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Drinks or dessert? Let’s just have both!

We all dream of a world where we can have our cake and eat it too. But if we had to have all the cake we wanted (read: everyday), it wouldn’t fit too well into our plan of living a relatively healthy and balanced life. So what are we then to do when it comes to choosing between dessert or that after-work cosmo? Well, why not just throw it in with the batter!

By Jana du Plessis


Boozy desserts are nothing new. Remember your grandma’s old recipe for brandy tart? But it’s time for them to become a little more elegant and modern. Pretty much any alcohol can be added to a deliciously baked good as long as you don’t add too much and you pair the flavours well. Vodka might be tasty in the form of a ‘melktertjie’ shooter, but adding half a cup to your milk tart won’t have the same drool-worthy effects. Using alcohol in your dessert should subtly complement the sweetness and induce a moist, fudgy crumb in cake and brownies, while creating a whimsy flavour for creamy or custard-like desserts.


To choose your booze, you need to assess the type and flavour of dessert you would like to make. We recommend beer and red wine for anything with cacao. The richness of the chocolate will be elevated by the maltiness of the beer, and need we explain the match of dark chocolate and red wine? We love using beer in cakes and brownies, and sometimes even reduce the beer to add to a sweet, sticky caramel before adding to our baked goods. As for the red wine, perhaps these poached pears will tickle your taste buds?

For creamy desserts like tiramisu or cool desserts like ice cream and granita hard liquors like vodka, rum and liqueurs will create a balance and cut through each cream-filled bite. But do be aware that the alcohol doesn’t freeze well, so don’t add too much to your frozen desserts.


If pouring alcohol straight into your dessert leaves you feeling a little uneasy, start with only adding some to sauces for your puddings. A brandy-spiked caramel for your apple tart, or a rum and raspberry sauce for your ice cream. Then you can also experiment with an Amarula chocolate drizzle or a hazelnut-flavoured whipped cream. Open the bar, let your imagination go and share your creations with us in the comments!

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