Look in the cabinet above my stove, and you might think the husband and I have a wee drinking problem.

Not so. Those bottles of liquors and liqueurs are for mixing bowls … not martini glasses.

From anisette to tequila, brandy to Grand Marnier, the spirits add depth and flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike. Here, the five I turn to again and again:

1. Anisette: This licorice-flavored liqueur adds a velvet finish to braised fennel, oyster stews and Yotam Ottolenghi’s chicken with oranges. I’ve used both Hiram Walker and Meletti brands to great success (and much less expense than pernod).

2. Tequila: Use this potent liquor as a marinade for pork or pineapple. Paired with brown sugar and your choice of spices, it does both sweet and savory duty with equal aplomb.

3. Brandy: I reach for my bottle of VSOP when sauteing mushrooms, making gravy or whipping up apple cakes and breads. It’s versatile (I use it whenever recipes call for bourbon or rum); it deepens earthy flavors and lends a dusky heat to finished dishes.

4. Limoncello: Okay, this one I nip from every now and again. But I also use this lemony aperitif to macerate berries and to drizzle on pound cake. (Plus, it reminds me of the anniversary trip my husband and I took to Florence last spring.)

520151209_142850 (1). Grand Marnier: This orange-flavored cognac is a baker’s dream. Less sweet than its Cointreau and triple sec cousins, it lends a boozy, fruity depth to cookies and cakes. It’s a perfect foil for bittersweet chocolate, as in these biscotti. Stock up, and … Salut!

Chocolate-Grand Marnier Biscotti (Bon Appetit)

Whisk together:

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
  • ¾ cup sugar

To the creamed mixture, add:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat just until incorporated. Add:

  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Gather the dough into two balls. Wrap in plastic and freeze for 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Using floured hands, shape the dough balls into two 14-inch, 2 ½-inch-high logs. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until slightly browned.

Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Remove the logs from your baking sheet. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into ½-inch slices. Place the slices back on your lined baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes, until dried and slightly colored.

 

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