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What booze do you keep on hand to cook with?

p
Philly Ray Jan 2, 2008 06:25 PM

In an effort to keep my pantry well stocked at all times, I'm trying to compile a list of different types of alcoholic beverages that are typically used in cooking (as part of the dish itself, not as a beverage). So far, wine (red or white) and beer come to mind. Is marsala wine necessary, or can vermouth be used instead? Or should I have both on hand? I have also heard that cooking sherry should be avoided, but what is a good sub?

As for harder stuff, I have used tequila in marinades and Amaretto in cookie recipes.

What do you all use???

  1. c
    currymouth May 20, 2008 09:06 PM

    On a lazy susan by the stove we keep, Harvey's bristol cream ,Sake, Dry Vermouth,Cognac, Vodka, and White rum. Pretty much covers our cooking needs from Asian to West Indian.

    1. ChefJune May 20, 2008 11:40 AM

      In addition to red and white wine:
      dry vermouth (usually use it instead of white wine;
      fino sherry;
      dry marsala,
      ruby & tawny port
      sercial madeira
      brandy
      grappa

      1. e
        eatmyfood May 20, 2008 11:10 AM

        wine - red and white, mirin, rum, vodka, triple sec, tequila

        http://www.dinnersforayear.blogspot.com

        1. m
          morebubbles May 20, 2008 09:00 AM

          Sake, cognac, sherry, dark rum. Wine of course, both red and white.

          1. jen kalb Jan 11, 2008 04:52 PM

            We have lots of stuff, wine beer , rum and brandy around continually, mostly for my husband tho I do drink the wine, but for cooking (in addition to the foregoing I usually have chinese rice wine, madeira and marsala (used rarely), maraschino, cointreau and vodka, used for making liqueurs. I also have stuff like amaretto, alchermes, frangelico, ,kahlua, l around from time to time -its rarely used unless my husband gets desperate. There's some banana liqueur thats been waiting maybe 20 years for another bananas foster, pernod waiting for french fish soup, etc.

            3 Replies
            1. re: jen kalb
              pikawicca Jan 11, 2008 04:56 PM

              I've never cooked with banana liqueuer, but it sounds like a great ingredient in baking, especially cakes.

              1. re: pikawicca
                Caroline1 Jan 12, 2008 05:35 AM

                If you like bananas, it's also quite refreshing in the summertime with club soda and ice. Maybe a sprig of mint. But it has to be a good quality banana liqueur. I don't like DeKuypers.

                1. re: Caroline1
                  cayjohan Jan 14, 2008 02:37 PM

                  Ooooh...the bottle of creme de banane in the cupboard! Makes a great drink with mango nectar and tequila. Ratios to your taste, but it is like drinking "summer."

                  Cay

            2. ajs228 Jan 11, 2008 02:15 PM

              I usually keep a couple bottles of Two-buck Chuck on hand, one red and one white, for cooking. It's pretty decent quality, and I don't feel bad pouring half a bottle of $25 cabernet into a sauce.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ajs228
                pikawicca Jan 11, 2008 04:08 PM

                I did an experiment last week -- braised two chickens, one with half a bottle of $10 red, one with half of $25 red. The $10 was good; the $25 tasted like we'd flown to Paris and were eating in a 3 star restaurant. Try it.

              2. rozz01 Jan 8, 2008 02:43 PM

                I've been making a glaze with Templeton Rye. It works really well wiith apple cake.

                1. r
                  RGC1982 Jan 8, 2008 12:00 PM

                  This may be a little off topic, but I enjoyed a really good chuckle at the liquor store a few days before Thanksgiving when a little old lady walked in and asked if she could buy the "smallest possible bottle of bourbon". She was the epitome of a teetotaler, and proceeded to declare, for all to hear, that this was "just for cooking". I guess some people don't keep any booze around at all, but can bend the rules a bit for a good holiday recipe! The clerk sold her a bottle about the size of what you get on an airplane.

                  Geez, I'm glad I don't have liquor issues.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: RGC1982
                    revsharkie Jan 11, 2008 02:11 PM

                    I have a lady in my church like that...she goes out to the liquor store to buy Creme de Menthe to make this really wonderful cake--but she worries the whole time lest some townsfolk see her car there.

