Bourbon Extract
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 Pros Cons
  • .65 fl oz. capacity
  • Made with natural extracts
  • Non-alcoholic
  • Lacks flavor

What Customers Have To Say

A customer was always looking for ways to enhance her low-carb baked goods’ flavors. This bourbon extract is extremely rich and complex, and just ¼ to 1/2 teaspoon for a regular recipe adds a great flavor to her dishes. She furthered that the small amount required means this tiny 1-ounce bottle will last for a long time. 

Why We Think It’s Great

The Home Brew Ohio best bourbon extract is made with a high alcohol base to enhance your dishes or baked goodies flavor instantly. The brand uses 100% natural extracts and essential oils. While the extract gives off the natural bourbon taste, it’s non-alcoholic. 

Who Should Buy It

This is the best bourbon extract if you like a spicy and robust kick. It is made with natural oil and alcohol, so you only get the most distinct flavor you would expect from a bourbon extract.

5. Olivenation Bourbon Extract - Best Capacity

 Olivenation Bourbon Extract
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 Pros Cons
  • 8 oz. capacity
  • Kosher certified
  • Gluten-free
  • Best in sauces and whipped cream
  • Real bourbon extract
  • Less bourbon flavor

What Customers Have To Say

A customer commented that his wife is making a recipe that requires bourbon. However, both of them are not whiskey drinkers, so what they did is purchase this best bourbon extract. According to him, the bourbon extract gave off that nice liquor flavor to their recipe.

Why We Think It’s Great

The Olivenation best bourbon extract is made of pure bourbon whiskey, sugar, glycerin, and water. It comes in an 8 oz. bottle for large batches of cooking or baking involved. This bourbon extract is best used in savory or sweet recipes to add more depth in flavor and aroma.

Who Should Buy It

If you are working as a cook or always serve dishes in big batches, you will find this 8 oz. bottle of bourbon extract a good buy. 

Best Bourbon Extract Buying Guide

Choosing the best bourbon extract is more challenging than you thought. So to help you out, here are the factors you should consider before purchasing one. 

  • Taste

Bourbon extracts have one thing in common; they are all made of bourbon minus the alcohol. While this is true for all brands, each product still offers various flavors depending on the liquor they put in and other ingredients. 

If you want a stronger bourbon kick in your essence, you may choose a brand that uses 100% bourbon without any additional sugar or flavorings. But if you want a more subtle and sweet flavor, select a bourbon extract mixed with vanilla or other sweeteners. 

  • Size / Capacity

Extracts or essences are usually bottled in small sizes ranging from .65 fl oz. to 1 fl oz. They are packed like this since a single bottle would last you several uses. However, there are also bourbon extracts in large bottles with a capacity ranging from 4 oz. to 8 oz. These are perfect for those who cook or bake in big batches.

So if you are a home cook who doesn't use much bourbon extract, the small-sized ones are the ideal option. But, if you are always cooking and most of your recipes call for the best bourbon extract, the larger ones are better to purchase.

Bourbon Extract FAQ

1. What is bourbon extract?

Bourbon extract is most commonly known as bourbon vanilla extract. The former is made of 100% non-alcoholic bourbon whiskey. Meanwhile, the latter got its bourbon name since the vanilla beans used are from the island of Réunion, which was once called Ile Bourbon. It doesn’t necessarily use bourbon in the ingredients since other alcohols will suffice. 

However, if you want a clear-cut taste of bourbon in your dishes, you should go for bourbon extract and not bourbon vanilla extract.

2. Is there alcohol in bourbon vanilla extract?

The presence of alcohol in bourbon extract or bourbon vanilla extract varies on the brand. Some do not include any liquor, while some use alcohol in them.

3. How to make homemade bourbon extract?

You can find several bourbon extracts in your local stores or online shops such as Amazon. However, if you wish to make one on your own, you can follow this simple bourbon extract recipe. 

Ingredients

Steps to Make

  1. Pour the bourbon evenly into twelve 2 to 2.5 oz. bottles. 
  2. Cut a long slit down the length of each vanilla bean, exposing the seeds. Then cut each bean in half to create twelve short pieces.
  3. Place one vanilla bean segment in each bottle. Close the bottles tightly. Then shake vigorously.
  4. Allow the bottle to sit at least four weeks before gifting or using them. Every few days, give them a vigorous shake.

Conclusion

Bourbon extract is an optional ingredient to add to your dishes. However, using one will definitely level up your baked goodies or savory meals. 

In this roundup post, the clear-cut winner goes to Thousand Oaks Barrel Bourbon Extract because of its distinct and robust bourbon flavor. The second and third spots go to Home Brew Ohio Tennessee Bourbon Extract and Olivenation Bourbon Extract because of their ideal capacity and well-balanced flavors.

Have you tried using bourbon extract as an ingredient? How did it improve your dishes’ taste and aroma? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


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