Robin's Bourbon and Beer Chili

It's a cold, damp and rainy spring day outside today. The kind of day that I know is necessary to a lush green summer but still not the type of day that is all that fun to live through. Especially when you are sick with a cold. I have the kind of cold that affects the upper respiratory. So of course, that means no fun tastings either. 

But wait! There is one thing that would be perfect on a day like today, a big bowl of Chili. I talked to my wife about it and she was gracious enough to share her secret and award-winning (office chili cook-off winner is an award, right?) recipe with you fine folks.

She wanted me to share that this is a heavily adapted version of a recipe that was shared with her by a fellow Minnesotan via Twitter. 

Robin's Bourbon and Beer Chili


  • 1 bottle of beer – Heavy stouts or hoppy IPAs both work nicely, Stouts make for a sweeter finished product.
  • 4 oz of bourbon – Make it something you like to drink. We use Old Grand-Dad 114 or Wild Turkey 101. The sweeter the bourbon, the sweeter the chili will be.
  • 1 pound of stew meat – we use beef or venison
  • 1 pound of Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 12-ounce can of tomato paste
  • 2 – 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 cups of beef stock
  • 2 cans of chili beans (We use 1 spicy Bush’s and 1 of the Black chili beans)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of Cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons Chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of Mexican Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cayenne pepper
  • 2 Dried Chipotle and 1 Dried Serrano Peppers – chopped or otherwise broken up. (We grow our peppers. Then we dry and smoke the jalapenos into chipotles or just dry the serranos.)


Start boiling the beer and bourbon in an 8-quart stock pot.

In a large skillet, brown the meat. It helps to do the Italian sausage first and then the stew meat. Add to the pot.

Brown the onions and garlic in the skillet you used for the meat. Add butter or oil if needed. Add to the pot.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Feel free to add any other spices you like in Chili.

Heat until boiling and then simmer for at least a half hour for the flavors to meld.

This is better reheated the next day so prepare it the day before. accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support, visit Thanks!