Why cook with alcohol?

360 viewsOther

Whats the point of cooking with alcohol, like vodka, if the point is to boil/cook it all out? What is the purpose of adding it then if you end up getting rid of it all?

In: Other

14 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Alcohol can extract flavors that water or fat cannot, and usually it’s not all boiled out, even after simmering for a long time.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Most alcohol also has flavor.  When you cook with it, you’re trying to add that particular flavor to the dish; for example, I may want pasta sauce to have the taste of white wine as part of the flavor profile. Or I want to add a bourbon flavor to my BBQ sauce.

Yes the alcohol generally cooks off, but the point wasn’t to make the food boozy. The flavor will stay even after the alcohol cooks off. 

Anonymous 0 Comments

Some stuff just makes a good ingredient if you cook it in stuff. Even without alcohol, the other ingredients taste good in the food.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In addition to extracting extra flavor, alcohol can help emulsify a sauce. Whatever sauce i make, i find it’s less likely to split with a splash of wine or vodka or something.

Anonymous 0 Comments

1. It doesn’t all cook out. Depending on the cooking method, a majority of the alcohol may remain, but in any case enough remains to change the way the food tastes.

2. Some chemicals are not water soluble, but are soluble in alcohol. Cooking with alcohol can bring out those flavors.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There are a number of flavour molecules that are only alcohol soluble, and if you don’t have alcohol present in the cooking those flavours will remain locked up in the ingredients and not spread to the whole dish.

A tomato sauce is probably the easiest and clearest example. If you do a sauce of just tomatoes and water it will be ok. But if you just add 30ml of vodka to the cooking process it will taste a LOT more tomatoey and be significantly nicer.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Cooking with wine is popular. Wine is ~12% alcohol, that’s a lot of other that is now flavouring your dish. Vodka is ~40%. So yah even if all boiled off your getting some flavouring. tbh I have never used spirits in cooking though

Anonymous 0 Comments

You’re just cooking the alcohol off whatever you’re using. Once you cook off the alcohol off a spirit it adds depth of flavor to the dish. 

Cooking the alcohol out of wine will result in a nicely flavored fermented grape juice that can reduced into a sauce.  

Beer has sugar and will give a nice hoppy flavor. It’s also carbonated which will give a nice airy crispy batter when fried such as fish and chips. 

This goes on and on with other alcohols like cognac, whisky, vodka and so on. They have all unique flavors once the alcohol is gone. 

Anonymous 0 Comments

The extent to which alcohol is “cooked off” is _greatly_ exaggerated in popular consciousness.

Here’s a chart:

|Time Cooked at Boiling point of alcohol|Approximate Amount of Alcohol Remaining|
:–|:–|
|15 minutes|40 percent|
|30 minutes|35 percent|
|One hour|25 percent|
|Two hours|10 percent|
|Two and one-half hours|5 percent|

Anonymous 0 Comments

You don’t use it for the alcohol (mostly), you use it because there are other aromatics in the alcoholic beverage which taste good.