                    1. re: revsharkie
                      danna May 20, 2008 08:21 AM

                      My first trip to the liquor store...i was about 16. Told them I needed 1 cup of rum. They wouldn't sell it to me. I had to make my Mom actually get out of the car and GO IN THE LIQUOR STORE. I thoughrt she would die.

                  2. m
                    mordacity Jan 7, 2008 12:48 PM

                    Red, white and marsala wines are my staples. I also keep some bourbon, amaretto, frangelico and fruit brandies around, mostly for baking.

                    1. OCAnn Jan 7, 2008 12:44 PM

                      Pear brandy for baking.

                      1. k
                        KingsKetz Jan 7, 2008 09:55 AM

                        Somewhere way back in some cooking show I remember the chef saying to use Vermouth instead of white wine. You would then have greater consistency in flavor and be able to recreate recipes rather than using a pinot grigio one time and a chardonnay another for example. Also, in Cook's they advocated using the boxed red wines for cooking - that they actually work quite well, taste good in the end product, and due to the vacuum packing will last a long time in the fridge. I rarely use other liquors in my cooking tho I do have rum and vodka and gin on hand.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: KingsKetz
                          Caroline1 Jan 7, 2008 11:49 AM

                          As far as I know, it was Julia Child who first publically advocated the use of white vermouth in cooking.

                        2. chef chicklet Jan 7, 2008 09:20 AM

                          Oh I have pretty much the same, except no bourbon. I don't like it at all, so I see no need. I have been using Vermouth too to sub for white wine, I do like it for a less alcohol taste, maybe I just use less of it..
                          Red wine in all the shades except pink, and love dry white for cooking. I do love Pernod too, and Grand Marnier for desserts. I am another that goes to BevMo and buys little bottles for a once or twice recipe. I just got to insist that nothing goes in my food that is bad tasting, so I'll splurge for a good quality. I I just can not drink 2 buck chuck, I'll get instant migraine that last for days! DH is happy, more for him!
                          Oh and champage! for that! Its great for salad dressing or a champagne sauce for fish. Its really a favorite. Have to hide this one from myself..

                          1. foxy fairy Jan 7, 2008 08:41 AM

                            None. We're non-drinkers and don't have booze in the house. I've recently found a nice organic white grape juice, and I combine that with a little vinegar and a touch of stock to make a wine substitute. I've used this wine substitute to make Chicken Marbella, and again last night for Nigella's slow-roasted lemon-garlic chicken, and it's just fine.

                            1. p
                              polish_girl Jan 6, 2008 05:36 PM

                              I always have a bottle of Zubrowka (bison grass vodka)in my cupboard! I bring a big bottle from Poland every time I go there, as it has a very unusual taste. It's great with all kinds of roasts. I also love to cook with wine.
                              http://www.bisonbrandvodka.net/
                              http://www.ivodka.com/zubrowka-poland...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: polish_girl
                                h
                                hungry_pangolin Jan 6, 2008 06:07 PM

                                Hey, polish girl! I'm familiar with Zubrowka. I never thought of using that on the plate. (When I have it, it's in the glass.) Thanks for that.

                                1. re: hungry_pangolin
                                  p
                                  polish_girl Jan 7, 2008 12:46 PM

                                  Glad to hear somebody out there likes it too! (btw, the most famous polish drink is Zubrowka with apple juice). I also love to add it when I make carmelized onions- instead of white wine, I add Zubrowka. Mix them with mashed potatoes, or put on a pizza-they have an incredible taste.

                              2. v
                                violabratsche Jan 6, 2008 12:22 PM

                                I'm not always able to have a good selection around, but the barest of minimum necessities in my pantry is vermouth. It works well in chinese cooking, and is perfect to using in a pan of fried onions or mushrooms, or just about anything that needs that little shot of something.

                                AnnieG

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: violabratsche
                                  a
                                  alysonlaurel Jan 6, 2008 08:44 PM

                                  What brand vermouth do you use?

