Cooking With Wine

Cooking with Wine


Real talk, after a long day, pretty much all of us can get down with a nice glass of wine to unwind. But have you ever considered taking that delicious red or white and using it to ramp up your home cooking game?

Listen, cooking with wine is one of those genius little hacks that can turn a so-so meal into an absolute flavour magic! We’re talking rich beef stews with deep, winey notes. Light seafood dishes with a bright, citrusy kick. Even desserts that get a touch of elegant booziness.

All it takes is a simple splash or glug here and there, and suddenly you’ve got layers of new flavours. It’s like giving your tastebuds an upgrade to first class.

So pour yourself a glass (for sipping or cooking – I don’t judge!) and get ready to master cooking with wine. 

This comprehensive guide has all the tips, tricks, and mouth-watering recipes you need to unlock a whole new level of deliciousness in your kitchen. Your inner gourmet chef is about to be unleashed🧑‍🍳!

But, let us get this question out of the way first;

Can Cooking With Wine Get You Drunk?

Cooking with wine is a beloved technique that adds depth, complexity, and richness to dishes. However, a common concern among most of us is whether the alcohol content in wine can actually make us tipsy or drunk while cooking. Let’s address this worry with a light-hearted, conversational tone, shall we?

The Truth About Getting Buzzed from Cooking with Wine

Look, we’ve all been there – you’re sautéing some mushrooms in a small amount of white wine, and the aroma fills the kitchen. It’s heavenly, but then you start wondering, “Am I accidentally getting a little buzz from all this wine?”

Here’s the deal, unless you’re literally drinking the wine straight from the bottle while cooking, you don’t have to worry about catching a serious vibe. The alcohol in wine tends to evaporate or cook off during the cooking process, especially if you’re simmering, braising, or baking with it. So while your food might taste like it’s been kissed by the wine gods, you’ll stay as sober as a judge.

That said, if you’re doing something like a quick pan sauce or a fresh seafood dish with just a splash of wine added at the end, there could be a tiny bit of residual alcohol left behind. But we’re talking such a minuscule amount that you’d have to eat an ungodly portion to even notice a slight buzz. And at that point, you’ve got bigger problems than worrying about the wine🤭!

Why Cook with Wines?

You know how sometimes a dish can be good, but it’s just missing that little something extra? That’s where cooking with wine comes in. It could be you are working with a rich red or a crisp white, whichever choice you go with, wines pack a serious flavour punch that can take your meal from okay to out-of-this-world delicious.

Think about it – wines have all these amazing complex flavours going on from the grapes and fermentation process. You get acidity that brightens things up, sweetness that rounds out harsh edges, and an intense depth of flavour that makes your taste buds sing😋. When you introduce wine into a dish, it’s like a flavour explosion, ramping up the natural tastes of your ingredients.

But wines don’t only just make things taste better – they can also work some straight-up magic in the kitchen. Tossing some red wine into a beef stew helps tenderize that meat until it’s fall-off-the-bone perfection. Deglazing a pan with a white wine after sautéing gives you an instant sauce bursting with flavour. It’s like the wines unlock all these meta flavours you didn’t even know were hiding in your food!

Choosing the Right Wine

The key to successful wine-infused cooking lies in choosing the right wine for your dish. Here are some basic guidelines to help you select the perfect wine to cook with:

a) For red meat dishes: Opt for robust red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Syrah.

b) For white meat and seafood dishes: Choose lighter white wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Grigio.

c) For sauces and desserts: Sweet wines like Port or Sherry add depth and richness to sauces and desserts.


Now that you’ve selected your wine, it’s time to explore some essential cooking with wine techniques:

a) Deglazing: After sautéing meat or vegetables, deglaze the pan with wine to lift the flavourful browned bits and create a delicious sauce.

b) Marinating: Marinate meats, poultry, or seafood in wine to tenderize and infuse them with flavour before cooking.

c) Poaching: Poach fruits in sweet wine to create elegant and refreshing desserts.

Mouth-Watering Recipes to Try

1. Nyama Choma with Red Wine Glaze

Nyama Choma – oh man, just saying those words makes my mouth water😋. This classic Kenyan dish of grilled meat is pretty much heaven on a plate. You’ve got that smoky char from the grill, those perfect seasoning blends dancing across your tongue, and then you dip it all into that lip-smackingly good tangy sauce. Chef’s kiss!

But here’s the thing – as mind-blowingly delicious as Nyama Choma is, I’ve got an idea that might just take it to another stratosphere of flavour. Stay with me here…what if we took that beautiful grilled meat and lacquered it up with a rich, savoury red wine glaze?

Just imagine those deep, luxurious wine flavours clinging to the charred exterior, mingling with the spices in the most crave-worthy way. Each bite would be an explosion of caramelized sear giving way to juicy, wine-soaked tenderness.

And dipping that wine-glazed meat into the tangy sauce? An epic flavour clash that will make your tastebuds go bonkers!

This flavour combo feels too amazing not to try! Here is how.

