Using Alcohol in Food a Beginner's Guide
Using alcohol in food can just be the thing you need!
You like food.
You like alcohol.
You know it’s possible to put alcohol into food.
What could 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.
Use a Very Gentle Hand
If you enjoy the taste of the alcoholic beverage you plan to use for cooking, you might be tempted to add more than the recipe suggests. However, this is not a good idea. First, some of the alcohol will evaporate during the cooking process, which can be wasteful. Second, the ultimate goal is to create food with a hint of alcohol flavor, not to make it taste like pure alcohol. Therefore, it's better to use a moderate amount of alcohol so that you can still taste the food's flavor while also enjoying the added flavor of alcohol. Remember, when it comes to adding alcohol to food, less is 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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