One of my favorite meals is an oil pasta with sundried tomato, pork belly, and broccoli. When I make it, I put a cap or two of scotch after adding the tomatoes and it really makes it shine.

I'm preparing this in advance and wondering if there was anything wrong with letting tomatoes sit in alcohol for an extended period? There's some magic involved with tomato and alcohol, but I've only ever done it while cooking, not letting it sit.

  • Wrong in what way? It is certainly safe, particularly if refrigerated.
    – moscafj
    Sep 15, 2017 at 23:36
  • @moscafj my understanding is the ethanol breaks down some parts of tomato and releases other flavors. It makes me think too much exposure to ethanol might ruin it.
    – gator
    Sep 16, 2017 at 2:16
  • 1
    Just to be sure, you are talking about drinking alcohol, not some sort of industrial ethanol? Just because industrial stuff often contains additives which are harmful.
    – GdD
    Sep 16, 2017 at 21:46
  • I'm aware; sorry, I figured it was interchangeable in that context.
    – gator
    Sep 17, 2017 at 2:18

1 Answer 1


There are certain flavor components of foods that are more or less soluble in various liquids. It turns out that some of the flavor components of tomatoes are, indeed, soluble in alcohol. That is the genesis of recipes that add a small amount of vodka to tomato sauce. Vodka is flavorless, the alcohol evaporates, and you are left with a more intense sauce. I suspect that is what you are experiencing, though you may enjoy the added flavor that the scotch contributes. I don't think that soaking the tomatoes will increase the intensity. In fact, you might lose these soluble flavor components to the alcohol. In other words, you will make tomato flavored scotch. Perhaps not what you want, and these tomato flavors may get lost in the already strong flavors present in scotch. But, I could see value in tomato flavored vodka, for example. For your recipe, I would maintain your current practice of adding the alcohol to the dish as you prepare it.

  • I understood from the OP's question that the whole recipe would be prepared in advance - so whether the flavor is in the tomatoes or the scotch after the extended soak might make less difference if both are going into the sauce.
    – Megha
    Sep 16, 2017 at 22:06
  • Perhaps, if one were using the exact amount of alcohol and tomato that went into the recipe. The question then becomes: does a longer soak release and enhance more of the desirable flavors? I don't know the answer, but the OP could do a simple test by altering the soaking times and keeping everything else the same.
    – moscafj
    Sep 17, 2017 at 11:44

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