As a bourbon geek, I wanted to hate peanut butter whiskey. But a small sip of a sample and the cocktail lover in me grabbed a bottle to go home and get my cocktail game on. And while Skrewball peanut butter whiskey is perhaps the best-known example of the peanut-flavored whiskies, it’s not the only one. I did, in fact, go home with a bottle.
I’m writing this article for everyone else who’s ended up at home with a bottle sitting nearly full on their bar wondering how best to use it.
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What is Peanut Butter Whiskey?
With flavored whiskies all the rage lately (ostensibly to convert current vodka and liqueur drinkers to whiskey drinkers), it’s useful to consider how we got here. Back before you could buy pb-flavored liqueur already made, bartenders and mixologists were using a process called fat washing to combine the delicious, nutty beauty that is peanut butter with bourbon and whiskey.
Many bourbons and whiskies have nutty notes – both in the nose and flavor. Combining those together is a natural match.
In fat washing, a food product full of fat, like peanut butter, bacon fat, or browned butter is combined with whiskey, left to sit for a few hours, then moved to a freezer for 24 hours until the solids from the fat have frozen at the top of the container.
The mixture is strained through a fine-mesh sieve, then a coffee filter (which may take several hours) until the resulting whiskey is flavorful but translucent.
Fat washing adds both flavor and mouthfeel to a spirit. Whiskey becomes creamier and more viscous – and with something like peanut butter as the flavoring agent, it reminds me of taking a huge bite of a pb sandwich with the feel of it thick throughout the mouth.
With the current brands commercially available, the liqueurs have tilted to the sweet side of the spectrum, and although they are full of peanut butter flavor they don’t have quite the depth of flavor of a naturally fat-washed whiskey. With the peanut butter whiskies I’ve tried I get a lot of butterscotch on the nose, and a lot of very sweet peanut flavors.
Types of PB Whiskey
Many brands are playing catch-up to compete with Skrewball Whiskey, the first to market. Some brands have borrowed the shape of the bottle, or the sound of the name, and others have similar logos. All of them linger around 70 proof – 35% ABV. This is less alcohol than a bourbon or whiskey, but more than many liqueurs.
Here’s a list of a few of the bigger names in the market. I can’t speak to the taste of most of these, but if you get a chance to sample them at a store or festival see what you think. Not all liqueurs are created equal, so always sample before purchasing. Most of these are very sweet liqueurs, and in cocktail recipes, they’ll act as a sweet modifying element.
- PB & W Peanut Butter Whiskey (out of Old Elk Distillery) – 70 proof
- Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey – 70 proof
- P’Nutty Whiskey from K.D. Distilling Co (which is owned by Buffalo Trace) – 70 proof
- Skatterbrain Peanut Butter Whiskey (owned by the United States Distilled Products Co) – 70 proof
- Ram’s Point Peanut Butter Whiskey (owned by Sazerac Company) – 70 proof
- SQRRL Peanut Butter Whiskey by Beam Suntory – 70 proof
If you’re having problems finding peanut butter whiskey at your local stores, head to Curiada, an online marketplace, to have it delivered straight to you house!
How to Drink Peanut Butter Whiskey
Every time I try a fun spirit in a liquor store and bring a bottle home I face the same question that you do: what goes with peanut butter whiskey (or whatever I’ve brought home)?
It’s a fact salespeople and marketers know: if we taste something we’re much more likely to buy it. It’s why Costco was staffed with tasting stations before the pandemic.
And while that half-ounce of flavored whiskey in the liquor store tastes delicious, it’s a different story once you get a 750 mL home and wonder what to make with it. Here are some very simple peanut butter whiskey drink recipes to make at home:
Adult Peanut Butter Chocolate Coffee: Brew a cup of hazelnut coffee, add 1 oz of peanut butter whiskey and 1 oz of chocolate whiskey or creme de cocoa. Top with whipped cream and a Reese’s cup or three.
Adult PB Coffee: Take your favorite coffee, and add 1.5 – 2 ounces of peanut butter whiskey. Done.
Adult PBJ Coffee: Add the following to a 10-12 oz cup of coffee: 1 oz peanut butter liqueur and 1 oz Chambord Black raspberry liqueur or strawberry liqueur.
Nutted Up Lemonade: Add 1 oz of peanut butter liqueur to a tall glass of your favorite lemonade. Lemon tarts often have nutty crusts. This is proof that the combination works in liquid form.
Highballs and Tall Cocktails
PB&J Highball: Add 1.5 ounces of pb whiskey to a tall glass, fill with ice, and top with strawberry seltzer water.