                                2. a
                                  alysonlaurel Jan 6, 2008 11:40 AM

                                  I don't keep much on hand to cook with, besides the usual wine and beer that we drink. But if a recipe calls for something I like to drink I'll buy a bottle, and if it calls for something I don't like to drink, like rum or Grand Marnier, I buy airplane bottles. I think the guys at the liquor store think I have some kind of bizarre drinking problem.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: alysonlaurel
                                    j
                                    jlafler Jan 6, 2008 12:10 PM

                                    You should see the looks I get when I buy 3 or 4 bottles of 100-proof vodka (which i often do when i find it on sale). I always want to blurt out "I use it to make liqueurs. Really!"

                                    1. re: jlafler
                                      c
                                      cookingschool Jan 6, 2008 02:17 PM

                                      Oh, that is hilarious! I used this old line on my purveyor of all things alcoholic once...."I cook with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food." I went in to stock up over Christmas, and bought a 6-pack of Guiness Stout, which I needed for the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread Cake. He said something like, "so, guess you're using the stout for cooking, ay? You should have seen his face when I said yes!

                                      1. re: jlafler
                                        a
                                        alysonlaurel Jan 6, 2008 08:42 PM

                                        I think you should just blurt it out. Most of the time when I explain something like this (I know I'm buying a lot of carrots - I'm making a carrot cake. Really! I'm not going blind!), the salesperson will laugh and respond with their own favorite bulk buys, which often lead to good ideas.

                                        How do you make your liquers? Do they have to be specially sealed? Do you have recipes you'd be willing to share?

                                        1. re: alysonlaurel
                                          j
                                          jlafler Jan 8, 2008 08:11 AM

                                          It's true, sometimes you can get into a nice little conversation. But sometimes they just look at you like you're from Mars!

                                          I've been making liqueurs for less than a year, so I'm certainly not an expert, but I've been having a lot of fun experimenting. I've mainly used two books, "Cordials From Your Kitchen" by Vargas and Gulling, and "Classic Liqueurs" by Long and Kibbey. They've both been useful in learning the basic techniques.

                                          By far the most successful liqueur I've made is a coffee/cinnamon/chili concoction. I just published it on Chowhound, but for some reason someone else is listed as the author. Anyway, here it is:
                                          http://www.chow.com/recipes/11382

                                          1. re: jlafler
                                            j
                                            jlafler Jan 8, 2008 11:13 AM

                                            Oops, tech support is going to delete the recipe until they can fix the authorship bug. Will repost eventually.

                                      2. re: alysonlaurel
                                        revsharkie Jan 6, 2008 03:41 PM

                                        Same here. If I need something for cooking I buy it, and drink what I don't use in the dish. This is especially true for wine. It just doesn't help it any to sit around after it's open. And I mostly choose recipes involving Guinness when I'm in the mood to drink some Guinness. The recipe is a nice bonus.

                                        The only exception is sake. It takes me forever to use up a bottle of sake when I only use it to throw a splash into the broth for somen. I don't drink it, but when I want somen I want somen, and where I live you have to special order sake.

                                        One time I decided to make some risotto, and I didn't have any white wine, but I did have a bottle of brandy, so I used that instead. It was good.

                                      3. cayjohan Jan 3, 2008 10:50 AM

                                        I love having a nice stash of three-buck Chuck around for a bastardized riff on boeuf bourgignon or coq au vin. Cheaper than most ingredients and makes the most luscious gravy.

                                        1. NYCkaren Jan 3, 2008 09:47 AM

                                          Well, I have beer and wine, to drink and to cook with. Other than that, if a recipe I want to make calls for a particular type of booze I'll buy it. I think right now I have light rum, dark rum., Marsala, madeira, brandy, calvados, sake, mirin and sherry. And I have vodka, gin and tequila for drinking and sometimes for cooking with.

                                          1. s
                                            sailrox Jan 3, 2008 09:42 AM

                                            I don't use alcohol in my cooking very often, but I always have some white wine and some rum on hand.

