14 Recipes That Require A Dash Of Liquor

Soy-bourbon steak
Soy-bourbon steak - Christina Musgrave/Mashed
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Having a splash of something boozy with dinner usually means pouring yourself wine or a classic cocktail to enjoy as you dine. But the party kicks into high gear when what's in your glass finds its way into what's on your plate. By including recipes that require liquor in your dining rotation, you can take advantage of recipes rich in complexity, and loaded with layers of delicious flavor. Think of wine and spirits as secret gourmet ingredients that can fire up your cookbook in ways other elements can't.

If your dining life could use a pick-me-up where flavor is concerned, our list of recipes that call for a bit of liquor will help add spirit to your usual selections. It's a delicious mix of marvelous meat dishes, stirring sauces, perfect pastas, and even a few indulgent desserts for you to try out. No matter what your home cooking possibilities might suggest, if you're ready to sip into something special, these dishes are your chance to pop the cork on a flight of luscious, liquor-infused creations. Bottoms up!

Read more: 41 Must Try Hot Sandwich Recipes

Whiskey Glazed Ham

Ham glazed with whiskey
Ham glazed with whiskey - Petar Marshall/Mashed

The smoky sweetness of a whiskey-based glaze brings a depth of flavor to the simplest ham entrée. Imagine a holiday table graced by the usual ham centerpiece, only instead of the familiar honey coating, it gleams with a shimmering marinade infused with a blend of cinnamon, brown sugar, citrus, and a generous serving of whiskey. It's like ham that's been bathed in an Old Fashioned!

Though combining the ingredients into a syrupy glaze takes a quick 5 minutes, it will take another 30 minutes to fully cook your ham to whiskey-flavored perfection.

Recipe: Whiskey Glazed Ham

Brandy-Peppercorn Steak Sauce

Bowl of steak sauce
Bowl of steak sauce - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

Step beyond the A.1. bottle and mix up your own homemade spread seasoned with peppercorns and a splash of brandy. While butter and cream do the heavy lifting to give this sauce a silky base, it's the crushed peppercorns and 2 tablespoons of brandy that team up for a sophisticated taste that matches the luxurious texture.

If you have 20 minutes, you have time to create this lush drizzle to turn whatever steak you favor into a deluxe dinner dish.

Recipe: Brandy-Peppercorn Steak Sauce

Brandied Cherries

Bowl of brandied cherries
Bowl of brandied cherries - Kristen Carli/Mashed

Stirring brandy into cherries takes an already elegant taste profile into the gourmet flavor stratosphere. The combination of vanilla extract and brandy is a one-two punch of fabulous flavor. Using frozen instead of fresh fruit makes it simple to create this tasteful side dish or dessert selection even when cherry season is long past.

A quick 15 minutes will create the syrup needed to soak the cherries, but they should have a solid hour in the fridge to allow the flavors to blossom fully. Prepare them well in advance of serving for the best results.

Recipe: Brandied Cherries 

Soy-Bourbon Steak

Soy and bourbon flavored steak
Soy and bourbon flavored steak - Christina Musgrave/Mashed

The salty-umami tang of soy sauce added to the woodsy warmth of bourbon creates a marinade that upscale steakhouses covet. With the oaky essence of bourbon married to salty soy, plus a fair amount of brown sugar to stir up a little sweetness, this marinade holds an intriguing array of flavors, each taking a turn showing off its special tricks.

Looking for an equally satisfying side to pair with your soy-bourbon steak? Try a batch of homemade sweet potato fries for an upscale at-home steakhouse experience.

Recipe: Soy-Bourbon Steak

Bourbon Pecan Praline

Bourbon pecan praline candies
Bourbon pecan praline candies - Erin Johnson/Mashed

Pecans baked into classic praline candies make a decadent dessert, for certain. But what happens if you mix bourbon into the formula? You get an even tastier version of a Southern staple with more flavor than you can shake a measuring cup at! Butter and cream come together with both brown and granulated sugar to welcome bourbon to the party for a confection with seriously delicious ambitions.

With 24 chewy pralines per batch, you have plenty to serve or gift, plus a few to sample for yourself.

Recipe: Bourbon Pecan Praline

Sweet And Tangy Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon chicken with rice
Bourbon chicken with rice - Michelle McGlinn/Mashed

Whether enjoyed as a Cajun dirty rice topper or a protein-based accent for Asian vegetables, bourbon chicken is a sticky-sweet dinner treat that receives a surge of new vitality from the inclusion of a classic American spirit. While the honey and vinegar in the recipe show up with tangy sweetness among the savory aspects, it's the bourbon that pulls these two together for a fabulous flavor trifecta.

Don't worry if you make more than you can handle in one meal. Leftovers will last three to five days in the fridge.

