Unless you've raised Doogie Howser, your child's college graduation marks the jump from childhood to adulthood, and it's the perfect opportunity to add some tasty liquor to your upcoming celebration.
We always think of 21 as that year when kids let loose on the waves of libation liberation. But it also marks a whole new world of celebration opportunities. Graduation parties are no longer limited to hot dogs, hamburgers, and coolers fill of soda. They can now have a boozy twist -- one that is best served in the food. We wouldn't dare suggest everyone drink 'til they pass out; instead, this year's college graduation shindig can use alcohol in a more mature way, digging into delectable eats while ushering the grad from red plastic cups of beer to cocktails and maturity.
As delicious as alcohol is when it's well-prepared and served in a glass, it's equally tasty in a number of foods that can celebrate flavor without an ever-rising blood-alcohol level. To get you started, here are some great eats that thrive on a little libation:
Instead of a frosting-laden monstrosity from the store, whip up a simple rum cake. It's nothing more than a simple cake that's baked and then soaked in a rum glaze. Just be sure to use a good-tasting rum. Skimping on the liquor will leave you with a cheap-tasting cake.
Brown Sugar and Bourbon Ribs
Lots of graduation celebrations take place outside, so put the bourbon to work with roast ribs that are finished on the barbecue. These babies are grilled 'til sticky and served with some extra sauce on top.
Beer-Brined Grilled Turkey Wings
On the same track, add poultry to the mix with Emeril's brined turkey, which gets amped up with 2 12-ounce beers -- what kind is up to you. (As an added taste of bourbon, the wings are topped with a Bourbon BBQ Sauce.)
Penne with Vodka Sauce
A pretty simple recipe from an old favorite, Giada's sauce is just a simple tomato sauce boiled with vodka and then perked up with some heavy cream and grated parmesan. Super simple and super tasty.
You may have noticed artisanal truffles gaining popularity. Here's the secret: they're super easy to make! A quick chocolate mixture is melted up, mixed with alcohol, and cooled in the refrigerator. When firm, they're simply rolled and re-chilled. Any number of liquors will do the trick -- Grand Marnier, kirsch, Kahlua, cognac, you name it.
Amaretto Almond Carrots
As a simple side, carrots are sliced, simmered, topped with amaretto and seasoning, and then simmered until tender.
Italian Cheeses, Sliced Gennel, and Citrus Rings with Brandy
Super-easy for the party situation, Rachel Ray gives a cheese plate a kid with sliced oranges doused in brandy. The alcohol quotient can be increased by hitting your local cheesemonger and finding cheeses with wine, vodka, and other libations.
Tequila Lime Chicken Brochettes
A quick marinade with tequila and lime is all this chicken needs. After cut into strips, the bird is marinated, grilled, and topped with cooked marinade.