20 boozy recipes

When we talk about cooking with alcohol, we’re not referring to having one hand free for your glass of red. (Although it’s not a sin to consume one or two glasses of wine while cooking – in fact, it’s mandatory.) With the beginning of autumn upon us, we could all do with a little kick to warm the belly. We’ve come up with a list of boozy recipes to help deal with those half-empty bottles ­– the ghosts of parties past – and even a gin-and-tonic that you can actually eat. (If the kids are going to be sharing the meal, or if you don’t partake, then don’t feel left out. There are substitutions available.)


Milk stout and chocolate cake with butterscotch sauce, caramel chocolate shards and dark chocolate icing

Milk stout and chocolate cake with butterscotch sauce, caramel chocolate shards and dark chocolate icing

Beer cake
This cake is yeasty and malty with the rich texture of pound cake. (And it gets full marks for combining two of our favourite ingredients – beer and cake ¬– in one dessert.)

Milk stout and chocolate cake with butterscotch sauce, caramel chocolate shards and dark chocolate icing
This cake pulls out all the stops. You can also use non-alcoholic beer – it’s still mind-blowing.

Brandy and cognac

Bread and butter pudding
This is an old classic given the ‘Italian-deli-just-around-the-corner’ treatment, with pannetone and a splash of brandy.

Cognac truffles
Easy to make but always impressive, these truffles look and taste wonderful. They make perfect parting gifts, too.

Fresh strawberries with chocolate dip
Try this is a slightly wicked chocolate dip for a speedy dessert. (Replace the strawberries with seasonal fruit.)

Cognac truffles

Cognac truffles

Hard tack

G&T dessert
The classic British drink evolves into dessert, but this one doesn’t need a trained barman.

Grown-up jelly and mango quarters
Calling for freshly squeezed orange juice, a dash of Campari or vodka, pineapple and thyme, this is a fun dessert for adults.

Glow in the dark jellies
You’ll need a UV lamp to light these vodka-laden babies up to full effect.


This is a simple but delicious dessert that acts as a stylish end to a fancy dinner party. Use a good quality vanilla ice cream and your favourite coffee.

Boozy nougat and nut ice cream
All self-respecting Americans seem to eat their ice cream out of a tub. And while we’re not suggesting you shouldn’t, we thought you might like to make your own ultra delectable, seriously simple, TV-star version. And, of course, any person making their own ice-cream will add some liqueur to the recipe.

Chocolate mousse with macerated strawberries
Using orange-flavoured brandy liqueur, this sweet treat combines the richness of chocolate mousse with the fruity tang of strawberries. The whole fruit pieces make for a great booze-soaked punch.

Fruit lattice tartlets
Replace the summer berries with apples and pears for an autumnal tart with a pretty lid of woven pastry.

Rump steak with an Amarula and mushroom sauce

Rump steak with an Amarula and mushroom sauce

Rump steak with an Amarula and mushroom sauce
A boozy, creamy mushroom sauce tops off this steak dish beautifully. It may sound like an odd combination, but this recipe took home the honours in the Amarula Heritage Day competition a few years ago.

Red wine

Beef fillet with wild mushrooms and red wine sauce
Impress your guests with this beautiful main to satisfy all meat eaters.

Buttermilk blancmange with red wine, roasted pears and ginger snaps
The flavours of the red-wine-butter and roasted pears really pop when accompanied by these spicy biscuits.

Coq au vin by Valentine Warner
Chicken stew with a boozy, hearty flavour. The recipe was dreamed up by Valentine Warner in his cookbook The Good Table.

Red wine, mushroom and onion puff pastry pie
This rich and hearty pie will fill the house with delectable aromas. Make it on an autumn evening, with the leaves rustling outside and the prospect of a hearty meal to keep you company.

Garlic and chilli prawns with lemon risotto

Garlic and chilli prawns with lemon risotto

Rich braised beef stew
Hearty and warming, this is perfect comfort food. The mushrooms, herbs and bacon give it loads of flavour.

White wine

Cream and white wine mussels with fresh baguette
The aromatic combination of garlic, cream, white wine and seafood is the ideal sauce to soak up with a fresh baguette. A crowd-pleaser for when you’re entertaining.

Garlic and chilli prawns with lemon risotto
Try this zesty risotto with a hint of spice for a light, warming supper. The chillies provide a bit heat to warm you up, and you can wash it all down with a beer if you’re feeling very adventurous.

Vanilla and white wine poached pears
Pears are great for poaching in the start of winter when they’re in season, even in white wine instead of the usual red.

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