The Not Your Father's Root Beer & Bourbon Glaze is not too sweet & a bit perky with a hint of spice.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned Not Your Father’s Root Beer on my blog before – see my Dad and I are pretty wild about it and split one every now and then. So when Dad said he’d like a ham, I immediately (and selflessly, I might add) sacrificed a bottle. Of his, of course, lol! (Fyi: plain old root beer will work in this recipe, too.)

Not Your Fathers Root Beer & Bourbon Glazed Ham

I’ve got to tell you that I’ve never been a huge fan of glazed ham but this glaze is the bomb. I’ve made it about 4 times until I’ve reached what I think is perfection. It’s barely sweet, a little smokey and has just a touch of zingy flavor. The Not Your Father’s Root Beer & Bourbon glaze just coats and melds into that ham leaving it incredibly juicy with chewy edges.

Too often, so many glazes are just too sticky sweet – and since I like to make soup with my ham, I’m not super keen on the flavor of the lovely ham juices being hijacked by the flavor of the glaze. This ham is an exception, because the Not Your Father’s Root Beer & Bourbon glaze is amazing, and I’ve found a way to keep that resulting ham broth fairly neutral in flavor. I’ve added that technique to the recipe, just in case that matters to you.

Not Your Father’s Root Beer, photo from Small Town Brewery

The Not Your Father’s Bourbon Glaze has some sweetness, but it’s offset by the Coleman’s mustard, the bourbon, the vinegar and the touch of chili – it’s “perky.” That’s my best description! The ham came out a gorgeous mahogany, and it was all I could do to stop myself from snitching a little from the edges as I was taking pics.

Speaking of pics, the fam was clamouring and I only had time for a shot or two before it had to be sliced and served…it should rest a bit anyway before it gets torn into, but try telling that to a couple of hunger crazed octogenarians…

Not Your Fathers Root Beer & Bourbon Glazed Ham

Ham is one item that often goes on sale, especially around any holiday – I usually don’t do a spiral sliced (they’re pricier – but I picked this one up on a super sale after Christmas) and I generally like the shank end; though it looks like less meat, the bone makes up for it by making an amazing broth for some of my favorite Soups.

Even though a ham costs a bit of money in initial outlay, it can make several meals (See my 12 Days of Ham) so I’ll tag this as a Bargain Meal of the Week. Since I’ve made this Not Your Father’s Root Beer & Bourbon Ham, I’ll be throwing a few new leftover possibilities at you, too.

Not Your Fathers Root Beer & Bourbon Glazed Ham

Not Your Father's Ham

  • Servings: varies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 1/2 bone-in cooked ham
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Coleman’s mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 12 ounce bottle Not Your Father’s Root Beer
  • 1/3 cup Sorghum (or substitute maple syrup or light molasses, although molasses has a stronger flavor and both syrup & molasses will add thier own unique flavors)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Figure out how long it will take to cook the ham to 140 degrees F. & glaze it:

  • For a 1/2 ham, bone in, calculate on 18 to 20 minutes per pound.
  • You’ll begin to glaze an hour before the ham is done, so subtract an hour from the total cooking time so you’ll know at what point to add the first glazing.

Score the ham in a diamond pattern, slicing about 1/4 inch deep and making parallel lines about an inch apart. Place a rack in a pan just large enough to hold the ham. Place ham, cut side down on rack. Add 1/3 cup of water to the pan, cover tightly (you may need to use foil) and place in oven.

As soon as the ham goes in or at least far enough in advance, make the glaze so the glaze has time to cool: In a medium  saucepan, add mustard, clove, chili, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Stir together. Slowly add the root beer, whisking, then the sorghum, vinegar and bourbon.

Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and then simmer, stirring now and then, until the mixture is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. It will be rather thin, like a warm maple syrup, but will have more body once it’s at room temperature. Set aside or place in the fridge to cool before glazing ham. (If the glaze is too thick to brush on, it can be slightly warmed.)

When an hour is left on the cooking time for the ham, remove the ham from the oven. If you wish to use the juices from the ham in soups or other recipes, pour off the juices into a container and refrigerate them, then add about a cup of water to the pan. If you don’t care about the juices, or don’t care if they’re flavored by the glaze, leave as is.

Brush the glaze onto the ham, return to the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove the ham and glaze again, again returning to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the ham for a final glaze, then return for a final 20 minute period.

