Boozy Bests: Ways to use alcohol in cooking seafood
Alcohol has amazing capabilities in cocktails (of course) but it is truly magical in cuisine. Thanks to the boozy chemical properties, alcohol can transform ingredients and elevate flavor to a whole new level.
Here, we’ll guide you on how to use booze to enhance seafood. And describe the tipsy properties that make for a perfect culinary pairing.
Bourbon whiskey is a golden hued liquor with roots deep in Americana (all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon, special to the good ole US of A). Oak aging is the name of the game, giving bourbon it’s signature color as well as imparting caramel, baking spice and vanilla notes. Perfect for seafood that has a ‘buttery’ mouthfeel, matching it’s richness with slight sweetness.
Creamy sauces, buttery glazes and BBQ marinades.
Seafood + Whiskey:
Lobster (recipe: Lobster in Bourbon Flavored Butter Sauce by NYT Cooking)
Salmon (recipe: Grilled Whiskey Glazed Cedar Plank Salmon by Simply Scratch)
Scallops (recipe: Scallops with Mushroom Whiskey Sauce by Food & Wine)
Tequila is a bright, vibrant and tangy liquor made from the core (or pina) of the blue agave plant. The core is roasted and crushed, extracting the juice, which is then fermented. The un-aged tequila is the clear blanco, or, aka. silver. The longer the tequila ages in wood barrels the deeper the flavor and color becomes. Mezcal, a very popular type of tequila, imparts a nice smoky flavor.
Marinades, fresh salsas and glazes.
Seafood + Tequila:
Shrimp (recipe: Tequila Lime Shrimp by The Lemon Bowl)
Mussels (recipe: Mussels with Tomatoes, Jalapeño and Tequila by Bon Appetit)
Mahi Mahi (recipe: Tequila-Lime Mahi Mahi Tacos by Epicurious)
Contrary to popular belief, not all vodkas are made using taters. Today, most vodka is made using fermented grains (corn, rice, rye, wheat or sorghum) giving a variety of flavors; spice, citrus, pepper and cream. These tasty notes are ideal for leaner seafood options. Vodka is also a secret cheffy ingredient for getting extra crispy fried seafood.
Rich sauces, grilling marinades and frying.
Seafood + Vodka:
Crab (recipe: Homemade Vodka Sauce with Crabmeat by Jeanie & Lulu’s Kitchen)
Tilapia (recipe: Grilled Chile Vodka Fish Tacos by Cake & Knife)
Softshell Crabs (recipe: Crispy Soft Shell Crabs by Zagat)
Rum is not just for cakes and pies, it is spectacular in savory recipes as well! Made by distilling cane sugar (or molasses), giving notes of caramel, ginger and spice. Perfect for fish and shellfish that stand up to a little flame and fire.
Grilling, glazing and finger-licking-sticky sauces.
Seafood + Rum:
Snapper (recipe: BBQ Snapper with Rum by Kroger)
Tuna (recipe: Grilled Tuna with Lime and Rum by Banyan Branches)
Scallops (recipe: Seared Scallops with Orange Rum Sauce by Ciao Florentina)
You have the Booze now get the Seafood
All of the seafood listed in this article is available at our online store. When you’re getting creative in the kitchen, there’s no time to waste! As we say, ‘from shore to door, 3 days fresher than the grocery store’-all of our seafood is delivered right to your door when you schedule it, guaranteed!
About the author
Patterson Watkins is a professional chef with over 17 years of experience. With a robust career in restaurants, contract dining and catering (including 4 Summer Olympic posts preparing food for the athletes!) Patterson joined the Cameron's Seafood team at the end of 2018 to concoct some delicious recipes with our premium seafood items as the centerpiece.