Boozy Jams: a Surprisingly Delicious Combination

Peach Jam with BourbonWanting to kick my jams up a notch this summer, I picked up a copy of Better Homes and Gardens Canning magazine at the supermarket checkout. Choosing it over the latest issue of Glamour or People definitely forced me to face my decline in sex appeal, but having lugged around my pregnant belly for 8 months, I was pretty used to feeling far from sexy. When I flipped open the magazine, I was so glad to have chosen jams over beauty creams and celebrity gossip: the recipes in the magazine were surprisingly exciting, many involving combining booze and fruit to make jams: Peach Bellini Jam, Blood Orange and Beaujolais Marmelade, and Cider ‘n Spice Jelly.

Bourbon and Peaches for CanningAdding liquor to jam sounded just radical enough to be delicious, so I jumped right in with a batch of Bourbon Peach Jam. I wasn’t disappointed. The alcohol boiled away and left behind a rich spice texture that really added to the golden peaches. We’ve already devoured two of the eight jars I canned. To have enough renegade boozy jams to get us through winter and give to friends and family, looks like we might need to restock our liquor cabinet before the summer ends.

Special Interest BHG Canning PublicationThis special edition BHG publication doesn’t seem to be available anywhere online, so you’ll have to face possible supermarket shame and pick it up in front of neighbors and friends. If you run to your neighborhood Borders in the last few days before it closes, you may be able to pick it up for 50% off the $9.99 sticker price.

Recipe: Bourbon Peach Jam (adapted from Better House and Gardens)

Summary: Combining Bourbon and other liquors with fruit to make jams seems like nothing short of revolutionary, but the alcohol boils away, leaving behind a delicious exotic spiciness.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8


  • 4 cups of peeled and finely chopped peaches (about 5 peaches)
  • 5 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/3 cup of Bourbon
  • 1 package of pectin (I used Ball Sure Jell)


  1. Peel and chop the peaches.
  2. Wash your jars and lids in warm, soapy water. Place them on a clean towel on the counter. Set a large pot of water to boil.
  3. In a separate soup pot, pour the cut peaches, lemon juice, lemon zest, Bourbon, and pectin. Bring to a roiling boil (the type of boil that does not stop when you stir the pot).
  4. As soon as the peaches are really boiling, pour the sugar in one fell swoop. Bring back to a roiling boil. Remove any foam on top and turn off the heat.
  5. Pour the hot jam into clean jars one at a time, using a funnel, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top. Wipe the tops of any spilled jam and close the lid.
  6. Once all your jars are filled, place in the boiling water carefully, making sure to have at least 1 inch of water above each jar. Process each jar for 10 minutes in the boiling water. Remove and leave on the counter overnight. Once out of the water, the jars should pop as they seal and the little raised bump in the middle of each lid inverts. You should not be able to press that little raised middle down to make your own pop. If the jars do not seal properly, just place the jam in the fridge and use in the next few weeks. It will still be delicious.

Microformatting by hRecipe.



19 Responses to Boozy Jams: a Surprisingly Delicious Combination

  1. Why are we surprised? Isn’t it a well known fact of cooking that adding booze makes almost anything taste better? (Case in point, my bourbon balls, which everyone raves over. “What do you put in them?” “Um, Nilla wafers. And Bourbon.”)

    Now I want to make jam this weekend.

    • I have a feeling your Bourbon balls are going to keep me very happy when winter returns to Chicago all too soon! Let’s face it. Not only is Bourbon fun to cook with, it’s just fun to say. Especially when combined with the word balls.

  2. Hi-

    I picked up that issue too and have used some of the recipes. There’s a spice apple jelly that couldn’t have been easier to make with Trader Joe’s delicious refrigerated apple cider. I vamped a lot with the basic peach jam to come up with a white nectarine and yellow peach conserve flavored with moscato and pecans.

    Most recently I did the Vidalia Onion and Maple conserve with less than steller results. The flavor is superb but the liquids took so long to evaporate that what I got was mush instead of the glistening strands of onion that he pic indicates.

    Since there’s no way to reach anyone at BH&G to get any troubleshooting help I wondered if you’ve tried it or if you have any ideas about how to eliminate the liquids from the onion that just seemed to keep coming instead of evaporating.

    Canning is such a satisfying thing to do and you can come up with things that you’re just not going to find any place else. But when there’s a fail, there’s a lot of frustration and disappointment. This particular recipe, however, is just so good it’s worth trying to problem solve to optimum results. If I can get it right it would make great holiday gifts.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas you may have.

    • Experimenting with savory canning is on my bucket list for this summer. I had been planning on doing tomato jams, but thanks to your comment, I’m going to try the vidalia onion and maple conserve. It sounds absolutely amazing and, as you suggest, a great holiday gift. I’m going to play around with it for the next few weeks and will get back to you with my thoughts. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Ritchie,
      I use the basic Ball jars that you can buy at our local supermarket. Would love to get prettier jars this summer though! Great gifts.

      • Ok thanks!

        Where are you from in France? I live in Vannes in the Morbihan.

        I know the jars as the vacuum release type, although the ones you use show the deep stainless lid which makes it look pretty.

        Fantastic recipes by the way!



        • Ritchie,
          I now live in Chicago, but grew up in Neuilly. My mother now lives in the Loire Valley and we visit as often as we can. These jars are Ball canning jars available in the States. I’m sure Amazon could get them to you though!


    • I love the decadence of a boozy jam in the morning. Glad you like it too. I find that the bourbon gets more pronounced in the jar as time goes by so was actually thinking of using less next time. But I’m a complete wimp when it comes to drinks!

  3. You are so cool! I do not think I have read through something like this before.
    So great to find another person with genuine thoughts
    on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up.
    This web site is one thing that’s needed on the web, someone with some originality!

    • I have been canning most of my life since about 6 i think. I would help my Nonnie and Mom make Apricot pineapple jam without pectin.
      54 yrs later: Still canning A lot 1,00 jars last summer. Not as many this year to many Grands being born!
      I made apricot honey jack jam with out pectin. Well i truly wish there were more cots to be had.
      So this will be the task for the coming weekend but with peaches.
      The recipe :
      I played a bit but it works and is a healthier version if there can a such a thing: I hope you don’t mind?
      15 cups of prepared fruit
      3 lemons juiced save that juiced lemon please
      21/2 cups sugar
      Place in a large bowl and stir altogether place the squeezed lemons in there also. This saves that beautiful color. Coverwith wax or parchment paper overnight. place in the fridge.
      the next day:
      Be ready it goes quick
      Prepare your jars
      Remove the lemons
      Measure out 1/2 cup of honey Jack bourbon
      Take 1/2 of the fruit mixture and place in a large stock pan and bring to a rip roaring boil stirring the entire time. Reduce the heat add the bourbon and continue to boil at the gentle rolling stage for about 20 mins. keep stirring at this point test the syrup by the spoon test or my test ladle some on a plate run your finger down the middle and if it does not run together it is ready for the jars. Process the same way as any other jam.This jam is not stiff. It is not overly sweet either. it is just fruit that has naturally macerated and brought its own starch up to thicken. I hope you like it and that it was okay to post here.

  4. Just wondering if adding booze late in the process could lead to setting problems due to the alcohol content? Happy to boil it all up to be left with the residual flavours and not the alcohol but might be fun to leave a bit more of a kick. Living in SW France I add a generous splash of Armagnac to my Seville orange marmalade and, as currently on the stove, to my copious amounts of fig jam.

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