Your favorite bourbon just got a whole lot more versatile. Cooking with whiskey is gaining popularity with the culinary arts and it’s easy to see why. Different types of whiskey have such an array of flavor notes that they offer an endless variety of ways to spice up your favorite dish. And not only does whiskey bring out flavors in different recipes, it also adds a distinct taste of its own. If you’re looking for some ways to add some character to your tried-and-true dishes, try cooking with whiskey.
What can whiskey do for cooking?
From seafood to smoked meats to desserts, whiskey’s exceptionally wide flavor spectrum (thanks to a myriad combination of grains, distilling and casks) can enhance any food it touches. As a general rule of thumb, bourbons are the best to cook with because of their versatile vanilla, nutty and caramel flavors.
During the process of cooking, the spirit will evaporate. It’s during the evaporation process that the various flavors become concentrated, bonding with your food’s fat and water molecules. The result is an infused aroma and taste that you can’t get with any other ingredient. A word of caution: consider adding whiskey like you would a salt rather than a sauce. By nature whiskey provides a bold and intense flavor so remember, a little dab’ll do.
Have whiskey in the morning
It may not be socially acceptable to drink whiskey upon waking, but what about incorporating it into your breakfast? Drizzle a stack of pancakes with a bourbon vanilla maple syrup or nosh on whiskey-infused bacon. These and other recipes are just as delicious as you might expect.
Marinate your meats
When whiskey is added to a marinade, it’s so flavorful there’s zero reason for steak sauce! Plus, marinades are a foolproof way to boost the flavor of any type of meat. Try a whiskey-ginger marinade with chicken, or a bourbon-coffee sauce with red meat. Or you can saute mushrooms and onions with whiskey and top your meat with it.
Whiskey dessert, anyone?
Save a shot or two and have a grown-up dessert concocted with bourbon or whiskey. Try a light and airy chocolate whiskey mousse, bread pudding with whiskey sauce or a blueberry bourbon cream cheese pie.
Final rule of thumb
When you’re cooking with whiskey, you don’t need a top-of-the-line liquor. Save your favorite whiskey for sipping and use a small bottle for cooking as most recipes don’t call for very much. The best whiskey should be savored and enjoyed.