Beginners’ Tips for Cooking with Alcohol

Cooking with alcohol may seem like such a pro move, that many folks easily get intimidated at the prospect of using this ingredient. While it certainly is a showcase of skills upgrade, however, it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming as to have to avoid it at all cost.

Using alcohol in cooking offers a variety of benefits. Used in a marinade, for example, the alcohol helps in seasoning the meat, as well as carries more flavor to make the meat more tasty. It also makes for a very good addition to sauces, elevating the flavor profile of the dish.

You can even use it in desserts. Want a little buzz in your sweets? Pop open that liquor bar and pour a shot or two to add a bit more excitement to it.

Do take note, though, that using alcohol in your recipes is not necessarily about getting the party started. There are, in fact, health benefits to adding them in. So go ahead, use your liquor collection to elevate your dining experience. And check out these tips below to make sure you’re doing it right.

Pick the Right Bottle

The simplest tip you can get to using alcohol in cooking is to use one that you will actually drink. If you like its flavor enough on its own, then all the better for you. Don’t be too quick to grab from the top shelf, though. That’s probably better off being served to drink at the table.

Let it Marinate

Don’t rush the process. Meat or fruit will need a while to soak in the flavors of the wine. When it finally does, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that it’s added an extra layer of complexity in flavor to the dish.

Another good tip you could use is to soak up overripe fruit in wine; this diffuses the sugariness of the fruit, making it usable as an ingredient once more.

Cook, Don’t Burn

It’s the universal rule in cooking, yes. But more specifically, in the context of cooking with alcohol, realize that the longer you cook, the more alcohol content is actually cooked off. Take note that it’s not a simple matter of pouring it in the pan and then leaving it to evaporate on its own.

Cooking for 30 minutes evaporates alcohol by as much as 10%. What you want to achieve when cooking with it, however, is to incorporate the flavor of the alcohol, not remove it completely. So keep a close eye on it while cooking, which you should as with any other dish you’re making.

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