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Most of you might have been thinking if the alcohol content of certain liquor can actually cook food.  Can the alcohol retain its property including the smell and the taste once we incorporated heat on the dish?  Generally, we combine alcoholic drinks in our foods to add taste.   It is also added to some of our dish because alcohol can create a certain chemical reaction to our foods causing it to release a special type of aroma that will not be able to provide by the other ingredients.  Alcoholic drinks in our foods can also break down the strong fibers when we use them as marinades.  Furthermore, it is so common to see chefs who use alcohol as a form of entertainment such as their flaming dishes and flambé.

Alcohol evaporates even without the use of heat.  A huge portion of alcohol will burn out during the cooking process.  The amount that will be preserved on the dish depends on the time of cooking.  For example, a bottle of alcohol, use on a stew will not be able to retain its alcohol content, but will leave a rich and vigorous flavor.  Heat is always the factor on how much alcohol content, will remain on the food.  A quick flambé will preserve some of its alcohol content and an uncooked dish will save most of the alcoholic drinks in our food.

Tips in cooking with alcohol

When an alcohol drink is the main ingredient in your recipe, and you are trying to avoid alcohol, you can always look for a substitute but you must remember that it will not taste the same.  Most of the time it will taste bland and different.

If your recipe requires milk or a cream and you have to use an alcohol, make sure to burn the alcoholic drinks in our food first before adding the milk or cream.  Adding the cream or milk while there is strong alcohol content may cause the sauce to curdle.

If you want to use it for flaming dishes, make sure that the alcohol you are putting on the dish is warm.  Also, make sure that the dish is hot.  You should also use a lighter or a long match when lighting the dish.  Tilt the container or pan away from you to avoid accident.  The alcohol is always incorporated in the last minute and should be lighted as fast as possible.  Let it burn for some time so that the dish will absorb the flavor of the wine.  Also, allow the alcohol content to evaporate so it will not overpower the flavor of the main dish.

The wine that you are going to use should be drinkable.  Cooking wines contains sodium that may create a sour or salty taste.

If you do not want to use wines as a marinade, you can always use a tomato juice as an alternative.  Sugar can also serve as a replacement for sweeter liquors.

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