Here’s How to Add a Little Booze to Your Holiday Baking

Warm up with some boozy desserts this holiday season
Boozy Cupcakes

The proprietors of Prohibition Bakery give their advice for adding alcohol to your baked goods

Here’s How to Add a Little Booze to Your Holiday Baking


These chocolate cupcakes are enhanced with the addition of bourbon to the batter.

Let’s be honest, some of our favorite winter-time cocktails already taste like dessert, so why not brighten your spirits by turning that hot buttered rum or white Russian into a delicious baked good?

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From bourbon to vodka, you can make the most out of your bar cart by parking it right next your mixing bowl. You can use recipes that already incorporate alcohol so you get the measurements just right, like this recipe for Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie or this one for a saucy pumpkin cupcake. You can even freely add in a splash here and there to otherwise non-alcoholic recipes.

However, if you are looking to add a hint of something stronger than sugar to this season’s baked goods, there are a few things you should know about baking with booze, so we asked Leslie Feinberg, co-owner of Prohibition Bakery in New York City, which is famous for their alcohol-augmented cupcakes to give us some tips for how to successfully add booze to your baked goods:

  1. Booze can make a great flavoring, but if you want your baked goods to be high-proof, make sure to add it after baking so it doesn't bake off. Try incorporating alcohol into frostings, ganache, caramel sauces, fruit sauces, and glazes.
  2.  Just because you wouldn't normally drink something, doesn't mean it won't make a delicious addition to your baked goods. For instance, even if you prefer your drinks on the sweet side, you might find that you love a bitters-based frosting. Although you know what you like, don't be afraid to experiment.
  3.  And conversely, your favorite drink does not always translate well into a sweet treat. We have a long running joke about a dry gin martini cupcake, but really some flavors are too subtle and too savory to really be expressed once they're combined with the sugar, flour, etc. necessary to make a delicious baked good.
  4. Much like mixing drinks, and possibly even more so, balance is really important. Some spirits are more flavor-forward than others. Tequila, whiskey, and rum have such strong, distinctive flavors, whereas vodka, gin, and sometimes even beer and wine, can get lost in the mix if you're not careful. If you're baking with less flavor-forward spirits, you'll want to pay close attention to the other flavors you're playing off of. Choose your spirits carefully and really focus on proportions. 

For more tips and recipes, check out the newly released cookbook, Prohibition Bakery.

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Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.

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