Easy Bourbon Ham Glaze: A Sublime Homemade Touch for an All-American Feast

During yesterday’s dreaded grocery store run, as I zigzagged through the aisles in a desperate attempt at achieving shopping-basket Tetris – a skill that should be listed on my résumé – I bumped into my old high-school nemesis, Amelia. I know, what are the odds of meeting the one person you don’t want to see while stocking up on toilet paper? Definitely not part of my grocery list bingo game (don’t judge me, it’s a fun distraction).

As we exchanged the usual pleasantries, the conversation took a turn we all dread: the comparison of accomplishments. And believe me, my mind was racing to jazz up my life story faster than you could say “soufflé.” But then, in a moment of pure genius, I uttered the magic words: “ham maestro.” Was it absurd? Undoubtedly. But Amelia looked intrigued.

You see, the humble ham, often overlooked in the culinary world, had been all but forgotten – until I had what could only be described as a eureka moment. The kind New Yorkers will one day brag about – our little secret contribution to gastronomic excellence. Sure, the idea struck me while binge-watching some food shows, but who says inspiration can’t come from endless hours of ingesting culinary content from the comfort of my couch?

What’s this earth-shattering revelation? Hang on, I’ll get to that. But first, don’t forget that the next time Amelia comes knocking with her latest meditation retreat win, you too can whip out the timeless classic, “I’m a ham maestro, thank you very much.” Trust me, folks, it doesn’t get any more exclusive than that in the world of achievements.

Stay tuned for the full recipe, and you’ll understand why New York City and holiday dinners have more in common than just pigeons stealing pizza crusts. Get ready for your own eureka moment as you unveil this stellar twist on the traditional ham to your spellbound dinner guests. Amelia won’t know what hit her.


  1. Brown sugar – A sweet and rich ingredient, it gives depth to the glaze and helps it thicken to a syrupy consistency.

  2. Maple syrup – A touch of natural sweetness and a hint of classic maple flavor that pairs well with ham.

  3. Bourbon – The star of the show, it adds depth and warmth to the glaze. A higher quality bourbon is recommended for a better finish. Lemon and orange flavors pair well with ham.


  1. First, 15-20 minutes before your holiday ham is done cooking, you will need to get a small saucepan out. In it, combine ¾ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup maple syrup, and ¼ cup bourbon. Bring it to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes. As it cooks, make sure to keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally. You want the glaze to thicken to a nice, syrupy consistency. If you’re using a cheap bourbon, it might not have the same taste and you should consider using a higher quality bourbon for a better quality finish on the glaze. Also, you can look at the “mash” or ingredients used in the mixture of the bourbon, to see what the flavor notes are, this will change the flavor of your glaze. I recommend lemon and orange flavors for pairing with ham.
  2. Once the glaze is at the desired consistency, take your ham out of the oven and pour the glaze over it. Using a basting brush, brush it between each slice. Now, this is the part where you get to show off your creative side, you can be as artistic as you want with your brushing. And there you have it, an amazing bourbon glaze for your holiday ham. Serve it up and enjoy the fruits of your labor! But don’t forget to keep an eye on the clock, you don’t want to overcook your ham because you were too busy admiring your artistic brushing skills.
  • Make sure you allow the glaze to simmer long enough to completely melt the brown sugar; otherwise, your glaze will have a gritty texture.

Serving Suggestions for Amazing Bourbon Glaze for Ham

This amazing bourbon glaze is the perfect addition to any holiday ham. Here are a few serving suggestions to make your next meal a hit:

  • Serve with roasted vegetables: Roast up some carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes, and brush them with the glaze for a delicious side dish.
  • Ham and eggs: Serve the glazed ham with a side of scrambled eggs for a classic breakfast dish.
  • Ham and cheese sandwich: Slice the ham and serve it on a toasted baguette with melted cheese and a drizzle of the glaze.
  • Ham and pineapple pizza: Top a pizza crust with pineapple, ham, and mozzarella cheese, then drizzle the glaze on top for a sweet and savory pizza.
  • Ham and mac and cheese: Serve the glazed ham with a side of creamy mac and cheese for a comforting meal.
  • Ham and mashed potatoes: Serve the glazed ham with a side of creamy mashed potatoes for a classic and comforting meal.


What kind of ham is this glaze perfect for?

This glaze is perfect for a holiday ham, but you can use it for any type of ham you like.

Can I use a different type of sugar?

You can use any type of sugar that you like, but brown sugar works best in this recipe to give it a rich and caramely flavor. If you don’t have brown sugar, you can use regular white sugar, or even honey or molasses as alternatives.

Can I use a different type of alcohol?

The recipe calls for bourbon, but you can use any type of dark liquor like rum or brandy. Or you could even try using a whiskey for a stronger taste. But I recommend using a higher quality bourbon for a better quality finish on the glaze.

How long do I need to let the glaze simmer?

Allow the glaze to simmer long enough to completely melt the brown sugar, otherwise, your glaze will have a gritty texture. So make sure you let it cook for about 10 minutes.

Can I baste my ham with this glaze while it cooks?

You can, but the glaze is best used as a finishing touch, right before you serve your ham. Baste the ham with the glaze between each slice, so that each bite has a nice, even coating of the glaze. This way the flavors will soak in nicely and give your ham a delicious boost.

What type of flavor do you recommend for pairing with ham?

Personally, I recommend trying lemon and orange flavors when pairing with ham. It will make your glaze taste so fresh and delicious. I’ve done it a few times and I’ve had so many compliments.

Bourbon Ham Glaze

A sophisticated take on the classic Bourbon Ham Glaze that is made with high-quality ingredients and seasoned to perfection.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 10 Servings
Calories 747 kcal


  • Small saucepan
  • Basting brush
  • Mixing spoon


  • 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup, Grade A
  • 1/4 Cup Bourbon Whiskey, High Quality
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp Freshly Grated Ginger
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Cloves
  • Salt and Pepper, To taste


  • In a small saucepan, combine the light brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon whiskey, dijon mustard, grated ginger, minced garlic, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • Stir the mixture gently and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Let the glaze simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened to a syrupy consistency.
  • Season the glaze with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 15 to 20 minutes before your ham is done cooking, pour the glaze over your ham and brush it between each slice.
  • Let the ham cook for an additional 10 minutes, basting every 3 minutes, to allow the glaze to caramelize and form a beautiful crust.
  • Serve the ham hot, garnished with fresh herbs, and enjoy your amazing bourbon ham glaze with a twist!


For a smoother glaze, you can strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer before seasoning it.
You can also add a splash of fresh orange juice to the glaze for a brighter, tangy flavor.
If you want a more intense glaze, use dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar.
For a sweeter glaze, you can add a little bit of honey to the mixture.
To make the glaze gluten-free, use a gluten-free bourbon and dijon mustard.


Calories: 747kcalCarbohydrates: 175gProtein: 2gSodium: 654mgPotassium: 210mgFiber: 2gSugar: 169gVitamin A: 612IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 96mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Bourbon, Ham, Glaze
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