A primer on peanut butter whiskey

A primer on peanut butter whiskey

Meet your new favourite spirit: sip it neat, spike your milkshakes or take a PB&J shot

When it comes to bar cart essentials, you have your whiskeys and your gins, your vodkas and your rums. But there’s one more bottle to add to your regular rotation: peanut butter whiskey. 

Wait, what?

Yes, Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey cheekily channels the characteristics of everyone’s favourite sandwich spread—savoury-sweet, creamy and smooth. At 35 per cent, it has the backbone of a whiskey, but the presence and palate of a liquid peanut butter cup. 

We can thank husband-wife duo Steven Yeng and Brittany Merril Yeng for bringing us this delectable oddball spirit. Peanut butter is deeply personal for the California couple. Yeng, a Polio survivor, was born in 1980s Cambodia. His family fled the country when he was one, spending years in a refugee camp in Thailand before being sponsored for passage to San Diego. When they landed on the Golden Coast, Yeng was fed a foreign new ingredient to get some meat on his bones: peanut butter sandwiches. 

Skrewball founders, Steven Yeng and Brittany Merril Yeng

His love of the sticky delicious paste grew from there. When he opened a restaurant, peanut butter was a mainstay on the menu; slathered on wings, snuck into fried rice and infused into peanut butter whiskey cocktails. “People loved peanut butter whiskey’s unique but comforting flavours,” describes Merill Yeng. 

While Skrewball started as Yeng’s self-made peanut butter shots, Merril Yeng, a chemist by trade, began taking real peanuts, distilling them and removing the proteins, oils and allergens to craft a silky, peanut butter-ish product. 

“What made the brand so successful is that people love peanut butter and they love whiskey,” says Yeng. “Combine the two, and people fall in love and share it with everyone they know.” Because Skrewball peanut butter whiskey contains less than 2.5 parts peanuts per million (a dust-sized amount and the detectable limit for allergies), Yeng has found even “people with severe allergies to peanuts love it. They’re some of our biggest supporters; they can finally taste peanut butter.”

Plus, how you use Skrewball is limited only by your imagination. “The versatility of Skrewball is insane,” says Yeng. “Think of it like Pad Thai. It has so many flavours within. There’s the sweet, the spicy and the sour, all in one. So what can’t Skrewball go with?”

Dose a milkshake or a hot apple cider with Skrewball or, as Yeng recommends, “try it in an Irish coffee, hot chocolate or eggnog around the holidays.” Year-round, sub a few ounces of Skrewball into a lemon-y ginger Gold Rush cocktail, shake it up in a whiskey Sour Skrew or try your hand at “The Morning Skrew”—a foamy Skrewball latte with a sprinkling of nutmeg. Keep a bottle on hand for the summer months and spike a berry hard seltzer with Skrewball for a PB&J spritz. Did someone say Skrewball margarita?

Or, simply sip it neat with a smoked-salt rim. It’s silky sweet with a subtle fattiness that coats your mouth and leaves an ever-so-slightly-salty aftertaste (just like cracking into a handful of salted peanuts). 

So we can all be grateful that despite a lack of investment interest, the couple took the leap and funnelled their savings into bringing peanut butter whiskey to the masses. The name, Skrewball, became a nod to being oddballs who take risks. (It’s also a nod to Yeng’s grandparents, who were killed for being free thinkers during the Cambodian genocide.) 

Six months after launching, Skrewball was selling out nationwide with its cheeky approach. They ran through a million cases in less than two years—the fastest independent liquor launch in history. As Yeng concludes: “Skrewball is fun. It’s a celebration to drink.”

Learn more about Skrewball peanut butter whiskey or purchase here.