  • 1 kg of goat or beef meat, cut into chunks
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
For the marinade:
  • 1 cup of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander
  • Juice of 1 lemon
For the red wine glaze:
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade: red wine, minced garlic, grated ginger, paprika, cumin, coriander, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add the chunks of meat to the marinade, making sure they are well coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavours to meld.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Remove the marinated meat from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature while you prepare the glaze.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the red wine, honey, soy sauce, salt, and pepper for the glaze. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and let it cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Thread the marinated meat onto skewers, leaving a little space between each piece to ensure even cooking. Brush the grill grates with vegetable oil to prevent sticking.  Place the skewers of meat on the preheated grill and cook, turning occasionally, until charred and cooked to your desired level of doneness. This is where we eat at least a piece of meat in the of “kuonja kama imeiva”😄
  6. During the last few minutes of grilling, brush the meat with the red wine glaze, allowing it to caramelize and form a delicious crust.
  7. Once the meat is cooked to your liking and the glaze is caramelized, remove the skewers from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.

Serve the Nyama Choma with extra red wine glaze on the side for dipping, along with your favourite Kenyan side dishes like ugali, sukuma wiki, and kachumbari.

2. Coconut Fish Curry

Let’s talk about coconut fish curry for a second. This dish is straight-up flavour fireworks that’ll have you shamelessly licking your fingers clean.

We’re talking fresh fish simmered in a velvety coconut sauce that’s been jazzed up with some white wine and a killer blend of spices and herbs. Every bite is an exotic vacay for your tastebuds – bright citrusy notes, a gentle heat, and that unmistakable coconut richness.

Whether you’re doing a cozy weekend dinner or going all-out for a special occasion, this curry dish delivers the goods. It’s impressive enough for guests, but also super easy to whip up for yourself on a random Tuesday when you need some flavour fireworks.

One spoonful and you’ll be hooked – the coconut fish curry is downright delicious. Just try not to slurp it straight from the pot in front of the company. No judgment if you do, though😉! 

Here is how to prepare it.

  • 500g of fresh fish fillets (such as tilapia), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 green chilli, chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 400ml of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves, for garnish
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the minced garlic, grated ginger, and chopped green chilli (if using), and cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and chilli powder to the skillet, and cook for 1 minute to toast the spices and release their flavours.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk and white wine, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
  5. Carefully add the fish pieces to the simmering sauce, ensuring they are submerged. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cover the skillet or pan with a lid and let the fish cook in the sauce for 8-10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
  7. Once the fish is cooked, remove the skillet from the heat. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  8. Garnish the coconut fish curry with fresh coriander leaves before serving.

Serve the coconut fish curry hot with cooked rice or warm ugali.

3. Pineapple and Rum Cake

This pineapple and rum cake is a tropical vacation for your tastebuds. We’re talking sweet, tangy pineapple flavour that gets all dressed up in a buttery rum glaze. It’s like sipping a piña colada but in decadent dessert form.

Look, I know there are about a million cakes out there vying for your attention. But this beauty deserves a spot on your must-try list. The pineapple keeps it light and refreshing, while the rum adds this rich, indulgent note that makes every bite feel like a little celebration.

Do you need something to put a smile on your face? Try a slice of this cake! It’s a dessert that whispers “treat yourself” in the most irresistible way.

So do yourself a favour and experience the tropics in dessert form at least once in your life. Just try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting – it’s that good 🥮!

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup diced pineapple (fresh or canned, drained)
  • 2 tablespoons rum (for soaking the cake)

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan or line it with parchment paper for easy removal.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the rum and pineapple juice. Mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
  4. Gently fold in the diced pineapple until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  7. While the cake is still warm, use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes all over the top of the cake. Drizzle the 2 tablespoons of rum over the cake, allowing it to soak in.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before removing it and transferring it to a serving plate.

Serve slices of the Pineapple and Rum Cake with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a truly unforgettable treat🥮.


As you can see, cooking with wine isn’t just for fancy chefs – it’s a simple way to add rich, nuanced flavours to your home cooking. Once you get the hang of deglazing, marinating, poaching and finding unexpected wine-and-food pairings, a whole new level of deliciousness awaits. 

Who knows, you might just become the chef extraordinaire among your friends. Or at the very least, you will have a great excuse to keep plenty of wine on hand for cooking…and sipping 🍷. Just remember to always make enough to share because these wine-inspired dishes are too good to keep to yourself😋.

Remember these tips, tricks, and mouth-watering recipes and don’t be afraid to explore new flavours and techniques to find what works best for you and your palate. 

How to Order from Us

At Jays Wines, we bring you a wide range of wines. Explore the different options of dry red and white wines on our website and place your order here. We shall promptly deliver them to you.

Alternatively, Call or WhatsApp us at 0705570066 for inquiries or to place a direct order.

We are located along Biashara Street and Accra Road within Nairobi CBD. 

Raise a glass and let the magic of wine-infused cooking inspire your next food adventure!

Happy cooking!


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