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Alcohol Burn-Off and Whiskey Cooking Tips

How much alcohol burns off in cooking?

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Whiskey

© 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Whiskey and Alcohol Burn-Off

Whether alcohol remains in a finished dish, and how much, depends on the cooking method. When foods are cooked under high heat for a long period of time, such as soups and stews, the majority of the alcohol evaporates out.

Pure alcohol boils at 173 degrees F., a lower temperature than water (212 degrees F.). Thus, you will find that recipes intending for some of the alcohol to remain will have instructions to add the alcohol near the end of the cooking process so it will not boil out. Obviously, uncooked recipes will retain the vast majority of the alcohol.

Some may be worried about serving a dish cooked with alcohol to a child, yet alcohol is a naturally-occurring substance in many foods, particularly fruits with a high sugar content such as very ripe apples. Keep in mind that the amount used in a recipe is usually very minimal and is spread out over a large volume of food, comparatively-speaking. It is a personal decision, of course. Still, it is a good idea for those on anti-abuse medication for alcohol problems to avoid foods cooked with alcohol.

When using spirits for flambé purposes, the alcohol should be heated to 130 degrees F. before applying to the hot, not warm, food, and then ignited quickly. Otherwise, you may have difficulty getting it to ignite, resulting in the spirit soaking into the food and not properly burning off, not to mention lending an often unpleasant, overpowering flavor to the food.

Whiskey Cooking Tips

You can substitute bourbon ounce for ounce in most recipes if need be. Also feel free to experiment with other liquors instead of whiskey. When substituting, keep in mind that in general darker liquors work better with darker meats and vice versa. In most cases, it is not necessary to waste the good stuff. For small amounts, you should be able to find single serving bottles (like those served on the airlines) in most liquor stores.

More About Whiskey and Whiskey Recipes:

American Whiskey Classifications and Proof
Whiskey Types - Scotch and Irish
Whiskey Alcohol Content in Recipes
Whiskey History
Alcohol Burn-Off Chart
Alcohol Substitutions
Whiskey (Whisky) Recipes
Whiskey / Whisky Photo © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Cookbooks

Jack Daniel's The Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook
The Book of Classic American Whiskeys
American Still Life: The Jim Beam Story
Cooking with Booze
More Cookbooks
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