This recipe teaches you how to make an Irish Whiskey Smoked Salted Caramel Sauce. The fundamental culinary science is the same, whether you add an Irish Whiskey or use beer, to flavor the caramel sauce.
When making a caramel sauce, it is important to understand the process and the flavor results. One of the flavor attributes of a delicious caramel sauce is bitterness. As sugar cooks, the darker the caramel color, the more bitter the sugar syrup becomes. As the sugar is caramelizing and getting closer to burning, the sweetness drops, and bitterness becomes a more dominant flavor in the final sauce. As the caramel is developing its flavor, it is stopped by adding the cream. The cream and butter add richness via fat, which rounds out the textural elements of a luscious caramel sauce.
Adding salt, in this case, a wood-smoked salt brings salinity to the sauce, layering another foundational flavor (salt | sweet | sour | bitter and umami). This is why salted caramel is so satisfying on the palate. As many different types of Irish Whisk(e)y and Scotches use different barley malts, some smoked over hardwood, while others add peat, bringing a unique characteristic to this finished distilled spirit. The addition of smoked salt enhances these flavor elements while bringing another attribute, smoke, to the taste profile. Sea salt can be used to replace smoked salt if you aren’t a fan or don’t have access to smoked salt in your spice pantry.
Replacing the Irish Whiskey for Beer:
Different beer styles can create different types of caramel sauce. When crafting your own caramel sauce, consider the IBU (International Bittering Units), as caramel has an inherent bitterness (from the caramelization of the sugar) and more IBUs will intensify that bitterness. Try using lower IBU styles of beer, such as Stout (Irish, Oatmeal, or Imperial) for a Stout Caramel Sauce, Irish Red Ale for a more malt-forward Red Ale Caramel Sauce, further enhance the caramel | toffee flavors with an Old Ale | Stock Ale / Wee Heavy | English Strong Ale | English Brown Ale making a Malted Caramel Sauce or even a Rauchbier | Smoke Beer | Smoked Porter for a Smoked Bier Caramel Sauce, omitting the smoked salt…
All these types of caramel sauce can be made using the recipe below. The same cooking technique is used to make the caramel sauce. Adding the smoked salt gives it an extra savory layer, that, with the salt, breaks up the sweetness that is associated with caramel sauce.
Ways To Use Irish Whiskey Smoked Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe:
- Add 2–3 tablespoons of the finished caramel sauce to 1 cup of whipping cream to make a Caramel Whipped Cream. The caramel sauce becomes the sugar and flavor for the whipping cream.
- Or warm the caramel and pour over ice cream (think Chocolate Stout Ice Cream Base), drizzle over a cake layer or garnish a dessert with a lattice pattern over the top or pool on the plate.
- Replace the sugar in the Chocolate Stout Ice Cream Base with 1/3 cup of the Irish Whiskey Smoked Salted Caramel Sauce to make an Irish Stout Chocolate Whiskey Caramel Ice cream!
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