Desserts With Liquors


The combination of dessert and liquor has been used throughout culinary history to add warmth and flavor depth. The liquors used in desserts are smooth, with fruity undertones, for instance, brandy or coffee-flavored liqueurs, which can complement an array of flavors, such as cream or chocolate. It isn't necessary to purchase the most expensive liquor for the desserts, but the taste should be pleasant. Whether prepared simply or extravagantly, desserts that feature liquors offer a unique finish for adult dinner parties.


  • Flambe is a French culinary term that means flaming or flamed. To produce a flambe, liquor is poured over a dessert, and then set on fire with a long match. The fire goes out within 30 seconds, and produces an exciting display before it is served. The combination of flambeed sugar and liquor has a complex flavor. Cherries Jubilee is a common flambe, which is a combination of fresh cherries with flambeed brandy. Bananas Foster is an American dessert that features bananas served with flambeed brown sugar, butter and rum.

Ice Cream

  • Liquor served over ice cream creates a simple, creamy dessert that adds warmth to ice cream. Fruits such as berries or raisins can be marinated in liquor overnight, then poured on top of ice cream. Rum raisin ice cream features raisins that have been plumped in rum overnight. The raisins are drained, then placed on top of ice cream. Liquors such as coffee liqueurs can be poured straight over a bowl of ice cream, as well.


  • Compote consists of pieces of fruit that are served with a sugar syrup. Not all compotes feature liquor, but liquor is often added to the sugar syrup. Dried fruits can also be plumped in liquor before they are cooked. To make a compote, mix desired fruits with a 1/2 cup of rum or an orange liqueur and a 1/2 cup of juice from the fruit, and heat over the stove until the fruit is warm. This mixture can be served on top of ice cream or cake.


  • Liquors are often added as the last step to cream or fruit sauces that are served over ice cream or cakes. Made with fresh ingredients, these sauces provide extra warmth to desserts. Bourbon and brandy are common liquors made into dessert sauces.

Jamican Rum Cakes

  • Jamaican rum cakes are made with fruits that have been marinated in dark rum for up to three weeks. The cake is a traditional Jamaican holiday cake, and can be glazed in rum or wine to keep the cake moist.

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  • "Delectable Desserts"; Wendy Louise; 2009
  • "All-American Desserts"; Judith M. Fertig; 2003
  • Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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