Cooking with liquor: The very best alcoholic drinks used for cooking
Cooking has turned from a survival practice into an art of the highest form, as Michelin star chefs and food enthusiasts look for innovative ways to construct new flavours. For this purpose, they tend to use unconventional herbs, extracts from already existing plants and all kinds of weird and wonderful spices. One other element that often finds its way into the roasting pot instead of the usual glass is wine or a type of spirit.
Alcoholic beverages are usually characterised with a strong aroma, so it is no wonder that one of its effects is full dominance over the senses. When cooked properly, with the right combination of vegetables, meat or desert ingredients, these wines and spirits can turn into the perfect complement to round up many recipes. Nowadays, this practice is so common in all high-end restaurants and resort establishments that people have grown accustomed to it. For those still looking to add some risk into their lives, there is off course bungee jumping, white water rafting and quite a few UK online casinos to play in – in the kitchen, however, some knowledge is more than welcome.
This type of wine has the honour of being the first alcoholic beverage on our list of cooking ‘supplements’, and with all due right. Namely, white wine is widely used for all kinds of recipes, but it is particularly considered suitable for cooking meat. Still, not all kinds of meat end up combining well with white wine – it is considered a good choice for lighter meats solely. This means that you might have some trouble cooking up a rabbit or some pork chops using this wine, but it is bound to add an excellent layer of flavor and aroma to a piece of venison, chicken, as well as most types of fish.
Where white wine fails, red wine takes over. The Cabernet and the Pinot Noir are two of the most popular choices of red wine added to more heavily flavoured red meats, especially pork and beef. This beverage usually acts as the foundation for the topping or the sauce for the dish, and should be chosen with great care. This is due to the fact that a tannic wine could produce an acidic flavor, while more heavily oaked wines can make the dish completely bitter. Coordinate wisely before pouring the wine inside the pot with the meat, and don’t be afraid to try a couple of sips to help you decide better.
Spirits are just as good aromatic additions to a carefully prepared meal, but which one you are going to choose mainly depends on the type of meal you are planning to make. Bourbon, in this case, is a fitting option for both sweet and sour recipes, but there is no denying that it goes best with fruit. If you have a desert recipe containing some kind of fruit, especially dried like raisings, make sure to get some bourbon and soak it inside for a few hours. The alcohol enhances the fruit through a mixture of sugars, as the specific honey-like nature makes it a natural sweetener.
If you are aiming for the perfect flambée effect, rum is the way to go, no matter whether you are trying to get the caramelised version of a fruit or simply like exerting your fried meat to open fire. Nonetheless, rum has distinguished itself as a drink for those with a sweet tooth. More so, choosing one that has an added flavor to the spirit will only make the ultimate result more intensive.
Wine improves with time, and the same can be said of aged whiskey. What is funny about this spirit is the fact that it can taste differently at different stages of its aging process. Yet, there is little need to worry if you have chosen a good quality whiskey – all its flavor variants are pleasant to the palate, directly or through a meal. It is more rarely added than rum and bourbon, but when it is included, it serves as salt does to any regular meal you prepare, that is, it enhances the present flavors.
Vodka is specifically used for its effects on the ingredients in their physical form, rather than their chemical compound and aromatic features. Tomatoes benefit greatly when prepared with this alcohol, but pastries definitely take the lead role when it comes to benefiting from vodka. When preparing baked goods, people usually add a splash of water to make the dough fluffier, but it can also cause the creation of extra gluten. Vodka, on the contrary, is added to the baking dough without much trouble but has an amazing effect on the crust that makes it melt inside your mouth. As for the matter of gluten, this spirit actually reduces its extent and ultimately evaporates, leaving nothing but its effects.