Alcohol is an important ingredient in many
recipes as it adds flavor to sauces, soups, marinades and even ice-cream.
When heated, some but not all of the alcohol evaporates. To select
alcohol, match the type of alcohol to the food. For instance, flavor a
raspberry sorbet with raspberry liqueur. There is no reason to use very
expensive spirits for cooking, but keep in mind that if it's not worth
drinking, it's not worth cooking with either. If possible, avoid products
labeled "cooking wine". These often contain salt, are of poor quality and
When cooking with alcohol, be careful not to
add too much. Many alcohol spirits have strong flavors that can easily
overpower a dish. Begin by adding just a teaspoon or tablespoon, then
taste the dish and add more if desired.
To safely add alcohol to a hot pan, always
remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the alcohol, swirling the
pan to help keep the alcohol from heating too quickly. Return the pan to
low heat and continue cooking as necessary.
To give frozen desserts a smooth, creamy
texture, add 1 to 2 teaspoons alcohol to the base. Alcohol prevents ice
crystals from forming, which helps keep frozen desserts creamy. But be
careful. Too much alcohol will prevent your dessert from freezing at all,
and you may end up with something best enjoyed with a straw rather than
with a spoon.
To boil off alcohol, remove a hot skillet
from the heat and add 1/2 to 1 cup liquor, wine, liqueur or beer. Let the
liquid in the pan boil until the vapors do not sting the inside of your
nose when inhaled, about 1 minute from liquor, wine or liqueur and 30
seconds for beer.