Other than sipping with fun cocktails or desserts, bourbon is a classic distilled spirit that is also versatile to serve with food. When it comes to cooking and baking with bourbon, the smoky caramel and vanilla flavor adds to both savory and sweet dishes alike.
When cooking with bourbon, always add acidic ingredients to balance the deep flavor, especially with salad dressing or marinades. Due to its natural sweetness, avoid using too much sugar to achieve balanced flavor profile.
What to cook with bourbon? Bourbon pairs well with brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, chocolate, mint, apples, pears, peaches, ham, and pork when it comes to enhancing dishes with the spirit.
In addition, use brandy for delicious marinated chicken wings or steak, glazed carrots, sweet potato casserole, and roast pork.
Overall, bourbon is a perfect ingredient to make sauces, marinades, brines, glazes, cakes, pies, truffles, and cookies.
There’s no doubt about it, bourbon is delicious! Not just for people who like the taste of distilled alcohol, but for those who want to capture the complex, warm flavors of a well-crafted spirit.
Many spirits can stand up to the challenge of being used in cooking, but bourbon is among the top choices. With so many different brands and varieties, bourbon is perfect for enhancing the flavor of a wide range of dishes.
It will bring a depth of flavor to various dishes that can’t be found in wine or most beers. In this article, we share exactly what to pair with bourbon when cooking.
Can you use bourbon in cooking?
Yes, you can use bourbon in cooking. In fact, bourbon is typically used in cooking after the alcohol has been removed through flambé or evaporation.
This may be accomplished by adding bourbon to a dish and letting it cook until the alcohol is burned off. It may also be achieved by reducing the bourbon by heating it until all the alcohol evaporates.
Furthermore, bourbon is an excellent substitute for other alcohols like rum or brandy as it also works in both sweet and savory dishes. It’s great in desserts like cakes, pies, ice cream and sweet sauces to drizzle over ice cream.
What food cooks best in bourbon?
Bourbon infuses an umami quality into almost every meal, but a few foods pair incredibly well.
Specific cuts of beef and pork, like sirloin and ribeye, really soak up the bourbon flavor and make for a great steak night. Chicken is another meat that pairs wonderfully with a bourbon glaze or marinade.
In addition, fish like cod and salmon or seafood tastes excellent when cooked with bourbon.
But don’t stop at meats and seafood! Vegetables can be just as delectable with a hint of bourbon.
Try lightly grilling or sautéing vegetables like asparagus and mushrooms often work best.
Bourbon can also be used to cook desserts. When paired, it can add an unexpected twist to everything from cakes to pies and pastries.
Other ingredients that cook best with bourbon:
- Meat: chicken, ham, pork, beef
- Seafood: shrimp, cod, salmon
- Cheese: parmesan, gouda, cheddar, blue
- Spices: star anise, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom
- Herbs: rosemary, mint, tarragon, thyme, cilantro
- Condiments: soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, olive oil, honey
What flavors cook well with bourbon?
Bourbon is a bold and sweet whiskey, and its rich flavor pairs well with a range of ingredients. Because it has a caramel flavor profile, bourbon works exceptionally well when paired with chocolate or mixed with fruity flavors such as pecan pralines or candied bacon.
The acidity in citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons can temper the sweetness of the bourbon flavor profile. In addition, it adds a nice touch to coffee based desserts and pairings like tiramisu or cocktails.
Here are chef’s favorite flavor combination to cook with bourbon:
- bourbon + brown sugar + cream + eggs + chocolate
- bourbon + chicken + soy sauce + apple juice + apple cider vinegar + brown sugar
- bourbon + pork + honey + apples
- bourbon + milk + dark chocolate + cinnamon
- bourbon + maple syrup + vinegar + sweet onion + bacon
Cook with Bourbon: Conclusion
Anyone can transform even the most mundane dishes with bourbon and a bit of creativity. Just add a splash to any savory dishes for a spicy kick when in doubt.
The spirit can replace other kinds of alcohol in recipes as it will add depth and spice to soups or risotto. A dash can also be added to desserts, such as ice cream, caramel and fruit sauces.
Whether it is savory or sweet dish, cook with brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, chocolate, mint, ham and pork for maximize the flavor.
With the right amount and type, there are abundant ways to enhance flavor with bourbon, from sauces to marinades, brines, glazes, and delicious baked goods.
Don’t just stick to liquors like brandy or rum, try using bourbon in sweet dishes as well! It will impress even the fussiest dinner guests when cooking with bourbon to enhance your culinary experience.