Add A Little Whiskey To Your Steak Sauce For Deep, Smoky Flavor

With their bold, rich flavors, steak and whiskey so often go together perfectly. From the sweet caramel and vanilla notes of bourbon to the smokiness of single malts, whiskey can work just as well in hearty meat dishes as it does in a glass. And there's no better way to pair the punchy spirit and a robust, savory steak than in a deeply flavorful and delicious sauce.

When it comes to cooking with whiskey, skip the top shelf; there's no need to go for something super-expensive or rare — just cook with something you like to drink. But bear in mind that whiskey is flammable, so take care if cooking over an open flame. And use a little at a time if you're worried about the flavor being overly dominant; you can always add more, but you can't take it away once it's there.

A whiskey steak sauce can be as simple or as complex as you like — and enhanced with all sorts of other ingredients according to taste. You can even use whiskey in a marinade for tougher cuts of steak to help tenderize them before cooking and to infuse them with even more flavor. Or for an instant boost, just drizzle the cooked, rested steaks with homemade whiskey sauce for a rich, boozy, smoky treat for the meat.

Add fruit juice to bourbon for a sweet steak sauce

At its most basic, a whiskey sauce can easily be pulled together by using the booze to deglaze the pan you've cooked the steak in. Let the brown, protein-rich, flavorsome bits melt into the whiskey, then add beef broth and seasoning, and let it reduce before pouring it over the rested steak. But it's also simple enough to elevate a whiskey sauce by using additional liquids, such as fruit juice, to further enhance the flavor and texture.

Whiskey such as bourbon goes especially well with slightly sharper fruit juices, which help to balance out the sweet caramelly richness. Try mixing equal amounts of bourbon and pineapple juice with maple syrup, minced garlic, mustard, and seasoning for a sweet yet tangy sauce that can also be used to baste the steak as you cook it for added caramelization.

Adding apple juice to bourbon with maple syrup, mustard, herbs, and Worcestershire sauce can make a tenderizing marinade for sirloin steak as well as a sauce to serve it with; just reduce the leftover marinade and pour the warm rich sauce over the cooked, rested steak to finish. Or try cooking a steak or other meat like pork tenderloin with blackberry bourbon barbecue sauce. The blended blackberries add a welcome sharp fruitiness to the sweet, sticky, molasses-enhanced boozy sauce.

Mix Scotch whisky with cream for a silky rich sauce

With a smooth woodiness, and flavor profiles varying from slightly sweet to smoky and peaty, Scotch whiskies and single malts lend deep flavors to a steak sauce, which can be softened and enriched with cream. And the combination goes absolutely perfectly with most cuts of steak — whether it's strip, sirloin, rib eye, or tenderloin.

Try adding Scotch whisky and beef or chicken broth to softened diced shallots, garlic, and herbs, and then adding heavy cream to create a thick, silky sauce to pour over steak. Or use the Scotch to deglaze the pan you've cooked the steak in before adding heavy cream, beef broth, and some honey and mustard for a sweet yet tangy variation.

For even more flavor, heat a teaspoon of whole peppercorns with some garlic before adding a little single malt and some heavy cream. It gives a creamy, boozy take on peppercorn sauce, a classic pairing with steak. Or try frying some halved mushrooms in the steak pan to absorb the meaty juices, deglazing it with a blended Scotch whisky, and then reducing it with heavy cream and beef broth for a rich, earthy combo with extra texture from the mushrooms. There are endless variations, and however you use the spirit in your steak sauce, it's a guaranteed treat for whiskey lovers.