Comfort food comes in all shapes and sizes. You may turn to pizza, hot chocolate, or a fast food joint that never lets you down. But there's one comfort food that stands out from the rest, especially during the chilly winter months: a steaming bowl of chili. This spicy bourbon chili recipe is brought to you by Oola's very own Cliff Gordon. It's a recipe that won our office chili cook-off competition too, so you know it's good.



  • 6 jalapeño peppers
  • 6 serrano peppers
  • 10 habanero peppers
  • 4 bell peppers, any color
  • 2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 quart beef broth
  • 1 12-ounce can amber beer
  • 1 5-ounce glass dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
  • 1/2 head garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dry basil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce


  1. Chop jalapeño, serrano, habanero, and bell peppers. The spicier the pepper, the smaller you should chop it. Remove the seeds and pith (leave more pith in the spicy peppers if you want more heat) as you chop them.

  2. In a stockpot, add your ground beef, onion, and half of the extra virgin olive oil; cook 8-10 minutes over high heat or until brown. If there is enough grease in the meat, drain it through a colander and put the meat back in the stockpot.

  3. In a skillet, caramelize the peppers using the other half of the extra virgin olive oil; cook over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes or until the peppers are brown and tender.

  4. While the ground beef and peppers are cooking, drain and rinse the regular kidney beans and set them aside. Open the cans of chili beans and diced tomatoes.

  5. Bring the stockpot to medium heat and add the peppers to the ground beef in the pot.

  6. Add the tomatoes and chili beans from the cans, and use half of the beef broth to rinse them out fully.

  7. Add the rest of the beef broth and the remaining liquid ingredients (beer, wine, and bourbon) to your pot.

  8. Stir in the kidney beans you had put aside.

  9. You should be left with nothing but the dry seasonings and tabasco. Sprinkle those into the pot now.

  10. Allow the chili to simmer on low heat for 4-8 hours (it's hard to let this simmer too long).

  11. Serve with your choice of toppings or on its own.


  • knife
  • cutting board
  • stockpot
  • colander
  • skillet
  • can opener

Additional Ingredients

a mug of spicy bourbon chili
Oola Team

You can use whatever toppings you'd like, but Cliff recommends shredded extra sharp cheddar, oyster crackers, or chopped red onions. He enjoys his chili served with a ballpark frank and a brioche bun. Remember to keep a glass of milk on hand to manage the heat!

There you have it -- our award-winning spicy bourbon chili recipe ready for you to try. Bring on the heat!

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