Add 1 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of water and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice to a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Typically corn syrup is what keeps the sugars from crystallizing after the caramel cools. Lemon juice can do the same thing.
Cover and warm the mixture over a low heat until all of the sugar is dissolved.
Bring the mixture to a low simmer, uncovered, over a medium-low heat and cook until it turns a light amber color. This will take about 10 minutes, but the best way to tell is with a thermometer. When the mixture climbs near 300 degrees F, it is about ready. Also, it’s easiest to see the amber color by tilting the pan as I show below. You want to be mindful of this change because it is pretty darn easy to burn your caramel.
Watch the mixture carefully now! Once it gets near that 300 degrees F, it will begin to turn a medium amber. When it does, it is ready and should be removed from the heat. Another clue that it is ready is that the bubbles are smaller than when you started. It’s because all of the water has now been cooked out and you only have gooey melted sugar.
Add 1/3 cup of cream and return the mixture to the stove over a medium-low heat.
Add in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 ounce of bourbon, mixing well. It should now look like a rich caramel sauce with a foamy top.
Remove it from the stove and let it cool slightly. Then it is ready to serve! Or simply store it in a mason jar for use another time. In this case, I boil a pot of water and then remove it from the stove. I then place the mason jar, opened, in the pot to heat and melt the sauce.