I’ve always been something of a lightweight when it comes to holding my liquor. Considering my affinity for bourbon, this has always felt like a rather cruel trick played on me by the food gods. Yet whenever I toss back a little Bluegrass Soy Sauce, well, let’s just say I consider it my own personal Southern Comfort.

It seems that Matt Jamie, the chef and genius behind the only U.S.-based soy sauce microbrewery, is looking out for me. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Jamie begins with non-GMO soybeans and soft red winter wheat, which are both grown on a nearby farm in Bourbon County. But it’s more than terroir that brings the Bluegrass to this briny blend. Jamie relies on traditional Japanese methods for mixing and fermenting, and then, in a purely American twist, he ages the homemade soy sauce in repurposed oak barrels from Woodford Reserve Distillery in Kentucky. The wood is permeated with a smooth, oaky, caramel aroma, and as the soy sauce ferments, it, too, becomes infused with that distinctive bourbon twang. It, in turn, imparts a little of it to an endless array of foods. A couple of glugs add notes of smoked pepper to tomato sauce; a splash over tofu and broccoli brings a vanilla saltiness to Chinese stir-fry dishes; and I admit that merely eyeing the bottle now inspires me to order take-out sushi, just so I can dip tuna sashimi in a small puddle of the woody, brown-sugary brew. Even though a shot of it served straight up isn’t nearly as appealing as bourbon itself, Bluegrass Soy Sauce allows me to indulge my cravings. And without the looming threat of a hangover the next day, indulge I will.

Bluegrass Soy Sauce is available for $5 per 5-ounce bottle, $28 per 32-ounce bottle, and $3 for a wee 2-ounce travel-size bottle at bourbonbarrelfoods.com and through Amazon.com.

About Jenna Rose Levy

Saving room for dessert since birth, Jenna Rose Levy has always had an abnormal appreciation for food. After she worked at a Connecticut farm and for bakeries on the East Coast and West, there was no turning back. Jenna earned her Master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and she brings all her knowledge to work each day at Leite’s Culinaria and, on the side, to her food blog, Sweet Hearth. On the rare occasion that she isn’t doing something food-related, she can be found perfecting her Bananagrams game, planning her next globe-trotting adventure, or exploring the back roads of Boston as she trains for her first marathon.

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  1. Matt taught a sushi class at the cooking school at Jungle Jim’s and gave each of the students a bottle of the soy sauce. It is awesome and now I am adddicted to all the products. Good choice of a product to champion!

    1. Jennifer, I am totally jealous that you got to take part in a sushi class that used this! What are some of your other Bourbon Barrel favorites?

  2. Hello, I’m Casey, and I’m another Bourbon Barrel Foods addict. Have you tried the bourbon smoked pepper yet? Holy moly.

    1. Casey, now THERE’S a good idea. Haven’t had it, but it’s on the list.

      BTW, folks if you don’t know Casey and her blog, Good. Food. Stores., I suggest you shuffle off there for a visit.

    2. Casey, I LOVE the pepper! That was actually my introduction to Bourbon Barrel Foods, and now I’m working my way down the line. I’m really curious about the sorghum…that’s next on my list!