How to elevate your cooking with alcohol



Liquor, beer, and wine have long been used in food preparation to enhance ingredients’ flavors and contribute their own unique tastes and aromas.

If you’re interested in elevating your cooking with alcohol, you might be wondering what drinks are suited to specific dishes.

The following guide explores the best varieties of alcohol to use in cooking.

What alcohol can you use for cooking?

1. Wine

Wine is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages chosen for cooking. Red wine is best added to heavy meats like beef and pork, with Pinot Noir providing earthy undertones and Zinfandel carrying peppery and fruity notes. White wine adds a crisp, clean flavor to all sorts of dishes. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are perfect for sauces and marinating light meats like chicken.

2. Rum

For a flambéed finish, go with rum. Because it’s made from sugarcane, rum adds a caramelized flavor when cooked. The resulting sweetness makes this liquor perfect for dessert. Cakes, cookies, fruit, and other after-dinner delights can benefit from the addition of rum. Choose spiced rum for a warm, spicy finish.

3. Beer

A strong, quality beer can help make a flavorful sauce, soup, stew, or beer batter. In savory dishes, beer contributes rich and nutty notes. Beer-infused desserts are also popular. Sweets like brownies, cupcakes, bread pudding, and donuts gain irresistibly toasty, malty flavors.

4. Vodka

With its mild, clean taste, vodka is great for enhancing tomatoes. However, most people cook with vodka to transform the physical state of a dish rather than the taste. Baking with vodka makes dough fluffier, giving pastries a delightful melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

5. Bourbon

Bourbon is a versatile liquor that suits dishes sweet, sour, and savory. Soaking fruit in bourbon for a few hours enhances the sweetness. For this reason, it is best used in dessert recipes, adding smoky caramel and vanilla notes. Use bourbon to elevate peaches, apples, pears, pecans, brown sugar, and chocolate.

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