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What to cook with whiskey?

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Ever wonder what to do with whiskey other than making cocktails? The great part of having whiskey in the cabinet is that it is great alternate to cook with other than using wine all the time.

Whiskey is a versatile ingredient that will elevate the taste in plenty of ways from drinks to desserts. When whiskey is added in the cooking process, the alcohol will ignite quickly and burst into flames to bring the flavor of ingredients together.

What to cook with whiskey? Depending on the type of whiskey you are cooking with, the dish produces various flavor results. From sautéing to baking, whiskey has numerous usage in the kitchen.

Any recipe requiring a splash of water or broth, simply substitute with whiskey to level up the flavor. In addition, whiskey can be added to make pan roasted steak, chili, smoked brisket, seared scallops, and pasta.

Baked goods also benefit from whiskey to change up the flavor by adding ¼ to ¾ cup for stronger flavor. When whiskey is included in cakes, brownies, cookies, and pancakes, the flavor and texture improves.

Dishes that uses whiskey are much more intense in flavor and aroma that cannot be replicated by any other ingredients. From BBQ to brownies, whiskey is a useful alcohol to consider rather than only using in drinks or cocktails.

If you enjoying eating food with whiskey, then this article looks at the various dishes that can be cooked with whiskey. Read on for more insight!

Can whiskey be used in cooking?

Yes, whiskey can be used in cooking. In fact, cooking with whiskey adds an extra layer of flavor to whatever dish you’re making. 

It’s especially great when paired with other intense flavors like coffee or chocolate, and it also adds depth to lighter dishes. 

When cooked, the alcohol in whiskey evaporates and leaves behind only its color and range of tastes from savory to sweet. 

Whiskey can be used to marinate meat, but the alcohol content alters the meat proteins and tenderizes it very quickly. When whiskey is heated, it causes proteins in the meat to contract, toughen and ends up turning it a brown color with chewy texture.

What kind of whiskey is good for cooking?

Most types of whiskey will work well in cooking, including bourbon or rye whiskies. Blended whiskeys work better than single malts because they do not have such intense flavors. 

Additions like peat or smoke can easily overwhelm the other flavors in a dish when not careful. Some well-blended whiskeys worth trying include: 

  • Johnny Walker Black Label
  • Crown Royal Reserve
  • Dewar’s White Label
  • J&B Rare Scotch Whisky
  • Teacher’s Highland Cream Scotch Whisky

Out of all the kinds of whiskey, bourbon is the best for cooking and baking. The smoky caramel and vanilla flavor adds natural savory and sweetness to dishes.

Additionally, whiskey pairs wonderfully with brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, chocolate, mint, apples, pears, peaches, ham and pork. Therefore, it works to make sauces, marinades, brines, glazes, cakes, pies, truffles, and cookies.

What does the cooking in whiskey do?

Cooking with whiskey can be a bit of an art form. When used correctly, it adds a depth of flavor and intensity that other liquors can’t achieve. 

When heated, whiskey can reduce down to a concentrated flavor that brings a balance to the meal.

Here are several characteristics that make it perfect for cooking with whiskey:

  • Adds smoke and spice to recipe.
  • Tenderize meats by breaking down fibers.
  • Balances just the right sweetness without overwhelming the dish.
  • Includes nutty and rich flavors because of its caramel coloring from being aged in charred barrels.

Cooking meat with whiskey

Whiskey is a bold spirit, so it’s best used with big-flavored meats. The benefit of cooking meat with whiskey is that it adds deep, smoky complexity to the meat that other alcohols or flavoring ingredients can’t be achieved. 

With a deep, smoky taste and lingering notes of caramel and vanilla, whiskey is ideal for cooking beef cuts with intense flavors. The same goes for rich meats like pork and duck.

Not only adding bold flavors, whiskey helps to tenderize steak, top sirloin, New York strip, flank steak, pork chop, and chicken breast.

Scotch whiskey is great choice for grilled steak to add smoky notes compared to rye or bourbon.

Baking with whiskey

Including liquor in baking brings magic to sweets and baked goods, and whiskey adds that nice, subtle kick to baked goods. 

Add a little whiskey in your cake batter or use it in a glaze for pastries and cookies. A bit of whiskey in the frosting will give it an unexpected boozy kick and enhance the overall flavor profile.

Bourbon is a great type of whiskey to bake with due to its sweet alcohol taste that is great in baking. But selecting the right brand of bourbon is important, so stick with Jim Bean, Wild Turkey, and Knob Creek for best results.

Rum is widely used in baking for desserts, however whiskey can be substituted for rum, especially in tiramisu. With whiskey, you can bake pecan pie, apple pie, and chocolate bread pudding with that extra kick of goodness.

What flavor cooks well with whiskey?

As with most spirits, some flavors work better than others with whiskey. A few ingredients that complement whiskey include chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Here are classic flavor combination to try to cook with whiskey:

What to cook with whiskey

Cooking with Whiskey: Conclusion

Whiskey is more than just a drink to serve with a meal, it’s also an ingredient that can add depth and complexity to your dishes. Using whiskey in cooking is as simple as using it to deglaze a pan or make a glaze for baked goods. 

The best way to use whiskey in your cooking is to let it simmer until most of the alcohol has cooked off, leaving behind the natural aroma and flavors.

With whiskey, you can use different cooking technique including sautéing, barbecue, marinating and baking. When used with meats, it may toughen the texture due to rapid tenderizing of the proteins, but this really depends on the amount and time of cooking. 

In general, whiskey adds smoky and spicy flavors to the dish, balances the sweet taste, and adds nutty and caramel complexity.

When considering cooking or baking with whiskey, go with bourbon for more subtle infusion and a balance of both savory and sweet flavor to blend in pretty well. Try for yourself on your favorite dishes, and enjoy the maximum taste benefit of cooking with whiskey.

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