Tipsy Turvy

The flavor and aroma achieved with these ingredients is not to be lightly passed over. Nothing compares to that smoky flavor imparted by bourbon or whiskey in cakes, pies and barbecue dishes. Desserts flambéed (flamed) with brandy are an all-time classic. Chicken and beef dishes benefit greatly from the addition of red wine to the basting ingredients. Beer-baked poultry retains lots of moisture but almost no alcohol. Most of the alcohol cooks away due to the heat of cooking.

So here’s the scoop on how much alcohol remains after various means of food preparation. The amount of alcohol evaporation depends on several factors. Higher temperatures and longer cook times will cause greater dissipation of the alcohol. The longer a dish cooks the less alcohol it retains. The higher the temperature, the more evaporation takes place.

A flambéed fruit dessert will retain the highest alcohol content as it’s cooked for only a minute or two.

A veal shoulder or rib roast, cooked or baked for 2 hours and basted with a mixture of red wine, garlic and pepper will emerge almost alcohol-free but very tender and tasty.

The size of the pot used will also affect the alcohol level in the finished dish. The same Chicken Marsala prepared in a 10” sauté pan will have a higher content than that dish cooked in a 12” pan because the wider area allows for more evaporation.

A pound cake or pie baked at 350° for 1 hour will retain minute amounts of liquor or whiskey but plenty of mouthwatering flavor.

Adding alcohol to a sauce at the end of cooking will result in very little evaporation. If this is an issue for you or others eating the dish, you may want to deviate from the recipe’s instructions just a bit, and add the wine or spirits earlier.

Our list here shows how much alcohol remains after various kitchen techniques.

If no heat is applied, such as liquor added to a fruit salad, remaining alcohol is at 100 percent.

Overnight marinating with no heat applied: 70 percent remains.

Alcoholic ingredients added to boiling liquid, and immediately removed from heat leave 85 percent of the alcohol behind.

Flambéed dishes retain 75 percent of the brandy used.

Baked recipes with alcohol stirred into the ingredients:

15 minutes — 40 percent

1 hour — 25 percent

2 hours — 10 percent

2.5 hours — 5 percent

Now that you know your family won’t be turning tipsy with every new dish, you’ll want to try this:

Salmon with Pepper Relish


1/3 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup fresh orange juice

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 whole salmon fillet (about 2 1/2 pounds)

For the relish:

3 large navel oranges

1 red pepper, cut in match sticks

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

canola oil

sesame seeds

Marinate the salmon:

Whisk first 3 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Pour marinade into a 9” x 13” glass or ceramic baking dish. Place salmon fillet, skin side up, in orange juice mixture; cover with plastic and chill at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours. Remove from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

Segment oranges and discard peel. Place in a bowl. Add red pepper and next seven ingredients and stir to combine. Relish can be prepared 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 450° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and generously brush with oil. Place fish, skin side down, on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until fish is just opaque in center, about 20 minutes. Using large spatula, gently loosen salmon from the parchment. Using parchment as an aid, carefully lift salmon from sheet and allow salmon to slide from paper onto a platter. Mound orange relish down center of the fish, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.