When I was a little kid, my dad would bring home all kinds of corporate gifts from his office around the holidays. Tons of chocolate and candy, and of course… the iconic popcorn tin filled with three different varieties of popcorn. If memory serves, they had buttered popcorn, cheesy popcorn and caramel corn. I actually have a very vivid memory of one year, days after Christmas, my sister and I in the living room watching The New Kids on the Block Hangin’ Tough VHS tape (seriously), singing into a toy stand microphone with flashing lights on the bottom, and eating popcorn from one of those big tins. This moment might actually be captured on a home video somewhere, which is just downright mortifying.
Anyway, back to the popcorn… It was no contest in our house – the caramel corn section was always the first to go in the tin, no questions asked. Being a huge peanut butter person means that I was also totally enamored with Cracker Jack growing up. Imagine how ecstatic I was to find out that a homemade version was totally doable. It’s also hopelessly addicting, but that’s neither here nor there
It’s been awhile since I made a batch of caramel corn and I wanted to jazz things up a bit. I started with bacon, because, well, bacon significantly improves just about everything, doesn’t it? I also switched up the nuts, opting for cashews instead of the traditional peanuts. Lastly, I added bourbon to the caramel mixture.
Bourbon and caramel? Good.
Bourbon and bacon? Good.
Bourbon and cashews? Good.
I feel like Joey from Friends rattling off that list. Basically, bourbon seemed like a good partner for everything else going into the popcorn. Plus, the Kentucky Derby is on Saturday, so I busted out the Jim Beam bourbon.
Whether you want to reminisce about the popcorn tins of the old days (are those still a thing? I haven’t seen one in at least a decade!) or need a snack to munch on while watching the Kentucky Derby, this is a killer recipe. It also makes a ton, so you’ll be a hero if you decide to bring it to a party.