When I think of my childhood, I think of grilled chicken drumsticks. Now when I think of drumsticks, I think of whiskey peach glaze on my grilled drumsticks.
My mother is a master home cook, and summer cookouts were where she shined brightest. Mom would make full feasts utilizing the smoky deliciousness that comes from something as simple as grilling outdoors. I combine the secret to mama’s chicken – plain Greek yogurt in her marinade– with flavors I can never get enough of – peaches and whiskey, y’all!
This recipe is loved because it is easy to keep seasonal and things that I mostly keep in my pantry. I even include an easy swap for this peach whiskey glaze that keeps the same sweet and tangy deliciousness without forcing you to make a grocery store trip. More than that, thickening this glaze just a little bit will give you a great Kansas City-style vinegar-sweet barbecue sauce. Pour an extra glass of whiskey for you and enjoy your cookout with this peach whiskey glaze, summer partiers!
Are you thinking of adding a second glaze for half the chicken wings? Check out my balsamic glaze recipe.
The Three-Step Process to Amazing Grilled Drumsticks
Step 1: Marinade
My mama’s secret to grilled chicken is simple: marinade your drumsticks with plain Greek yogurt and spice combos like Italian seasoning and rosemary or a Cajun kick with paprika and cayenne pepper. The Greek yogurt locks in the moisture of the chicken → , meaning, no matter what, your chicken is going to taste juicy! Basically, never eat a dry bird again!
Step 2: Homemade Glaze
Store-made sauces are there for a reason – they are delicious. However, I think this peach whiskey glaze will change your life by adding something fresher that is worth the extra ten minutes to make to match the rest of the flavors of your barbecue. Never be tempted by niche flavor profiles again in novelty stores when you can make your own that won’t go bad in your pantry. When peaches are in season, the freshness of this peach whiskey glaze will genuinely blow you away!
Step 3: Brush on the Grill
If you don’t own a pastry brush but own a grill, you are less than $10 away from upping your grill game. Just like you wouldn’t do Thanksgiving without a baste, don’t settle during summer grill time. Order pastry brushes on Amazon and keep them next to your tongs, and drizzle all of that peach whiskey glaze without losing any of its yummy goodness and locking in the flavor by sealing it on the grill.
As a home cook, I always work with what I keep on hand. What I have as a regular in my fridge and pantry might be different, but each ingredient is something I would use in my regular dinner rotations, even the Hoisin sauce. But what if Hoisin is not your thing? Read on!
What If I Am Missing Hoisin Sauce?
Swap the hoisin for grape jelly. However, if you like making Asian meals at home, you will get a lot out of the richness of the hoisin sauce. You only get the sweet with the grape jelly replacement. In contrast, hoisin sauce, carried by most national grocery store chains and international food stores, delivers a very umami-centered, rich flavor full of depth and sweet touch.
What If I Don’t Have Sambal Chili Paste?
Use Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce in a pinch. This may be a peach whiskey glaze, but you always win when adding some heat.
What If Peaches Aren’t in Season?
There are a couple of hacks you can use. If you don’t jar them yourself, peach preserves are available year-round in grocery stores, but I think apricot preserves work better as a replacement. Apricot preserves are sweeter and something I keep in my pantry as a secret flavor bomb. Who knew apricots are such an excellent fake for a peach whiskey glaze?
What If I Am Out of Whiskey?
Blasphemy, I know. I’m going to assume y’all are here for the peach whiskey glaze because you are keeping yourselves STOCKED. Still, I was once in dire straits and found a complete and fantastic substitute: swap the quantities of peaches and whiskey with fresh oranges and Blue Moon. Maybe even to shake it up! Either way, you are getting an irresistible flavor combo.
FULLY COOK YOUR CHICKEN ALWAYS
Just in case you didn’t know, the internal temperature of a chicken drumstick needs to be over 165 degrees to be safe to eat. On the grill, that takes about 30 minutes, but use a meat thermometer to check. Don’t have one? Invest in this OXO meat thermometer and never have to rebuy another one!
Side Dish Suggestions
This is the kind of grilled chicken that I love with a few different summery favorites like:
- Grilled Asparagus (grill with a pat of butter, salt, and pepper)
- Some Grilled Bell Peppers (slow roast on grill whole before slicing)
- Grilled Mushrooms and Onions (the longer you cook, the sweeter the onions)
- My Summer Pea Salad (refreshing side dish coming soon!)
- Cornbread (a fun switch-up)
- Mashed potatoes
- Peach juleps (make this an entertaining meal by getting your cocktail hat on!)
- 1 tray of chicken drumsticks (~14 drumsticks)
For the Marinade:
- 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tbsp of paprika
- 1 ½ tsp of cayenne
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 2 tbsp of minced garlic
- Salt & pepper to taste
For the Glaze:
- 2 medium-sized peaches
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup peach or apricot jam
- 3 tbsp whiskey
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp sambal chili paste
Whisk the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
Coat chicken drumsticks with marinade, including reaching under the skin.
Marinade for at least 1 hour. (For best results, marinade overnight.)
Pre-heat the grill.
Prepare the glaze. Remove the pit from fresh peaches and blend peaches in a blender to a silky smooth consistency.
In a small saucepan on medium high heat, pour in the peach juice, ketchup, brown sugar, maple syrup, and jam. Whisk together until smooth in the saucepan.
Add remaining ingredients (whiskey, hoisin sauce, apple cider vinegar, and chili paste) Bring to a low boil.
Turn off the heat and allow the glaze to reduce on the stove top for 6 minutes.
Grill the marinated chicken for about 30 minutes.
Using a pastry brush, generously brush about half of the glaze onto each drumstick
Cook for 5 minutes on the grill.
Brush the rest of the glaze on the drumsticks.
Enjoy finger-licking good grilled chicken drumsticks with a peach whiskey glaze!