Cookbook:Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic Beverages

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Alcoholic beverages are fermented products used in cooking to provide an additional layer of flavor to dishes.



All alcoholic beverages contain a perceptible amount of ethyl alcohol, which is a bitter and intoxicating substance resulting from fermentation of various food products; the specific ethanol proportion varies by beverage type. Alcoholic beverages develop a further range of flavors based on the initial fermentation material, aging, and any further additives at the end of the process.

Many alcohols are acidic.



Alcoholic beverages used in cooking can range from relatively low alcohol-content wine and beer to much stronger liquors. Each has its own particular set of characteristics and applications.









Alcohol is flammable and can ignite in sufficient concentrations.[1] This property can be used for visual effect, such as in flambéeing. Never pour alcohol into a hot pan directly from the bottle—if it ignites, the bottle can explode.[2]

Because of alcoholic beverages' acidic quality, avoid using aluminum or cast-iron pans when cooking with them. The reactive metals can produce unpleasant flavors when in contact with acidic substances.[2]

Be careful to balance the amount of alcohol in a dish and the cooking time. If there is too much total alcohol in a dish (>1%), it makes it unpleasantly bitter.[3] The alcohol will evaporate over the course of cooking time, which will reduce the bitterness from ethanol but can concentrate other flavors (both good and bad). Note that while you can significantly reduce the alcohol content with long cooking, you're unlikely to cook out all of it.[3]



Alcoholic beverages can be consumed as-is or combined with other ingredients to create mixed drinks.



For the most part, alcoholic beverages are used in cooking to enhance flavor,[4][5] either from the specific characteristics of the beverage itself or by helping to solubilize certain flavor compounds in the other ingredients.[5] Alcohol can also be used to affect the texture of foods. For example, it lowers a mixture's freezing point, which can help keep frozen desserts soft.[1]

Often, less-expensive products are used in cooking, as the difference in flavor between higher and lower-quality ones are minimal once cooked.



Alcohol can have acute negative health affects, such as intoxication, in relatively low quantities. When using alcohol as an ingredient, pay attention to how much will be consumed in a typical serving.




  1. a b Labensky, Sarah; Martel, Priscilla; Damme, Eddy Van (2015-01-06). On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals, Updated Edition. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0-13-388675-7.
  2. a b Labensky, Sarah R.; Hause, Alan M.; Martel, Priscilla (2018-01-18). On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. Pearson. ISBN 978-0-13-444190-0.
  3. a b Farrimond, Stuart (2017-09-19). The Science of Cooking: Every question answered to perfect your cooking. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-4654-7079-9.
  4. The Chefs of Le Cordon Bleu (2011-12-02). Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie and Baking Foundations. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1-4390-5713-1.
  5. a b "All You Need to Know about Using Alcohol in Cooking". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2023-11-28.