Fluffernutter Highball: Add 1 ounce of peanut butter whiskey and 1 ounce of marshmallow vodka to a highball glass. Fill with ice and top with club soda or unflavored seltzer water. Garnish with marshmallows.
Peanut Butter Whiskey Sour: Make a classic sour with 1 oz peanut butter liqueur, 1 oz bourbon, 1 oz lemon juice and ½ oz simple syrup. Shake together and strain into a rocks glass over ice.
PB Chocolate Milk: A perfect quick cocktail before bedtime – a glass of chocolate milk with an ounce or two of peanut butter whiskey.
Boozy Peanut Butter Milkshake: Add two ounces of peanut butter whiskey to a vanilla milkshake.
Boozy Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake: Add two ounces of peanut butter whiskey to a chocolate milkshake.
Peanut Butter Cup Shot: To make this peanut butter whiskey shot, combine shot glasses full of equal parts peanut butter whiskey, chocolate liqueur or creme de cocoa, and your chosen dairy or dairy alternative. This tastes best when all three have been in the freezer.
PBJ Shot: Combine shot glasses with equal parts peanut butter whiskey and Chambord or Raspberry liqueur. Again, best when everything is chilled first.
Easy Peanut Butter Whiskey Cocktails
In addition to the quick drinks listed above, you can take a little more time and create a memorable cocktail at home to use up that bottle still sitting on your bar.
I learned my lesson here. Don’t try to use grape jelly in this cocktail. Rather, make a simple syrup from concord grape juice as the sweet element in your Old Fashioned. Non-whiskey drinkers love sipping on this peanut butter cocktail.
The King loved peanut butter banana sandwiches and this great riff on a mint julep takes advantage of the flavors of peanut butter whiskey combined with a banana liqueur. Topping the cocktail with a banana peanut butter garnish just makes it perfect.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Old Fashioned
Anything combining peanut butter and chocolate is a winning combination for me. This Peanut Butter Chocolate Old Fashioned cocktail keeps the bourbon at the forefront with the bulk of the base spirit. However, if you prefer, you can split the difference between the pb whiskey and the bourbon for a sweeter, more indulgent cocktail.
An elegant but fun evening cocktail, this peanut butter chocolate drink combines peanut butter chocolate whiskey with amaro in a variation of a Black Manhattan. The amaro serves to punch up the nutty notes from peanut butter chocolate whiskey. Recipe here.
A riff on the Godfather (in the vein of variations such as the Godmother and the Godchild), this switch up of a classic scotch and amaretto cocktail is a modern miracle in the making. Garnish with a lemon peel, instead of the classic orange that goes with a Godfather, and sip away over ice.
- 2 oz bourbon whiskey
- ½ oz peanut butter whiskey
Add bourbon and peanut butter whiskey to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks-filled old fashioned glass and garnish with a lemon peel.
Perfect PBJ Cocktail
Using the Perfect Manhattan template, I added a touch of Chambord to stand in for the jelly and the sweet part of the sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, and cut back the bourbon ratio just a bit to add in the flavored whiskey. This is a refined version of most peanut butter whiskey drinks – and one a bourbon lover is most likely to enjoy as it plays off the nuttiness of the base bourbon and the butterscotch flavor from the flavored whiskey.
- 1.5 oz bourbon whiskey
- ½ oz peanut butter whiskey
- ½ oz Dolin Dry vermouth
- ½ oz Chambord black raspberry liqueur
- 2 dashes chocolate bitters (Scrappy’s, Bittermens or Angostura.)
Combine bourbon, pb whiskey, dry vermouth, Chambord and bitters in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir until very well-chilled and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with fresh raspberries.
Wide varieties of cocktails await you after a purchase of a bottle of pb whiskey. Get yours out, start simple, and work your way up to more intriguing and fun nutty cocktails. And be sure to tag or message me if you find a new combination that knocks your socks off. I love hearing from you!
And to find it online, head to the Skrewball link at Curiada – you’ll even get it delivered to your door!
If you’ve decided to go another route or you’re looking for an easy tailgate cocktail, head here to the easiest tailgate cocktail for whiskey lovers.
Recommended Bar Tools
You don’t need every slick, beautiful bar tool out there, but there are several I’ll recommend. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, that does not affect the cost of the items below.) My favorite pieces usually come from the Cocktail Kingdom section of Amazon:
You may already have these bar essentials, but just in case:
Peanut Butter Jelly Cocktail
- Combine bourbon, pb whiskey, dry vermouth, Chambord and bitters in a mixing glass.
- Add ice. Stir until very well-chilled.
- Strain into a chilled coupe.
- Garnish with fresh raspberries.