Wine and bourbon aren’t just for cocktail hour anymore. These loved libations are just as delicious on your plate as they are in your glass. You don’t need to be a bartender or an award-winning chef to create tasty alcohol infused dishes, all you need are a few guidelines to help you understand how to cook with alcohol.
If you think cooking out of a liquor cabinet is just another excuse to get a buzz, think again. Like a hot and steamy date, when food and alcohol get together, the sparks start to fly. All the aromas you love in your liquors shine through when you cook with them, since — as the food scientists at Fine Cooking will tell you — alcohol bonds with the fat and water molecules in food. This means that juniper bite you love in your gin and tonics will be just as satisfying in your next shrimp pasta dish.
But don’t start handing out slices of rum cake at the next toddler birthday party. The widely accepted belief that alcohol burns off in the cooking process is just not true. According to What’s Cooking America, up to a whopping 85 percent of alcohol can be retained in the food. Of course, this all depends on the how the dish was prepared. While a sauce that had alcohol added at the last minute may top the chart at 85 percent retention, an item that was baked for over two hours will only hold on to 5 percent of the alcohol. But don’t let this fact hold you back from rolling your bar cart up to your stove top. If you want to try cooking with alcohol, start with these easy to master methods that will make you want to raise a glass to dinner.