Belfast Telegraph

5 reasons to make whiskey your go-to cooking ingredient

Whiskey is renowned for complementing lots of different foods, but it’s a great addition within a dish as well.

Encapsulating a host of flavours, Irish whiskey is a versatile yet distinctive ingredient and is a surefire way to put your own stamp on any dish.

Irish charcuterie master and one of Ireland’s top trending chefs, Rob Krawczyk, has been using whiskey in his cooking and meat curing processes for years. He highly recommends the spirit for adding extra character to an array of dishes.

As whiskey continues to grow in popularity in the world of culinary arts, here are five reasons to make it your new go-to cooking ingredient.

1. Whiskey enhances the flavours of your food

The complex blend of Irish whiskey can enhance the flavours in your dish as the malt fermentation process, the distillation process, and the maturation process allow the whiskey to soak up a diverse range of flavours - from the woody flavours of the casks to the sweet undertones of the malt. These flavours are then drawn out in the dish and amplified to bring a unique richness and depth of taste.

2. It can reinvent a traditional dish

Once the alcohol burns off the whiskey, you are left with deep and robust flavours to be creative with - enough to complement and add a kick to traditional recipes, but still subtle and careful not to overpower the end result. This allows you to stay true to the original recipe while getting creative and show your own culinary flair to create new traditions to pass on to others.

3. It can make for some amazing sauces

Whether it’s sweet caramel flavours or savoury nutty notes that you’re looking for in a sauce, whiskey will add an extra sense of vigour, from breakfast right through to dinner. Whether it’s drizzled over a stack of pancakes, poured over a perfectly cooked steak, or used to create a dip for your churros for dessert, whiskey is the “je ne sais quoi” of any signature dish.

4. It will bring your desserts to a whole new level

Adding a splash of whiskey to your dessert will give it an unforgettable, rich flavour, and pull out the fruity, sweet notes. It is recommended to use whiskies aged in sherry casks for desserts, such as Bushmills Black Bush, as they are known to have fruitier notes which will complement any sweet treat.

5. Dark spirits are a fantastic accompaniment to meat

When it comes to whiskey, the natural pairing is red and dark meat. Whiskey can be used right from the meat curing process, bringing out the rich character of the whiskey and in turn, the whiskey enhances the subtle cure mix of spices in the meat.

Rob will host a hands-on charcuterie masterclass, ‘Black Bush Cured’, at D.I.V.E Belfast on July 24 as part of the #BlackBushStories campaign.

For more information, visit blackbushstories.com.

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