alcohol flambe

Different Ways to Use Alcohol in Cooking

8 months ago by Anna Fernandez

Keep this in mind when pairing alcohol with food: lighter colored alcohols and spirits work well with lighter proteins, sauces, and meals, but as the alcohol gets darker, so should your pairings (though there may be exceptions). Alcohol can be used in the process of making syrups, savoury sauces and desserts. Here are some of the more common ways to use spirits and liqueurs in cooking.

Beer-battered everything

The bubbles in beer add body and lightness to the batter, making it airy. Depending on the type and quality of the beer, a specific colour or unique flavour may also be evident in the taste of the batter. It also keeps the flesh on the inside tender and juicy. The crisp is maintained because beer simultaneously adds carbon dioxide, foaming agents and alcohol to the batter. And since alcohol evaporates faster than water, anything that is beer-battered doesn’t have to be cooked as long. This thus lowers the risk of overcooking.

alcohol beer

Credit: Jamie Oliver

Replace ingredients

Vanilla extract can be substituted for Baileys Irish Cream, which pairs extremely well with chocolate. It can be used both in beverages as well as desserts. Brownies, chocolate pudding, cookies, cheesecakes – the list is endless. This versatile liqueur contains about 50% cream (and milk protein) from dairy milk.

alcohol Baileys

Credit: Baileys

Reduce alcoholic content

Flambéing is a cooking procedure in which alcohol is used to ignite food when it is added to a hot pan. It is also used in dishes and sauces which are infused with spirits because partially burning off the volatile alcohol reduces the alcoholic content of the dish while keeping the flavors of the liquor.

Rum, cognac or liquours whose alcoholic content is about 40% are ideal for flambé. Booze low in alcoholic content wouldn’t be able to ignite while spirits which are too high in alcoholic content may result in combustion.

Beer can also be used in the process of grilling by pouring it over the grill as food is cooked atop it to raise the flames.


Featured image credit: Roman Boed

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