Old Fashioned Caramel Popcorn

Popcorn is the perfect vessel for everything from savory to sweet. We love to experiment with it in our house. We pop it in an air popper although my childhood love affair with popcorn began with Jiffy Pop. These days we top it with all kinds of things from brewers yeast to truffle oil. Here is a sweet version we made over Christmas. It is based on my husband’s signature cocktail, the Old Fashioned. It’s basically a caramel corn with nuances of sweet bourbon and orange.


  • 2/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter or Earth balance substitute
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup  bourbon
  • 10 dashes of Angostoura Bitters
  • 1 tablespoon of cocktail cherry juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Pop popcorn and spread on lined cookie sheets
  2. Start the caramel by heating a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  3. Add the brown sugar and combine for 3 minutes
  4. Add remaining ingredients and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  5. Let the mixture come to a gentle boil. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat
  6. Strain to remove solids and carefully pour the caramel over the popped corn.
  7. Sprinkle with salt, toss and serve


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