Recipe: Sweet And Tangy Bourbon Chicken

5-Ingredient Penne Alla Vodka

Penne pasta and sauce
Penne pasta and sauce - Jamie Monkkonen/Mashed

A simple five-ingredient shopping list is all you need to craft your own penne alla vodka. With a blend of rustic simplicity and epicurean sophistication, this piquant creation takes the usual red sauce into flavorful new territory. It only takes 2 tablespoons of vodka to sharpen up the familiar essences in the pot.

With the right ingredients in your pantry and fridge, you'll only need a cool 15 minutes to turn out this rich and satisfying pasta dish with a new flavor to share.

Recipe: 5-Ingredient Penne Alla Vodka

Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken

Platter of bourbon chicken
Platter of bourbon chicken - Erin Johnson/Mashed

When you're hungry for a hearty entrée but you'd rather let your appliances do the work, this slow-cooker take on bourbon chicken comes to the rescue. With red pepper flakes on hand for some decent heat and brown sugar making things sweet, the bourbon has a built-in partnership to create a glorious taste to go with the melt-in-your-mouth texture.

This is a flavor you'll want to enjoy without complications. Serve it on a bed of simple white rice to savor the full effect.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Bourbon Chicken

Pasta Alla Gigi Hadid (Spicy Vodka Sauce)

Pasta Alla Gigi Hadid
Pasta Alla Gigi Hadid - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

Model, social media megastar, and Taylor Swift bestie Gigi Hadid comes to the cocktail dinner party with her own version of vodka-based pasta sauce, named Pasta Alla Gigi Hadid, naturally. This satiny sauce relies as much on crushed pepper to deliver the spice as it does the 2 tablespoons of vodka, but it's all worth it when dinner is served.

A sprinkle of fresh basil will add an herbaceous bite, but it wouldn't hurt if you topped this dish with strips of grilled chicken or steak instead.

Recipe: Pasta Alla Gigi Hadid (Spicy Vodka Sauce)

Caribbean Rum Cake

Caribbean rum Bundt cake
Caribbean rum Bundt cake - Ting Dalton/Mashed

Put a little tropical bounce in your confection selection with a Caribbean cake where rum is the star of the show. A generous ¾ cup of this sweet island spirit is enough to do double duty to provide sweetness and spice. With eggs, milk, and butter in the mixing bowl, you have the makings of a very fine time.

Serve a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on the side with every slice, and watch your family calypso into the kitchen for dessert.

Recipe: Caribbean Rum Cake

Grilled Steak Au Poivre

Grilled steak au poivre on plates
Grilled steak au poivre on plates - Mackenzie Ryan/Mashed

French cuisine gets in on the cocktail party with a grilled steak au poivre that makes notable use of cognac to impart a complex flavor profile. Perfectly charred steak gets a double dip of creamy sauce, once while cooking and again when serving.

Grill masters can get two full New York Strip Steaks' worth of entrée out of this easy-to-assemble recipe. Pair with crispy smashed potatoes for nouveau steakhouse style.

Recipe: Grilled Steak Au Poivre

Easy Pasta Alla Vodka

Pasta with vodka sauce
Pasta with vodka sauce - /Mashed

Take the guesswork out of crafting upscale Italian dinners by adding this easy version of pasta alla vodka to your weeknight menu. Vodka makes a welcome entrance into a sauce with authentic garlic and parmesan flavors from the best Italian traditions, in a recipe that takes 25 minutes from start to finish.

Not that you have to, but if you're eager to try making your own pasta for this dish, you can do that, too!

Recipe: Easy Pasta Alla Vodka

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Bottles of homemade vanilla extract
Bottles of homemade vanilla extract - Kate Shungu/Mashed

Skip the baking aisle and make your own vanilla extract at home with a little bit of vodka and a few fresh vanilla beans. It's as simple as slicing the beans open and dropping them into a bottle filled with brandy, vodka, or rum, then letting the flavors merge.

Be prepared to wait a while before using your homemade essence. To reach full potency, this handcrafted flavoring should steep for at least a month. The longer you leave it, the more flavor you'll find in the finished infusion.

Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe

Penne Alla Vodka

Penne alla pasta on plate
Penne alla pasta on plate - Michelle Morey/Mashed

Give Italian night a shot of gourmet goodness with homemade penne alla vodka. Layered flavors of onion and garlic interplay with cream and tomatoes, all buffeted by the warmth of vodka in the background. If the same old sauce has worn thin and you're looking for a pasta topper with more substance, this recipe provides a tasty solution.

Balance out this warm entrée with a refreshing Italian chopped salad, and you're good to go!

Recipe: Penne Alla Vodka

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