                                            1. optimal forager Jan 3, 2008 09:37 AM

                                              I keep various liquers around for flavoring for baking and pastries: Grand Marnier, amaretto, cognac, frangelico, dark and light rum, Kahlua, kirsch, raspberry vodka, poire William, Marsala, Bailey's. Trouble is, where I'm living now, people think these are perfect for topping ice cream, so they're disappearing quicker than normal.

                                              1. h
                                                hungry_pangolin Jan 3, 2008 09:15 AM

                                                Red and white wines
                                                Sherry (not too sweet! Amontillado)
                                                Port
                                                Madeira (malvasia or bual, not sercial or verdelho)
                                                brandy/cognac

                                                Honestly, I've never been keen on vermouth in my cooking. Just me, I guess.

                                                1. j
                                                  jlafler Jan 3, 2008 08:49 AM

                                                  We have a full liquor cabint (vodka, gin, rum, etc. etc.) but the only alcohols I cook with regularly are wine, dry vermouth, and brandy. I agree that vermouth is not a substitute for Marsala, but I don't make a special effort to keep Marsala in hand -- I don't use it often enough.

                                                  Since I started making liqueurs at home, I keep a stash of 100-proof vodka. But that's a specialized use, obviously.

                                                  1. s
                                                    Sherri Jan 3, 2008 07:43 AM

                                                    New Year's Resolution: Could I make a plea for all serious cooks to eschew anything labeled "Cooking Wine". This is horrid stuff; sub-par wine that isn't fit to drink and has been salted to boot. Use water or juice instead of this nasty concoction that was originally devised to keep the cooks from drinking the hooch.

                                                    I have non-drinking friends who've always bought "cooking wine" until I twisted their arms and they cannot believe the difference in their food now.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Sherri
                                                      a
                                                      alysonlaurel Jan 6, 2008 11:39 AM

                                                      That stuff is awful. I bought some when I was about eleven and wanting to make a spaghetti sauce that called for red wine. I, of course, couldn't buy real wine, so I bought the red cooking kind (I can't remember where my parents were during all of this) and it was so bad I've never gone back. It's nice now to buy the bottle, cook with some of it, and have the rest with dinner or the cooking process. :)

                                                    2. Gio Jan 3, 2008 07:15 AM

                                                      Sherry
                                                      Dry Vermouth
                                                      White & Red wines
                                                      As a rule I don't make many sauces, however if I need anything other than the aforementioned, I just go to our liquor cabinet and take what I need. As for Vodka - I just don't understand what it contributes to any dish.

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                        b
                                                        bnemes3343 Jan 3, 2008 07:20 AM

                                                        Penne or Rigatoni with vodka sauce! Wonderful stuff.

                                                        1. re: bnemes3343
                                                          Gio Jan 3, 2008 07:46 AM

                                                          Really? I've had vodka sauce. Didn't move me. Perhaps not enough was used....LOL

                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                            BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jan 3, 2008 07:59 AM

                                                            Vodka is used a lot in tomato dishes because tomatoes have flavor compounds that are alcohol soluble, and since vodka is relatively flavorless, it brings out those compounds in the tomatoes without adding flavors of its own the way that wine, vermouth or other alcohols would. The best way I can describe a tomato sauce cooked with vodka is that it has a certain...I think "earthiness" is the best way of putting it. It just adds a certain depth of flavor to the tomatoes.

                                                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                                              b
                                                              bnemes3343 Jan 3, 2008 08:08 AM

                                                              Thanks for providing the science behind this. Adding vodka to a tomato sauce certainly isn't done for the vodka 'flavor', yet there is something about the result that is very good and different from a non vodka tomato sauce. Of course it could be the cream and the cheese...

                                                              There is also science behind the use of vodka in a pie pastry crust (alcohol doesn't form glutens with flour, as water does).

                                                              1. re: bnemes3343
                                                                BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jan 3, 2008 08:20 AM

                                                                Actually, I don't usually use cream or cheese in my vodka sauce. I don't use vodka in my quick everyday red sauce, which is based on Pastene ground tomatoes and doesn't cook long enough for the alcohol to burn off, but if I'm making a sauce that starts from whole tomatoes (either fresh or canned) and simmers for a fair amount of time, a dose of vodka always does wonders.

