Call me as ‘basic’ as they come, but when someone asks me about my go-to drink, it’s never going to be whiskey. Or, any hard liquor for that matter.
Sure, there was a time in my teens (sorry mom and dad!) and 20’s where I tried to be way cooler than I really am by declaring bourbon as my drink of choice. Mostly, because out of all the hard liquors, bourbon was the only spirit that didn’t send me into dry heaves just from smelling it. So, when we would hit the bar scene, I’d oh-so-casually ask for a glass of bourbon on ice, maybe even a double if I was looking to really hate myself in the morning. From there on out, I’d pretend I enjoyed the burn of charred oak mixed with rubbing alcohol. I’d sip it and hope my friends couldn’t see me shudder as my throat tried to reject the toxic fire water from entering my body.
Now that I’m older, and much more secure with myself and my quirks, I can freely admit that I’m not that into alcohol. I mean, it’s fun to have a glass of wine with friends. And, I’m all for experimenting with different flavors at a local winery or brewery. But my interest in alcohol is 50% social and 50% educational. To me, it’s a tool for bonding with friends and making new experiences. For instance, at the end of a hard day at work, my first instinct is not to reach for the nearest bottle of wine or beer to comfort me. No, that’s what cheesecake is for.
So it’s been fairly recent that I’ve been testing different kinds of alcohols in my food recipes. Since my husband is a whiskey lover, I can always count on a bottle being available in the house for my recipe testing. In fact, as I developed this recipe, I encountered not one, but THREE bottles. Two in the liquor cabinet and one special edition (a.k.a. three times more expensive) bottle in the freezer. FYI: since I was not sure how this recipe would turn out, I definitely did not use the priciest bottle.
I will admit to cheating a little bit on this recipe. I’m all for making things as natural and true-to-homemade as possible. But to be honest, sometimes I’m also a sensible lady who works a lot and appreciates a good short cut. When I started developing this recipe, I had plans to create my own custom steak seasoning. It doesn’t sound super hard from what I’ve researched on the internet, but can be a little costly if you don’t have all the spices on hand already.
And that’s when I saw it. A jar of steak seasoning in the pantry that was produced by the very same company that produces my husband’s favorite whiskey. He purchased it when he went south for his bachelor party and visited their very famous distillery. To me, it was kismet. So yes, I cheated and the steak seasoning was pre-made, but I think this recipe would be just as mouth-watering with a homemade version if you’re 100% devoted to making everything from scratch.
The end result is a super tender steak with an initial tang from the vinegar that blends into a subtle oak finish. The garlic and steak seasoning are not necessarily obvious, but do seem to complement the vinegar and whiskey to create multidimensional flavor.
In other words, I think I’ve found the only way I’ll probably ever like whiskey!
Whiskey and Balsamic Vinegar Marinade
(marinates two steaks)
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup whiskey
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
Combine ingredients into a container and add steak. Coat the steak thoroughly.
Marinate for at least one hour. Preferably, marinate overnight.
Remove from marinade and cook steak to desired ‘doneness.’