Cooking wines are about as common as spices in your kitchen’s pantry. But even cooking sherry, arguably the most well known, is often forgotten on the shelf after making that special once-in-a-blue-moon dish. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t taste very good when consumed straight up.
Are liquors any different? Beyond adding a shot of Jack Daniels or Southern Comfort to your favorite BBQ sauce, many liquors’ flavor profiles are too overpowering for most recipes. Enter Rave Review Original Culinary Spirits, the first line of all natural spirits made specifically for cooking.
Rave Review’s lineup currently consists of blended bourbon, brandy, hops, and rum formulated by a panel of award-winning chefs like Ron Duprat, Bravo’s Season 6 “Top Chef” and Chef Scott Cutaneo on Fox & Friends. One of their biggest findings was that 30% alcohol (60 proof) is ideal for cooking…just enough volatility to carry the aroma and flavors but not so much to overpower with an alcoholic bite.
“We worked to make sure our flavors don’t shift or change as heat is applied to them. This has become one of the crucial differences between our culinary spirits and beverage spirits, though ours are still delicious unheated and can certainly be imbibed straight up,” says Rave Review founder Jim Lindner. “We began with rum, bourbon and brandy since those spirits are the most commonly used in cooking. The hops signify where we want to go in the future focusing more on spices and unique culinary blends.”
When you think about it, alcoholic spirits are really concentrated forms of wine, beer and other alcoholic liquids produced by fermentation. Many assume that alcohol bakes or burns off during the cooking process but the percentage is quite small and depends on how much liquor is used, the temperature, and how long it’s kept at a high temperature. Here are some notes on what to expect from each of these Rave Review cooking spirits:
Well crafted rums bring a tropical flair to any dish but especially in desserts like rum cake and rum balls. In addition to its sweet and spicy flavors, its alcoholic properties dissolve fats while keeping cakes moist and naturally preserved. Rum also makes an excellent marinade in chicken and pork dishes.
Since brandy is distilled from juice or wine, its sweetness makes it an excellent addition to most desserts. It works particularly well with almost any fruit as well as walnuts and pecans. Brandy’s distinct oakiness and hints of orange zest make it delicious with pork and poultry especially when used during deglazing as it picks up the caramelized flavors browned at the bottom of the pan.
Blended Culinary Bourbon
A distinctly American spirit, Bourbon is distilled from a mixture of grains giving it a versatile flavor profile. It can add a bright, sharp sweetness to main dishes and desserts alike. Since bourbon comes from Bourbon County in Kentucky, many of the wonderful dishes made with bourbon are Southern and wonderful when added to a BBQ sauce or a pecan pie. You will find that Rave Review Original Culinary Blended Bourbon adds a slight smokiness and smooth finish with a tinge of vanilla often found in the finest aged bourbons.
Hops are a currently a new concept in cooking….look for new flavor profiles on the horizon! Safe bets right now are seafood, batters, and other recipes that typically call for beer. Since Rave Review’s Culinary Hops are non-carbonated & perfect when you don’t want to add a lot of liquid, 1 tablespoon will infuse your food with earthy hoppiness without overpowering the other ingredients. You also get some great tenderizing properties as well!
Photos courtesy of Rave Review Original Culinary Spirits. Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored tasting.