                                                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                                                  Gio Jan 3, 2008 08:56 AM

                                                                  That must be It, then. I use Pastene Kitchen Ready for an everyday/marinara sauce....all the time, since we don't like a heavy meat sauce. Perhaps I should dig out some recipes which require the addition of Vodka and see what I'm missing. Thank you, BFM and bnemes3343 for the information and incentive.

                                                                  1. re: Gio
                                                                    blue bike Jan 6, 2008 06:44 PM

                                                                    Gio, here is a tomato vodka salmon recipe:

                                                                    http://www.foodtv.ca/recipes/recipede...

                                                                    It's easy and flavourfull.

                                                                    1. re: blue bike
                                                                      Gio Jan 7, 2008 09:33 AM

                                                                      Bloody Mary Salmon???? That's perfect.... I Love Bloody Marys. LOL
                                                                      Thank you blue bike!! Into my recipe file it goes. Too bad I didn't see this yesterday, tho....I cooked wild salmon last night.

                                                                2. re: bnemes3343
                                                                  r
                                                                  RGC1982 Jan 7, 2008 11:59 AM

                                                                  I like Vodka sauce if it is well done, which usually means that the vodka is cooked out and there is plenty of cheese and heavy cream to form a pink sauce. I don't know what the science is behind it, but it is a nice alternative to marinara sauce.

                                                                  Still, I always wonder how this dish, which is clearly not authentic, got started. I can tell you that my little Italian grandma was NOT running around her kitchen with a bottle of Russian vodka :)

                                                        2. k
                                                          Kagey Jan 3, 2008 07:09 AM

                                                          I wouldn't keep wine around for cooking, as it goes off pretty quickly. If you drink it regularly and happen to have it around, that's great. Otherwise, vermouth makes a pretty good substitute for white wine in many dishes. I keep both vermouth and marsala, as well as mirin, sake, and a sherry (not a cooking sherry!). Also, since we're not big drinkers, I buy those little bottles of red wine for when I need it for cooking. That way, it never goes to waste.

                                                          I've always wanted to get some Calvados, but it's so expensive and I can never justify buying it!

                                                          1. t
                                                            tinarina Jan 3, 2008 07:05 AM

                                                            Yes, we have Shaoxing on hand, and use it instead of Sherry. This time of year, when we don't find ourselves drinking too much white wine here in the northeast, dry vermouth is a good sub and keeps longer.

                                                            1. JungMann Jan 3, 2008 06:30 AM

                                                              Shaoxing is always very useful, and it's also a good sub for sherry. I always have a bottle of brandy and dark rum for sweets and a chardonnay for sauces. Port is one of those expensive liquors I just can't put into a pot.

                                                              1. l
                                                                link_930 Jan 3, 2008 06:11 AM

                                                                I live alone, so it's a bit difficult to get through a bottle of anything -- esp wine, which one must use within days. Reading that the single serve Cali wine bottles weren't so bad, I tried. Learned my lesson. And will never do it again.

                                                                So now all I have is mirin, some port, and a bottle of chardonnay I'm too scared to open. :D

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: link_930
                                                                  BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jan 3, 2008 08:05 AM

                                                                  Wine snobs are horrified by the thought -- and since I love horrifying wine snobs, this is only an inducement for me -- but there are a number of really quite nice boxed wines now. Not only is the wine cheaper (you get three bottles' worth for the price of about one and a half bottles), the mechanism of the spigot keeps the wine from oxidizing, which means it lasts much much longer. I've kept boxes of wine out in the mudroom, which is cooler than the rest of the house, for three months without losing any of the wine's flavor, and since it's out there, it's already slightly chilled whenever I decide I want a glass.

                                                                  Look for the Hardy's Stamp or Banrock Station labels: they're the same Australian company, and their wines are uniformly solid.

                                                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                                                    cayjohan Jan 3, 2008 10:43 AM

                                                                    Second that, Barmy - boxed wines are a staple in our kitchen, and I concur on the staying power of the flavor. A good solution for the "glass every once in a while" wine drinker and for the cook.

