Using Alcohol In Food: A Beginner's Guide
You like food.
You like alcohol.
You know it’s possible to put alcohol into food.
What could possibly go wrong?
Unfortunately, quite a lot. Using alcohol in food is a time-honored tradition, and some of the best-known dishes rely on the addition of alcohol as an ingredient. However, finding a way to ensure you produce “food that includes alcohol as an ingredient” rather than “food that just takes like alcohol” is incredibly difficult.
There are plenty of great recipes out there to help you along, most of which will provide a suggested amount of alcohol for a particular dish. From pudding shots to steak meals, there’s plenty to choose from. For the most part, if you stick to the supplied recipe, then you won’t go far wrong— the problems tend to begin when you start experimenting.
If you’re a beginner at blending food and alcohol, then read on for essential tips to ensure that you get the best possible result, every time…
Use a very gentle hand
If you’re a fan of the alcoholic beverage you’re using, then adding more than the recipe suggests seems like a sensible idea— after all, you know you like it!
However, this isn’t a sensible idea. You’d be better off just drinking the alcohol if you want the finished meal or dessert to taste of nothing but the alcohol. For one thing, some of the alcohol will be lost during the cooking process, which is essentially wasteful. Additionally, think about your goal: alcohol-flavored food. That means you’re still going to have to be able to taste the food for the entire mix to work, so when it comes to adding alcohol to food, less is definitely more.
Think About Sweetness
One of the most popular ways that people like to experiment with adding alcohol is adding it to a sweet recipe, helping to enhance the overall flavor. This can work well, but you have to take into account the potential for sweetness overload. Alcohol tends to be sweet, which when combined with a large amount of sugar for a dessert recipe, can become overwhelming. If adding alcohol to an existing recipe, counteract this by lowering the amount of sugar you use.
A Cautionary Tale
When this subject is discussed, many people think of a cooking technique known as flambéing. Here’s an example:
This may look impressive, but it’s not something you’re going to want to try at home. The reason for this is simple: it’s incredibly dangerous. There are plenty of stories online about the danger of flambéing, so just avoid this technique unless you’re a professional chef.
Hopefully, the above has given you some insight into cooking with alcohol with the best possible results. Enjoy!
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Autumn lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and children. She is a travel addict, self-professed foodie and has an obsession with cycle/spin classes.
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