Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ Sauce from J. Riley Distillery
By: Sara De Leeuw
I’m back with another terrific new spot to share with you. This month we went to J. Riley Distillery in Redlands. It's the only small craft whiskey distillery in the Inland Empire.
Located on Nevada Street in Redlands, the distillery’s owner and Redlands native Jason Riley shared with us the process and passion involved in creating his signature whiskeys.
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Riley uses a blue corn mash to make his whiskey and then ages it in brand new barrels made of American White Oak. The barrels have to be charred to a specific depth. Every distilled spirit has its rules and regulations, and this is just one of the requirements Riley has to follow in creating his unique whiskeys.
Riley uses only blue corn to create the mash for his whiskeys, because it is indigenous to the United States and, he says, “It’s the most American I can get.” As a former Marine and devoted patriot, he is proud of his country and believes whiskey is “America’s drink.”
Riley also believes in making traditional whiskey built on integrity, and it doesn’t take much to get him talking about the history of whiskey in the United States and the things that sparked his passion for creating his own distillery. He loves to share and takes great pride in educating people about whiskey and how to enjoy it. He genuinely wants people to come see the still, learn how everything works and to show you his operations. He’s currently working on expanding his tasting room and will soon be offering classes and pairings with local cooking schools and chefs.
Being fairly new to the world of craft whiskey, J Riley Distillery is already making a name for itself by taking home medals in the recent Los Angeles International Spirits Competition. Its California Clear Whiskey took silver for packaging and bronze for taste; Jeremiah Riley Bourbon (named after Jason’s son) took bronze for flavor.
With such a great passion for his products and his deep love of America, I couldn’t think of anything better to create with Jason’s Bourbon than a perfect summer, all-American barbecue sauce. We even made a video to show you how to put it all together.
Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup bourbon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce is reduced to 2 cups (about 10 minutes). Stir sauce often so it doesn't burn.
Use with your favorite protein. Works well with burgers, pork chops, chicken or ribs. Can be made up to two weeks ahead.
The next time you’re in Redlands, visit J. Riley Distillery. It is open every Saturday for tours and also sells T-shirts, tumblers and pancake mix, which is made with the same blue corn that fuels Riley’s whiskey. A gluten-free option is also available. Riley will make you a drink so you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere of this unique urban craft whiskey distillery. (Insider Tip: try the California Mule made with J. Riley California Clear Whiskey).
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