                                                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                                                      s
                                                                      sweetpotater Jan 7, 2008 04:38 PM

                                                                      Hey, in convenience stores in Tokyo I found sake packaged in what we think of as little juice boxes -- straws included. Loved them, and wish I would have brought some back for cooking.

                                                                      1. re: sweetpotater
                                                                        revsharkie Jan 8, 2008 11:50 AM

                                                                        Various Japanese students that stayed with us in my growing-up years always packed those little juice boxes of sake in their luggage to give to folks or use in cooking...that was 20 years ago.

                                                                        1. re: sweetpotater
                                                                          bkhuna May 20, 2008 07:42 PM

                                                                          I love the self heating cans of Sake you can now buy in the Japanese convenience stores.

                                                                      2. re: link_930
                                                                        eLizard Jan 3, 2008 10:22 AM

                                                                        I substitute vermouth for white wine all the time. I'm a light drinker and my husband is a non-drinker, so I can't get through a bottle of wine before it goes bad. Vermoth keeps forever in the cupboard, and Julia says it's ok, too.....

                                                                      3. s
                                                                        swsidejim Jan 3, 2008 04:13 AM

                                                                        tequilla, white and red wine, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, Dark Rum

                                                                        1. crosby_p Jan 3, 2008 04:06 AM

                                                                          The usual culprits for me as well, plus a bottle of Calvados...great with pork, apples, fall and winter stuff!

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: crosby_p
                                                                            n
                                                                            Nancy Berry Jan 6, 2008 06:17 PM

                                                                            I substitute Applejack for Calvados. I first started using it when I wanted to cook a Thanksgiving dinner with all American ingredients. Applejack is the oldest American produced brandy. It's been made by Laird & Company in Scobeyville, NJ since the early 1700's -- it was called cyder spirits then. I love to use it in apple desserts like apple crumb pie or with pork -- it's great when added to the stuffing or the gravy.

                                                                            1. re: crosby_p
                                                                              j
                                                                              jjbourgeois May 20, 2008 08:43 PM

                                                                              I'll second the Calvados. Works great with pork and i've even put a splash into pumpkin soup.

                                                                            2. k
                                                                              Kelli2006 Jan 2, 2008 09:26 PM

                                                                              A white and 2 red wines, ale-lager, plus, marsala, sake, cognac, kirsch, rum, bourbon.

                                                                              1. f
                                                                                Fuser Jan 2, 2008 07:43 PM

                                                                                Even though neither of us drinks, I keep marsala, dry vermouth, sherry and port on hand, along with red and white wine and beer. We are lucky that we live near liquor stores that carry those tiny bottles of a wide variety of spirits, so if I need any liquor, I can get one of those for just a couple of bucks. I also keep some mirin in the cupboard. We always try to have a few things on hand for those who like to drink, but we have to be careful that they don't sit around too long.

                                                                                1. z
                                                                                  ziggylu Jan 2, 2008 07:36 PM

                                                                                  We're not big drinkers(actually DH is a non-drinker and I'm a not much drinker) but we keep a well stocked liquor cabinet that I mostly use to cook with.

                                                                                  I mostly use red or white wine when cooking but also regularly pull out vermouth, cognac, sherry(not the cooking wine stuff!), port, and marsala.

                                                                                  I always have rum, gin, vodka, bourbon and tequila on hand too. I'm not a beer drinker but keep a few bottle around to toss in things(those pumpkin ales during the fall make great stews for instance!)

                                                                                  I also have a healthy collection of liqueurs that mostly get used in baking.

                                                                                  For being essentially non-drinkers, friends are always amazed by what we have on hand...and even more amazed when I point out I mostly cook with everything!

                                                                                  1. linguafood Jan 2, 2008 07:13 PM

                                                                                    There's always an open bottle of red & white wine around :-D.

                                                                                    Also, I currently have a bottle of vodka, port, gin, and brandy -- all work nicely for a variety of reductions and/or sauces, e.g. I like adding gin or vodka to seafood bisque; port works really well with pork or pan-seared liver.

