Soups and Chilis Blue crab and makers mark bisque 494x396
Blue Crab & Maker’s Mark Bisque

Blue Crab & Maker’s Mark Bisque

Blue Crab & Maker’s Mark Bisque


This soup is sophisticated and showcases Chef McPhail’s distinct American flavors, yet it is very simple to make. Because soft shell crabs are only available fresh during spring and summer, you can substitute pasteurized fresh crabmeat if soft shells are unavailable.

Servings: 6–8
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Ready In:


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced 1/2"
  • 3 pieces shallots, minced
  • 1 piece leek — white part only, thinly sliced, washed and dried
  • 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
  • 4 ears corn — shucked and kernels cut off the cob
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 large soft-shell crabs—cleaned (face and gills removed) or 2 cups crabmeat
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, if needed
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • Scallions, cilantro and/or sour cream for garnish (optional)


  1. Place a two-gallon pot over medium heat.
  2. Add butter, melt, then add in garlic, celery, shallots, leeks, fennel, corn, thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until the vegetables get soft (approximately 10 minutes). Do not brown.
  5. Add the soft-shell crabs and cayenne pepper—cook approximately 5 more minutes or until the crabs are cooked through.
  6. Add 1 cup of Maker’s Mark® Bourbon carefully and ignite the pot with a match.
  7. Allow the flame to burn out, then stir in the cream and lemon juice and bring the soup back up to a boil.
  8. Reduce to a simmer and cook for approximately 10 minutes.
  9. Puree the soup in a blender in small batches and pass through a chinois into another pot.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh chopped thyme and the remaining 2 tablespoons of Maker’s Mark® Bourbon to finish.
  11. You may adjust consistency with whole milk if needed.

Tags: Recipes, Soups And Chilis, Unsalted Butter, Garlic, Celery, Shallots, Leeks, Fennel, Corn, Thyme, Bay Leaves, Soft Shell Crabs, Cayenne Pepper, Heavy Cream, Lemon Juice, Whole Milk, Salt, Pepper, Hungry