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This is why you should be cooking with whiskey

Sometimes, just like you, your dishes just need a shot of whiskey to make everything better

Whiskey in a crystal glass sitting on a rock in front of a fire
Thomas Park/Unsplash

There are few things as wonderful as whiskey. It’s an absolute divine gift from the gods and we will fight anyone who disagrees. Yes, it’s a hill we’re willing to die on, and for a damned good reason. Not only is this beloved amber spirit a perfect refreshment on its own — the epitome of comfort in a glass — but it also makes for a wonderfully diverse and complex addition to many of your existing favorite meals. A few drops of this sweet nectar and dishes are absolutely transformed into better, more mysterious, richer versions of themselves. So put the wine aside tonight — this is how you really use booze in your cooking.

Surprisingly, you can add whiskey to foods all across the culinary board. In a marinade, it flavors meats from the inside out with its rich, golden notes. Reduced in a sauce, it becomes bold and punchy, pleasing the palette with a spicy kick. And if you add a few tablespoons into your chocolate dessert, such as a frosting or batter, don’t blame us when you find you can never have a whiskey-less piece of cake again.

Which whiskey you use in your cooking or baking depends on what you happen to be making. Ask yourself which flavors you want to complement in your dish. Are you making a meaty, savory steak or are you looking to be enriched with whiskey’s rich layers? Perhaps your caramel sauce could use a delightfully surprising jolt of the unexpected. Chances are, whatever it is you’re cooking, it’s going to benefit from a shot of whiskey.

Some of our favorite whiskeys to cook with (and enjoy on their own) are below.

Four Roses Small Batch
Four Roses Bourbon / Facebook

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

We love Four Roses Small Batch for its mellow, smooth taste. It’s easy to blend and its perfect balance makes it ideal for marinades, sauces, and cocktails alike.

Suntory Whiskey
Breaking Bourbon/Facebook

Suntory World Whisky AO

Suntory World Whisky AO is a beautifully balanced, unique whiskey that perfectly dances with a delicious blend of characteristics that evolve and change depending on how they’re highlighted. Use this delicious whiskey in both savory and sweet dishes.

Proper 12 Whiskey
Proper Whiskey/Facebook

Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey

This rich single malt is classic in its flavor profile. Simultaneously light and oaky, this smooth whiskey hits all the points as a delicious, yet budget-friendly whiskey option. Smooth and clean in flavor, Proper No. Twelve is perfect for lighter savory dishes and sweet desserts.

Ballotin Whiskey
Ballotin Whiskey/Facebook

Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey

If you’re looking for a whiskey that’s already flirting with whispers of dessert, Ballotin’s line of whiskeys is absolutely delicious. With a flavor for everyone, these whiskeys are incredible as an added element to your already sweet treats.

Filet mignon in a whiskey pan sauce - Omaha Steaks
Omaha Steaks/Facebook

Filet mignon in a whiskey pan sauce recipe

(From Omaha Steaks)

Omaha Steaks deliciously pairs these filets with mushrooms and potato leek squares, which makes for an exquisite dish. But the steaks stand up boldly and flavorfully on their own, or with any of your favorite dinner sides.

Ingredients:

  • 4 filet mignon Omaha Steaks, 6 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup of Scotch whisky
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Season filets with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium/high heat.
  3. When the butter melts and the pan is hot, sear filets over high heat for 2.5 to 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare, about 4 minutes on each side for medium, or to the desired doneness.
  4. Remove steaks from the pan and set aside.
  5. Stir the Scotch whisky into the pan, and bring it to a boil.
  6. Cook for 2 minutes or until the alcohol burns off.

Editors' Recommendations

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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