                                                                                    1. pikawicca Jan 2, 2008 06:44 PM

                                                                                      There is no way that vermouth can sub for Marsala. I keep Brandy, Bourbon, Vodka, Sherry, Marsala, Madeira, and dry vermouth on hand for cooking. We don't drink any of these, but they all seem to keep practically forever.

                                                                                      23 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                        s
                                                                                        Sherri Jan 2, 2008 06:49 PM

                                                                                        If you add Port to your list, we keep the same larder. I will admit to drinking these as well as always having red & white wine available. From time to time, I also use pear and raspberry eau de vie as well as cointreau & triple sec. Oops, almost forgot beer ....... cannot make Belgian beef stew without Chimay.

                                                                                        We keep a pretty well-stocked bar here, so if I want a dash of tequila et al, I have only to open a cabinet.

                                                                                        1. re: Sherri
                                                                                          Caroline1 Jan 6, 2008 11:29 AM

                                                                                          I keep pretty much all of the above, though I haven't bothered replacing the Chambourd, but I also keep Pernod, rum, and Grand Marnier (similar to Cointreau and triple sec) on hand for cooking.

                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                            BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jan 6, 2008 06:46 PM

                                                                                            You know, Cooks Illustrated recently did a taste test, and they actually recommend using triple sec (Ledoux is their preferred brand) for cooking purposes over Grand Marnier, and after trying it, I agree entirely. It delivers a cleaner orange flavor at about 1/3rd the price.

                                                                                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                                                                              Caroline1 Jan 7, 2008 01:46 AM

                                                                                              I've tried both triple sec and Cointreu, but prefer the Grand Marnier. Other than the occasional duck or goose,I don't use it for cooking but for baking. It's great in combination with chocolate (cakes, ganaches, etc.) and other baked goods. I do like Cointreu more than triple sec though. Just don't see any purpose in keeping them both on hand. I think my bottle of Grand Marnier is a couple of years old.

                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                r
                                                                                                RGC1982 Jan 7, 2008 11:56 AM

                                                                                                I used Grand Marnier in my Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. Nothing tastes exactly like it because it is added at the end, after the cooking is essentially done. Cointreu is a bit more orange flavored, if that is what you are going after. I save the Triple Sec for when I am mixing drinks for the masses.

                                                                                                1. re: RGC1982
                                                                                                  Caroline1 Jan 7, 2008 12:29 PM

                                                                                                  I use Grand Marnier in my holiday cranberry relish. It's not cooked and has fresh cranberries and orange supremes plus orange zest in it, so Cointreu just fades into the background with the zest, but the Grand Marnier stands its ground. And acts as a great preservative! I still have some left!

                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                    r
                                                                                                    RGC1982 Jan 8, 2008 11:56 AM

                                                                                                    We must have similar recipes. I don't use orange supremes -- what are they? I think the Cointreau blends too much with the orange zest too.

                                                                                                    1. re: RGC1982
                                                                                                      MMRuth Jan 8, 2008 11:58 AM

                                                                                                      Orange supremes are just the segments of the orange removed from the "membrane". Did this yesterday with a grapefruit and for the first time used a serrated knife - made it much easier.

                                                                                                      1. re: RGC1982
                                                                                                        Caroline1 Jan 8, 2008 12:45 PM

                                                                                                        Yup, /as MMRuth says, the supremes are just the orange without the yucky parts. I've seen recipes for cranberry relish very similar to mine but that use the whole orange. Tried it one year because of the work reduction, but paid for it in the bitterness using the whole fruit produces.

                                                                                                        I microplane the zest off of two oranges (Valencias if I can find them), then supreme the oranges. A bag of cranberries. Put it all in the food processor with sugar -- the amount depends on how sweet the cranberries and orange are, but anywhere from a half cup to a cup and a half if I have sour berries and have to use naval oranges -- and process everything to a fairly fine "chunk." Then add Grand Marnier to taste. I make it at least a couple of days ahead so it can blend. Is this the same as your recipe?

