A shot of booze can up a dish's flavor factor, giving you an opportunity to experiment with tastes usually reserved for the glass. When cooking with alcohol, elements of beer, wine and liquor can be imparted in one of two ways: evaporation or molecular bonding. As complicated as that may sound, you'll know you're getting it right when the kitchen starts smelling extra luxurious. So, in the spirit of luxury, we've rounded up a few boozy side dishes that will make the perfect addition to your next dinner menu.
1. Charred Cabbage with Guinness
Cabbage is a staple in many cultures, providing maximum sustenance for low cost. The addition of heavy bodied, bitter Guinness to this charred member of the Brassica family is an ideal match for a big pile of corned beef.
2. Tipsy Grapefruit Salad
For when you feel the need to keep things healthy-ish, but it's still been a long week. Grapefruit macerated in a mix of tequila blanco, Cointreau and fresh tangerine juice is added to a salad of avocado, Asian pear and red bell pepper. It's almost like eating a margarita.
3. Beer Braised Carrots
Twenty minutes of simmering adds an extra layer of hoppiness to this simple side. The evaporation of the beer's volatile molecules once heat is applied is one way alcohol is able to work so well in flavoring foods.
4. Lentils with Red Wine and Herbs
Legumes and spinach mix in a hybrid of soup and salad. Dry red wine is absorbed by the protein-rich lentils, bonding with water molecules on the inside. An additional excuse to enjoy a glass of wine while cooking.
5. Stout Baked Mac and Cheese
Author and self-proclaimed craft-beer evangelist Ashley Routon further proves that beer is for more than just drinking. The old classic (and maybe the best side on earth?) gets an update with the add-on of chocolate stout. And remember, cheeses like Gorgonzola pair well with stouts.
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