Extend the holiday spirit with a “spirited” dish or two

By Jean Redstone

If your holiday season was most people’s usual, you went to a lunch or dinner or two, hosted a lunch or dinner or two, and attended a lively or a so-so party or two. If you’re like my friends and myself, you will likely have had a cocktail and it will have had whiskey in it.

I have had whiskey both neat and as one of several cocktail ingredients and always enjoyed the taste. But that’s all I ever did concerning whiskey – drink it. Now, apparently, I missed a whole other thing whiskey is good for.

You can EAT it!  Who knew? OK. Lots of people knew and know, but it didn’t come to my attention. I became a wine drinker and dropped my whiskey ways.

But not only can you eat whiskey, it turns out there are several types of the liquor. I have heard of bourbon and rye, of course, but assumed they were local names for whiskey, not that they had their own unique tastes.

So, to make sure you do not skip knowing you can cook with whiskey, rye or bourbon, just as you can with wine, red, white or bubbly, here are three recipes to try. Appetizer to dessert, each features one type of whiskey and is a sure way to carry the holiday spirit forward all the way to Valentine’s dinner for your sweetie(s).


Appetizer or entree, this easy recipe pleases

1 lb. raw shrimp

4 Tbsp rye whiskey

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 Tbsp Caribbean jerk seasoning

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp black Pepper

In a medium bowl, place shrimp, jerk seasoning, rye whiskey, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix together and let sit for 20 minutes to marinate. Add olive oil to a saute pan and heat on medium. Add butter to the pan and cook until butter is almost melted. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Makes about 4 to 6 servings depending on shrimp size.


Whiskey adds savory flavor to seared steak

4 steaks, sliced (1-inch thick)

1 Tbls black peppercorns, coarsely crushed

2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1⁄2 tsp kosher salt or a sea salt

for the Whiskey Sauce

1⁄4 lb. unsalted butter

2 Tbls chopped onions

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 Tbls whiskey

1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce

1⁄2 tsp dry mustard

dash Tabasco sauce, if desired (will up the heat)

Trim excess fat from the steaks. Press the crushed peppercorns and chopped garlic onto both sides of the steak and let it stand at room temperature one hour. Heat a heavy iron skillet over high heat. When hot, grease the skillet with a piece of the fat trimmed from the steak. Toss in about half the salt.

Sear the steaks quickly on one side, then lift out. Add the remaining salt to the skillet, turn the steak and sear the other side. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook the steaks to desired doneness. Remove to a warmed platter.

To make the sauce, pour off fat from the skillet. Melt the butter in the skillet over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly until soft, stirring often. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour over the steaks and serve. Makes dinner for 4.


Unusual pairing pairs well with any occasion

20 Kraft caramel squares or 1 C caramel bites

2 Tbls milk

1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 C light brown sugar, packed

3/4 C granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 oz. bourbon

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 C all-purpose Flour

21/4 C quick oats

2 tsp salt, divided

1 tsp baking soda

1 C chocolate chips.

Place caramels and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium/high in 20 second increments, stirring each time. Watch closely, caramel will be very hot and can burn easily. Once milk and caramel are blended, stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Let the mixture cool.

Soften the butter in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Combine the softened butter with the brown and the granulated sugar. Beat at medium speed until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and bourbon. Continue beating until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, remaining salt and baking soda. Stir to combine and slowly add the dry ingredients to the dough, mixing on low speed until dough starts to stick and form. Before the dough thickens, add the chocolate chips. Beat a couple of times to mix them into the dough.

Once the caramel-milk is melted, smooth, and cooled, add to cookie dough. Beat just until combined. Scoop the dough using a large or small cookie scoop and place on a lined (with parchment or silicone sheet) baking pan. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Remove each batch 10-15 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Bake for 11-13 minutes. The center of the cookie should be slightly under-baked but not too soft. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Makes 2 to 3+ dozen, depending on cookie size.

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Swedesboro NJ
June 30, 2022, 1:00 am
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
real feel: 70°F