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How To Cook With Alcohol: Seven Creative Ways

Alcohol is a versatile drink that’s perfect for parties, movie nights, outdoor activities, and other social events — but it can be used for more than just drinking. You can cook with alcohol as an ingredient, too.

Want to learn how to cook with alcohol? We’ve prepared a list of some creative ways to use it when cooking.

1. Flambé

To flambé is the process of igniting added alcohol to a dish mid-preparation. Yes, there is a reason behind why chefs love to flambé, and it’s not just to impress the guests. While it is cool to see your food lit on fire, this process adds a rich, caramelized flavor to various dishes, and the alcoholic drinks that work best are rum, cognac, and brandy.

2. Sauces

One of the most common ways you can use alcohol when cooking is in the sauce. By combining alcoholic drinks with other ingredients, such as butter and stock, you can add a savory piquancy to any dish. To those wondering how to cook with alcohol, wine and vodka are great choices, especially for first-timers.

Dry Vermouth, for example, is one of the best white wines to cook with for pasta. If you prefer steaks and other meats, red wines are best to cook with. Can you cook with old wine? You definitely can. Prime vintage, upon reaching a certain age, can taste like skunked vinegar. Cooking with wine recipes are all over the internet, so you can try them or make your own.

3. Glazes

Another way you can use alcohol for cooking is by glazing both meat and pastries, such as barbecues, grilled chickens, and pound cakes. Glazes can do a lot more than just add a glossy coating; they can also help lock in moisture and add a caramelized touch. Some of the best alcoholic drinks you can do this with are bourbon, brandy, and tequila.

4. Preserves

If you love making fresh fruit preserves at home, you can enhance the flavor profile by adding some alcohol. You can try different flavor combinations, and choose what works best for you. Village Warehouse Wine & Spirits recommends bourbon for this.

5. Baking

Making moist dough can be a challenge for some bakers, especially beginners. The good news is that you can use alcohol to help lock in the moisture. Aside from water, adding a little vodka can help prevent your loaves and pastries from drying out. The alcoholic taste will be cooked out in baking, so you won’t need to worry about the flavor being ruined.

6. Marinades

Are you sick of eating bland meat or bored with store-bought marinades? Use alcohol to intensify the savory taste instead. Some of the best drinks you can use are whiskey, vodka, tequila, sake, bourbon, beer, and wine. You can experiment or look for recipes online. Of course, don’t forget to add herbs and spices.

7. Maceration

Maceration is the process of softening fruits by soaking them in a liquid, and you can immerse either sliced or whole fruits in alcohol to give them extra flavor. Some of the best combinations are brandy and apples, rum and peaches, and bourbon and berries. Macerated fruits can be used as a topping when eating ice cream and several meat dishes.

Must-Try Alcohol-Infused Recipes

1. Red Wine Reduction Sauce for Steaks

Preparing a sauce for your steak using red wine is easy. First, sauté the shallots and garlic, then add the wine of your choice. Once the flavors are concentrated, you may add thyme, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, beef stock, and butter. Let the sauce be reduced until it is ready for serving.

2. Whiskey-Infused Grilled Chicken

Level up your grilled chicken with a touch of alcohol. The first thing to do is marinate your chicken using a mixture of soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, ginger, lime juice, crushed red pepper, and the secret ingredient — whiskey. The added kick to the flavor of this protein dish will make your dinner more enjoyable.

3. Tequila Lime Shrimp

Shrimp is the go-to protein for people who want to lose weight. If you want to bring its flavor to a whole new level, you may add tequila and lime to any shrimp dish you plan to cook. This will unleash bold and satisfying flavors you’ve never tasted before.

4. Tequila Salsa

If you’re on a diet, tequila is the alcohol for you; they say that Mexican tequila contains agavins — a natural sugar — which can help lower glucose levels. Eating does not have to make you worry about getting fat, so go ahead and add two tablespoons of tequila to the salsa.

Now that you know how to cook with alcohol, your cooking will never be the same. With the unique flavor that alcohol can provide, your food will more delectable and mouth-wateringly delicious than ever. You can even make ice pops and smoothies with them for dessert.

If your recipe calls for wine or another liquor, Village Warehouse Wine & Spirits provides the best-tasting alcohol, whether it’s for drinking or cooking. We have a liquor store in Avon, Colorado, which you can visit today if you’d like to browse through our selection.