You don't have to be a confident cook to incorporate alcohol into your dishes. Chicken and beer work in harmony with this on-the-grill recipe and it's easy to do. After marinading the bird to pack it full of flavour, using a can of ale inside the chicken will tenderise the meat even more.
If you're not a fan of this method, simply take on board the step where ale is added to the sauce to enhance the flavours further.
Beer works well in so many dishes, not necessarily just meat-based ones. Rustle up some onion rings in beer batter to go alongside your chicken - the bubbles will create an extra light coating. With a cooking time of only ten minutes, these could be enjoyed as part of a meal or as a movie-night snack.
More beer based recipes:
Beer and mushroom cobbler
Beer battered halloumi
Message in a bottle
Spirits can be used in recipes too. This creamy vodka and tomato pasta is a good place to start. It's basically Bloody Mary in food form, with great hits of rosemary, cheese and pancetta giving the dish depth.
Vodka works well with fish too and this swordfish confit is a perfect dinner-party dish. It's added to the sauce, drizzled over it and along with the lemon helps bring the whole meal together. Any white fish will work, so swap for cod or haddock if it'se more to your taste. You want to go for one which doesn't have an overpowering taste so the vodka-based sauce complements it.
You can make puddings extra indulgent by adding alcohol as well. These tipsy blueberry and mascarpone pots are a light treat best served after a heavy dinner. Thanks to the vodka, there's no need to serve up a shot on the side. Or you could swap the vodka for gin to create a whole new taste.
Gin lovers should also try this gin and tonic granita. Not only is it a sweet end to your meal but the sharp, dry edge of the alcohol and mixer makes it great a palette cleanser. This option sees an apple caramel concoction drizzled on top, but you can opt for whatever you or your guests prefer - raspberry coulis, passion fruit drizzle or fresh strawberry: the choices are endless.
More recipes with vodka:
Chicken liver and pomegranate salad with vodka dressing
Pass the sherry
Even if you're not a fan of sherry as a drink, it can be a handy ingredient in many dishes, both sweet and savoury. Chef Angela Hartnett uses it to enhance her garlicky king prawn dish, and it's also a feature of this delicious Spanish-style clam recipe – which takes just a few minutes to cook. It's also the signature ingredient in a traditional sherry trifle.
If you more of a rum fan, why not have a look at this boozy tropical rum baba trifle, which has influences from Britain, France and the Caribbean. Rum is also a feature in this warming egg nog recipe – there's no better way to keep out the cold in winter!
More boozy puddings:
Chocolate panna cotta
Berry muffin trifle