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How to flavor whipped cream with brandy and other dark spirits

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This began as a hunt for a garnish to complete the flavor profile of an eggnog panna cotta and an eggnog rice pudding. Neither dessert included the traditional boot of alcohol that is expected with the custard-y, seasonal drink. Whipped cream was the logical topper, but how booze-y? How sweet? Fumes weren’t enough.

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With the darker distilled spirits – rum, whisky, bourbon, brandy, and so on – it turned out that honey was the perfect sweetener. The undertones in the honey brought out the complex palate of each of the distilled spirits in addition to sweetening the cream. A touch of vanilla made it even richer.

This recipe delivers a whipped cream garnish with the solid flavor of the alcoholic beverage and a nice whiff of spirit, plus enough sweetness to bring out both the flavor of the alcohol and the cream. It’s perfect when whipped cream has work to do in a recipe and needs to be more than a fluffy tuft of sweetness.


* (Rum, Brandy, Whisky, Bourbon, Scotch...)

makes about 2/3 cup

  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1-tablespoon of the alcoholic beverage of choice
  • 1-tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

Combine all of the ingredients in a chilled mixing bowl, and whip to the desired degree of stiffness.

To double or triple the recipe:

For each additional 1/3 cup of cream, add 2-teaspoons each of the alcoholic beverage and honey, and 1/8-teaspoon of vanilla.



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