Holiday Feasting: Cooking with Bourbon & Whiskey

The holidays are approaching. If you want to up the ante for Thanksgiving, here are a few recipes that will make your feasting top shelf: Apple Cranberry Molasses Whiskey Glazed Turkey, Bourbon Bacon Cabbage, Chocolate Whiskey Cake, and Almond Cake with Amaretto & Whiskey. Disclaimer: I am not a brown liquor drinker. However, I discovered that it works well with cooking and baking as a perfect substitute for vinegar in recipes. I dislike vinegar in cooking (unless it’s balsamic) because the vinegar taste and smell tends to linger in the food even after cooking. Whenever a recipe calls for vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, I use whiskey or bourbon. It has the added bonuses of rich color, flavor, and aroma – a feast for the senses.

Apple Cranberry Molasses Whiskey Glazed Turkey

Whiskey Turkey Rondaisns

This gorgeous turkey was so delicious that there were no leftovers. I modified a recipe for Butterflied Turkey with Apple Cranberry Glaze. I did not butterfly my turkey so I cooked at 15 minutes per pound. Having the butcher butterfly the turkey will significantly reduce cooking time. First, whenever the recipe called for vinegar, I replaced with whiskey. Any whiskey or bourbon will do. I have used Woodford, Bulleit, and for this turkey an off brand was used. Second, this recipe uses a brine. My mother does not brine, but uses a butter treatment. I incorporated both into my preparation. Follow the directions in the recipe for prepping the turkey. BEFORE you put the turkey in the oven, have a stick of butter (room temperature) and mix with ground coriander, ginger and a bit of cumin. Lift the skin of the turkey and insert the butter mixture between the skin and the meat and inside the cavity of the turkey. As the turkey cooks, the butter and spices melt into the meat making it moist and flavorful. For the glaze, substitute bourbon or whiskey instead of vinegar. Instead of 1 cup of cranberries, I used one bag for a thicker darker glaze. As the glaze simmers on the stove, the bourbon, cranberry, and molasses combine for an aroma that makes it hard not to spoon a few into a cup and start sipping.

Bourbon Bacon Cabbage with Apples & Andouille Sausage

Bourbon Cabbage Rondaisms

Cabbage is a wonderful alternative to collard greens and cooks in half the time. I used a Neely recipe with modifications. The andouille sausage is optional and be careful that it is not too spicy. For my version, I did not use BBQ sauce or butter. I substituted the vinegar for Woodford Reserve. I used green cabbage instead of red cabbage. The apples perfectly balance this recipe.

Chocolate Whiskey Cake

Whiskey Cake Rondaisms

This was a hit. I used the recipe from the New York Times which calls for Irish Whiskey. I used Jameson. My wine and spirits person warned that using a smokey flavored whiskey would mess with the flavors of baking. Also, the recipe calls for strong coffee. I used espresso. This cake was gone as soon as it was sliced – a definite crowd pleaser.

Almond Cake with Amaretto & Whiskey

This is perfect for dessert, brunch, or breakfast. I used Bittman’s recipe. I modified by adding 3 tablespoons of Amaretto and 1/2 tablespoon of whiskey.

Ronda Lee, JD

Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She's a blogger for the Huffington Post and you can follow her musings on her blog, Ronda-isms- Good Bad & Ugly. She has launched her own snack mix, Auntie Ronda's Snack Mix. Her goal is to get her books published.

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