Those passionate about cooking appreciate how much an alcoholic drink can spice up the recipe. Whether you’re using beer or stronger spirits, alcohol can work as more than an accompaniment to one’s meal. Alcohol acts as a flavor enhancer and each type lends its unique flavor profile to a dish. It can also be used to tenderize meat in marinades or concentrate flavor when simmered down into sauces.

Let’s look at some of the most commonly used alcoholic drinks in food recipes.

1. Wine

Wine has three main uses in the kitchen – as a marinade ingredient, as a cooking liquid, and as a flavoring in a finished dish. Both red and white wine have use in numerous food dishes.

White wine can be used in sauces, it can help you deglaze skillets, and it is wonderful for marinating or poaching lightly flavored meats. A small quantity of wine will enhance the flavor of the dish. One needs to be careful though as too little wine in a dish is inconsequential and too much will be overpowering.

2. Beer

While most might prefer their beer chilled and ready for drinking, it has some added functionalities in the kitchen.  Beer adds a rich, earthy flavor to soups and stews and can also be used to prepare some deserts.

Dependent on the type of beer used, each type of beer has a distinctly different flavor that pairs well with certain foods. It is advised that one should only use beers that they would drink.

3. Whiskey

If you can fight the temptation to pour yourself a glass then whiskey can find a vital use in your recipe for the day. Whiskey amounts used in each recipe is usually small and is spread out over a large volume of food. Single malts have intense flavor and this factors heavily in controlling the quantities used.

Single-malt whisky can taste stronger and more ‘roasted’ than grain whisky, which is sometimes lighter due to lesser quantities of malt. As with wine in recipes, the alcohol ‘cooks off’ leaving behind a unique enhancement to your dishes.

Food options are endless from cooking meat dishes to being used in pancakes and coffee.

4. Vodka

Vodka adds a bonus booze factor in many recipes due to its almost flavorless taste and acts as an emulsifier to bind oils and water. It can be used for different types of dishes which mainly includes savory, sweet or infusion dishes.

One of the most common uses for vodka is while baking as it creates a better crust than water. When it bakes, the alcohol will evaporate preventing extra gluten from forming, and you will be left with a tender, flaky crust – no vodka flavor included.

5. Rum

Most rum is made from molasses (a by-product of the sugar industry), which is first diluted with water, then distilled. It can be used as a flavorful addition to both savory and sweet recipes.

Both white and dark rum can be used in glazes and marinades for meats and vegetables. It is also wise to note that one should not substitute dark, white and golden rums in recipes as the flavour can differ widely.

The world is blessed with various types of alcoholic drinks and these are but a few of those can find use in the kitchen. A lot of it depends on the individual as we all have our own preferences.