Bourbon Wings – Da BOM

Bourbon Wings –  Da B.O.M.

by Kevin Orr

Bourbon wings? Oh yes. If you’ve never been to our distillery to take a tour or celebrate a special release’s open house, we’re located at East 25th and Payne, on the border of an area known as Cleveland’s AsiaTown.

I went to work on this recipe and pulled some inspiration from our neighborhood’s grocers and restaurants that represent the community… both as whiskey makers and proud Clevelanders.

My B.O.M. Sauce (Bourbon, Orange, Maple.) is just that: sauce. You can toss, dip, or coat to finish your bourbon wings. Let’s get started.

Tools You Need:

Stock pot
Medium saucepan
Small bowl
Small whisk
Large whisk
3 large bowls
2 cooling racks
Roasting pan or baking sheet


3 lb bag of frozen chicken wings

Brine the Chicken

Brine Ingredients
1 TBSP sesame seeds.
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 sweet onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic peeled, smashed, and roughly chopped. If you love garlic add more.
4 TBSP coarse salt. Don’t use table salt.
1 TBSP dried rosemary
2 Cups of water
3 TBSP or lime juice
1 pound of ice

Brine Preparation

  1. Put your stockpot over medium-high heat and toss in your sesame seeds. Once you can smell them becoming fragrant. You don’t want them to burn.
  2. Once a few wisps of smoke come off your fragrant seeds, add your sesame oil and stir to coat.
  3. When you hear the seeds sizzling (maybe popping), add the diced onion and stir. Bump the heat up to high and add a pinch or two from the 4 TBSP of salt you have for the brine.
  4. When the onions start to sweat (they’ll look wet and become fragrant), add the garlic and salt, stirring continuously. Garlic burns easily and tastes nasty when it does.
  5. When your onions are translucent and garlic is aromatic, add the rosemary and stir for another 30 seconds. You just want to heat it up and get it smelly.
  6. Add the water and rice vinegar (or lime juice) and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring until the salt is dissolved.
  7. Remove from heat and add the pound of ice, cooling it for your chicken.

The Brining
Add the chicken to the pot once it has cooled and cover it up with plastic wrap, pushing the air bubbles out, and put in the refrigerator for about 18-30 hrs. There’s no hard rule to this, whatever works with your schedule works for the chicken. Just make sure you stir it up every few hours.

Cook the Chicken

You will need:
3 lbs brined chicken
2 TBSP red curry powder
½ TBSP coarse salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp five spice powder
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper

Chicken Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Pull your chicken from the brine and rinse thoroughly. The flavor is already in the meat, so if you don’t rinse it well, it’s going to be too salty.
  3. Combine spices and rub onto the wings
  4. Bake the wings for about 25 min, or until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees
  5. Pull the chicken and let it cool while you get everything else together and enjoy a preemptive Peking Sour.
  6. Then another 5 min on broil to brown up the skin and make it crunchy
bourbon wings

Make the Sauce

B.O.M. Sauce Ingredients
The zest of 1 fresh orange that’s been thoroughly cleaned.
1 Cup fresh orange juice, or high-quality store-bought stuff. It makes a difference.
3oz Maple Syrup (grade B is fine: if it’s real it’ll work)
1oz Lime Juice
2 TBSP soy sauce
At least 3 cloves of garlic peeled, smashed, and diced. No more than 6.
½ TSP ginger powder
¼ to ¾ tsp Red Chili Flakes
4 oz Cleveland Whiskey Black Reserve Bourbon
1 TBSP corn starch

Garnish Ingredients
Chopped green onions
OPTIONAL: The zest of 1 lemon

Sauce Preparation

  1. Zest your orange before juicing it and set the zest aside.
  2. Place your saucepan over low heat and the orange juice, maple syrup, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and chili flakes and let it come to barely a simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Use your small whisk to mix the Cleveland Whiskey Black Reserve Bourbon and corn starch together to form a slurry in your small bowl, and keep mixing until it is completely uniform.
  4. Add the slurry to the sauce slowly, whisking vigorously with your large whisk to prevent clumps. It can get real gross real quick if you go too fast or don’t whisk fast enough… or didn’t actually combine the corn starch and bourbon completely.
  5. Stir the sauce and let it cook out for about 15 minutes. You may need to add a little water to keep the starch from thickening it too much over that time.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest and set aside.
bourbon wings

Putting the Plate together

  1. Toss the wings in the Orange Maple Bourbon glaze
  2. Garnish with green onion and lemon zest.
  3. Add a pinch of finishing salt if you need it.