Rest 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Pass any remaining glaze from the pan or the roasting pan, if desired.

Note: If there is a significant amount of glaze remaining, it may be used to glaze something else, like chicken wings or ribs. Bring to a boil before reusing, thinning with a little water if necessary.

from the kitchen of


I will be bringing this recipe to Fiesta Friday. This week I’m co-hosting with Steffi from Ginger & Bread! We’d love to have you stop by and see us!


52 Comments on “Not Your Father’s Root Beer & Bourbon Glazed Ham

  1. I made this for Easter and it was quite good. I will be adding it to my permanent recipes. Thanks for posting it.

    • Thank you SO much!! I think my photography is awful but tentatively, hopefully improving?!! Sometimes! I really appreciate the comment – and I felt pretty good about my ham picture until I came across a friend’s blog & his ham and made the fatal error of comparing, lol!!

      I’m going to try to measure with my own yardstick from now on and not venture beyond it into dangerous waters…too many metaphors? lol!!

  2. Wow Molly! This is absolutely mouth watering!! I love a glazed ham– but really only have it on the holidays when we have a table full of people to eat it up! But this looks super. Never would have thought of this combination!! We’re having ham at my brother’s house or Easter– but unfortunately (now!) I’m not in charge of cooking it– have to pin this for a ham in our future! Are you doing Easter?? Family still with you? love this recipe Mollie– thanks!! hugs!

    • We’ll be going out to brunch for Easter, so it was a great excuse to do the ham just a bit early! Even when we used to all go to my Mom’s I still liked to cook a ham at home, just for leftovers & the bone for soup…

      • Agree about the ham! And brunch??! that sounds lovely and delicious– and no dishes to do! Hope your Easter is a beautiful day. Blessings. xo

  3. It looks absolutely amazing! I had to google root beer though … Wonderful glaze, I’ll definitely put this on my list 🙂
    Happy Fiesta Friday!

    • Thanks much, Ginger! Any sweet, dark soda should work! I hafta say I thought root beer was universal, lol! See, we all have our little assumptions, haha!

  4. I’ve been trying to get to this post to read it all day Mollie! This sounds SO GOOD, and I hate root beer. Does the root beer taste come through at all? I’ve seen that root beer at the store here, and it would be a perfect recipe as I can’t stand those sickly sweet glazes either.

  5. Oh my goodness – what a ham!!! I totally agree with you re the glaze, most are far too sweet (hate that). And I never had a root beer, so can not comment. Can you magically send a few slices of that ham over to us – JS is going to have a sleepless night after I showed him your photos 😉😉😉

    • Oh. I so wish I could send some over! Root Beer is not the most popular of drinks, here, but there used to be a restaurant called A & W that made their own Root Beer and almost every good sized town had one, long before any of the big chains. Growing up drinking the A & W Root Beer is probably an experience most American kids share.

        • The Not Your Father’s IS sweet – which is why I usually share a glass, lol!! But surprisingly the glaze doesn’t seem too sweet, I think coz of all the mustard and the touch of vinegar.

          • I was surprised that the glaze was not too sweet while Not Your Father’s is. I did use the sorghum. I think molasses or syrup would add sweetness.

            • It IS a little surprising, isn’t it, that it isn’t overly sweet or cloying. I do love Sorghum and it’s something I’ve only been using for a little while. Thanks for checking back with me! 🙂

  6. I love ham and this recipe looks like a masterpiece of tastiness. I like your reference to “12 Days of Ham” which I’ll have to check out. Similar to my endless turkey posts … especially for a single person. 🙂

    No bourbon at my house and I used the last of the rye whiskey for making vanilla extract. What’s a poor woman to do? 🙂

    • I’m just curious – did you have trouble with the reblog? Someone told me last week they couldn’t reblog something…I didn’t see it on your site so I wondered!


            • I really don’t get it but I did check my settings and it should be able to reblog. I know some people have reblogged things recently, so I’m just stumped! Obviously, I love it when you reblog something (I mean just the fact that you think it’s good enough makes my day!)


  7. I was going to make Pioneer woman’s ham for Easter which uses I Dr. Pepper along with other spices and is quite good. However, this looks amazing and I will definitely try it for this Easter. I don’t like overly sweet ham but I definitely like it to have flavor. I look forward to your left over ideas.

    • Hi Phyllis – thanks! I hope it lives up to PW’s – that’s a pretty tough act to follow!! Happy Easter to you!


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