Spirits in the kitchen

pete

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Seeing the forum on wine got me thinking. All chefs use wine in their kitchens in abundance, but what about spirits (bourbon, vodka, cognac, etc.)? Im sure you all use them, but I would be interested in your most imaginative or "tried and true" uses for them in your your kitchens. I am very fond of steaming mussels in hard cider and finishing with a little cream, sweet cider, and julienne of apples. Let me know your favorite uses. And dont forget beer!
 
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I use Rum Negrita form Paris Gourmet, it is a spirit extract and mighty powerful. hot buttered rum caramel dessert sauces and jamacan spiced fruit bread are two of the items this cycle.
I just taught my students how to utlize vanilla pods in vodka or burbon for the best vanilla extract you can find.
besides those, try poaching pears in white wine with saffron, very pretty and they don't brown as quickly.
 

nicko

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I used to work at a brewery a few years back and all we did was cook with beer. One of the cooler things I remeber doing was a braised veal breast stuffed with a morel mushroom sausage mix. We sliced it and served it with stout jus. Come to think of it Pete I would of been even better with a smoked stout!
 
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I used to stuff venison tenderloins with a morel mushroom farce flavored with gin and cracked junniper berries. That works well with many game dishes. I love Grand Mariner in a sabayon or souffle base, or Poir William Liquor for the same applications. Don't forget sherry in onion soup or newburgs, or triple sec with fresh fruits. Rum is essential for classics like Banannas Foster or Cognac for Cherries Jubilee. How 'bout Pernod with seafood-based creams or cognac (again) in Lobster Bisque? Bourbon works well in BBQ dishes and Creme de Menthe or Creme de Cocoa on ices? Fruit Schnapps can work very nicely when flavoring the sponge base for Baked Alaska. I must say I like your apple version of mussels.
 
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Try gently poaching mediocre types of ham, or almost any type of sausage (except for hot sausages) in applejack. Last night I poached a duck sausage this way and it was wonderful.
 

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