Whiskey is a fan favorite liquor that can be enjoyed on the rocks, neat, or in a mixed drink on a night out. Many tend to overlook that whiskey is actually extremely versatile and can be used in many cooking recipes as well, not just as a beverage. Cooking with whiskey can be a lot of fun and there are some general guidelines you can follow to make sure your dish is a hit. Let’s take a look at some of the most important things to consider when cooking with whiskey.
What Kind Of Whiskey Is Good For Cooking?
Several kinds of whiskeys can be used for cooking and much of this choice is personal preference. The main thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want to cook with a high quality whiskey since you will be able to taste the notes and flavors in the final dish. At the same time, you won’t need to cook with your most expensive whiskey since the flavors won’t show up in deep detail as they would when you are enjoying it as a drink.
When having a glass of neat whiskey, you’ll want to focus on a strong flavor profile and a bottle that has aged nicely to really take in all of the nuances. With cooking, this is not so much of a priority since it will be mixed in with your other ingredients. Finding a good middle-of-the-road whiskey is the perfect choice for cooking. Some of the best whiskeys to cook with include Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, and Old Crow. Any of these are great options to pick when preparing your dish and you can find great choices at almost any liquor store or market.
If you want to learn more about some of the most popular bourbons, check out our article 14 of the Smoothest Bourbons For Beginners.
Can You Substitute Whiskey For Cognac Or Rum in Cooking?
While you may see some recipes that include cooking with cognac or rum, don’t worry too much if you don’t have these on hand in your kitchen. Since whiskey tends to be a more affordable option when compared to other liquors, many people will substitute in whiskey out of convenience.
The primary difference between these liquors is the taste but they all work well in recipes and each will help add a different kick to your dish. Despite the differences, you can still use any of these options interchangeably for a variety of dishes. The flavors may be slightly different but you won’t notice much of a difference in the final meal. Much of cooking is about personal taste and you can really play around with any liquors within this same flavor family. These flavors are all similar enough to swap out for one another and yet will still give you a unique flare with each combination.
Cognac can definitely be more expensive than whiskey. Read about it in our article Why Is Cognac More Expensive Than Whiskey?
Is There A Non-alcoholic Whiskey Substitute In Cooking?
Some people are concerned that if they cook with whiskey, they won’t be able to do so without the added kick of alcohol. Luckily, there are many great non-alcoholic whiskey substitutes that can give you a similar final results. Vanilla extract and cinnamon are commonly used in cooking to achieve a similar taste that lends itself to many dishes.
You can also experiment with Coca-Cola or even coffee grounds for an added kick that is non-alcoholic and just as tasty. Another great option is rum extract which holds a bigger punch of rum flavor and can be a wonderful addition to many desserts. Any brandy or bourbon extracts are also perfect for cooking if you are looking to avoid the alcohol but experience similar flavor profiles. Don’t be afraid to try new things and see what works for your favorite recipes.
What Does Whiskey Do To Meat As A Marinade?
When cooking with whiskey, you’ll likely experiment with using it as a marinade for your meat. This will add a lot of flavor to your dish and help bring that perfect whiskey taste when you’re finished. The alcohol is generally a good bond to latch on to the fat stored in your meat which helps it carry over wonderful flavors to the final cooked meal.
Whiskey typically does not tenderize your meat but rather is a nice addition to the other spices and seasonings you would usually marinade with. The whiskey will help amplify your meat from the inside and help enhance the flavors you’re already adding to your mix. Keep in mind that coating your meat in whiskey too heavily can prevent it from cooking as it normally would, so you’ll want to be sparing and use just enough to achieve your desired taste.
How Long Does It Take To Cook The Alcohol Out Of Whiskey?
Many people are concerned that cooking with whiskey will leave their food with a strong alcohol taste that can be quite harsh. Luckily, whiskey is flavored wonderfully for most dishes and you won’t actually taste anything alcoholic. Generally speaking, the longer you cook your whiskey, the less alcohol content will remain in your final dish. It typically takes around 3 full hours to cook the alcohol out of whiskey entirely.
Since most dishes are not actively cooking for over 3 hours, you will likely be left with around 30-40% of the alcohol remaining when you’re done. While there may be some alcohol in your final dish, don’t worry about feeling buzzed from your dinner. The remaining alcohol content in your whiskey dish will only be enough to add that perfect amount of flavor and flare to your meal. Of course, if you are not a fan of alcohol or are allergic to it, stay away from any dish where whiskey is an ingredient.
It is important to remember that whiskey isn’t just for drinking and this versatile liquor can really transform a dish from standard to spectacular. Many people really enjoy cooking with whiskey as it brings some great opportunities for creative dishes and thinking outside the box when it comes to cooking. While you may be able to cook without it, it doesn’t mean that your food won’t be enhanced by the addition of whiskey. Overall, cooking with whiskey can add a unique and wonderful taste to your dish that will impress anyone who tries it. Remember to get creative in the kitchen and add some whiskey to your next meal.