                                                                                                        One year I made a lot and gave some to a friend to take home with her. She added some walnuts and used it in a red Jell-O mold. It was good, but I'm not the Jell-O mold type... But it was good.

                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                          k
                                                                                                          karykat May 20, 2008 09:08 AM

                                                                                                          I have to get better at making supremes. When I've tried it, I get chunks, not nice segments. MMRuth -- is there a trick? I will try the serrated knife.

                                                                                                          1. re: karykat
                                                                                                            a
                                                                                                            alysonlaurel May 20, 2008 02:15 PM

                                                                                                            I find that a really sharp paring knife is best, as is holding the thing in your hand and taking time picking the spot where you cut.

                                                                                            2. re: Sherri
                                                                                              pikawicca Jan 6, 2008 02:22 PM

                                                                                              Oops! Overlooked the Port, a must-have.

                                                                                              I friend brought me a bottle of wild strawberry liqueur from France last year, and I used it to macerate strawberries for Strawberry Shortcake -- unbelievable! It's very difficult to get this stuff in the U.S., however. If you're in a big city, give it a try.

                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                                Caroline1 Jan 6, 2008 02:49 PM

                                                                                                Sounds delicious. I only remember the Italian brand -- can't think of the name of it now... Fragioli? something like that -- with the little wild strawberries in the top of the bottle. Haven't seen it lately, but then haven't been looking. Is the French liqueur similar to that? Not that there are a lot of strawberries in the local farmer's market these days.

                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                  pikawicca Jan 6, 2008 03:28 PM

                                                                                                  I'm not familiar with the Italian version (sounds delicious), but my French bottle does not have berries in it.

                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                    chef chicklet Jan 7, 2008 09:11 AM

                                                                                                    I want to try this now, wonder if BevMo carries this? Preferred brand anyone?

                                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                                                      Gio Jan 7, 2008 09:36 AM

                                                                                                      That sounded so intriguing I had to find the wild strawberry liqueur page at BevMo.....
                                                                                                      http://tinyurl.com/3c3svm

                                                                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                                                                        chef chicklet Jan 7, 2008 10:53 AM

                                                                                                        Thank you for doing that! I'll be getting one of these!

                                                                                                      2. re: chef chicklet
                                                                                                        Caroline1 Jan 7, 2008 09:47 AM

                                                                                                        Here's the one I was talking about (and misspelled):
                                                                                                        http://tinyurl.com/3cv7lp
                                                                                                        I haven't been able to find it on the web not in the gift pack except for UK websites, and who want to pay shipping from there!

                                                                                                        There are several other brands of wild strawberry liqueur, from Marie Brizzard to DeKuyper. BevMo does carry Bol's strawberry liqueur, but it's not "wild" strawberry. But it's about 1/3 the price of the Fragola.

                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                          chef chicklet Jan 7, 2008 10:55 AM

                                                                                                          Thank you for posting the link, all of these are helpful. I'll be going to BevMo its closer and I pick up other things too.. right around the corner from TJs so its a fun trip!

                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                            pikawicca Jan 8, 2008 03:48 PM

                                                                                                            If I'm not mistaken, DeKuyper does artificially flavored stuff. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                                              MMRuth Jan 8, 2008 03:52 PM

                                                                                                              I think that is the case - I really just avoid that brand and Marie Brizzard or whatever.

                                                                                                  2. re: pikawicca
                                                                                                    heidipie Jan 2, 2008 08:00 PM

                                                                                                    What kind of Madeira do you have? I was gifted a nice bottle of California Madeira from a Napa winery, which is now gone, and I don't know what variety it was, only that it was some nice hooch. I notice that Brits like Nigel Slater are apt to pour a slug of Madeira into many a dish. What should I get?

                                                                                                    1. re: heidipie
                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                      Sherri Jan 2, 2008 08:53 PM

                                                                                                      Mine is "Rainwater" from Portugal. I've never tried California madeira so don't have any recommendation for you on that.

                                                                                                  3. soypower Jan 2, 2008 06:41 PM

                                                                                                    i cook mostly asian, so i always have a bottle of sake, shaoxing wine, and sometimes mirin...

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