Cooking with Alcohol

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” – W.C. Fields

Alcohol can be a great addition to meals, and we’re not just talking about beverages to accompany your meal. Cooking with alcohol can enhance the flavors in a dish without increasing its sodium or fat content. Following is a shortlist of tips and recipes that involve seasoning, flavoring and refining your dishes with alcohol.

Cooking with Beer


Beer is best suited for making soups, stews, meat dishes and bread. Try one of these recipes, which includes beer as one of its key ingredients:

Cooking with Wine

Bottle of wine with corkscrew on wooden background

Cooking Light offers great tips on cooking with alcohol. For example, it advises that you “never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink.” And when it comes to picking wines for specific types of dishes, the recommendations include the following varietals based on what kind of dish you have in mind to cook:

  • Good for almost any dish: dry white like an American Sauvignon Blanc
  • Bold or spicy dish: aromatic white like Gewurztraminer, Riesling or Viognier
  • Hearty dish: dry red like a Petite Syrah or Zinfandel
  • All around great cooking wines: Port, Sherry, Madeira and Marsala

Check out these recipes that involve cooking with wine:

Cooking with Liquor

whiskey in glasses on wooden

When it comes to cooking with liquor, cognac, brandy and rum are the go-tos for flambé due to their high alcohol content. Check out the following recipes, good for those folks who have a flare for the dramatic:

*If you’re trying to flambé for the first time, follow the recipe directions carefully and know how to put out a fire properly.

What Happens to Alcohol When You Cook with it?

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Ever wonder if the alcohol you add to food burns off completely or at all? Well, depending on cook time, the rate of actual alcohol evaporation during cooking varies.

Almost all of the alcohol is removed when you’ve baked/cooked something for more than two-and-a-half hours with the alcohol vs. if you’ve simply added the alcohol towards the end of cook time and removed it from the heat. In that case, only 15% of the alcohol has been burned off.

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