It's a commonly held assumption that when one cooks with wine, beer or liquor, the alcohol "burns off" during the cooking process. This may be something of a culinary myth. The longer you cook a dish, the more the alcohol will dissipate. A meal that bakes or simmers for over two hours may retain only about 5% of the alcohol. However, food that simmers or is sautéed in liquor for 15 minutes can retain as much as 40% of its alcohol content. When spirits are added to boiling sauces and then removed from the heat, as much as 85% of the alcohol remains.

When might you want to be careful about a food's alcohol content? When you are serving people who could be adversely affected, such as children, breastfeeding mothers, recovering alcoholics, or people who avoid drinking for religious or other personal reasons.

Bonus Tip: If you are in training for a sports event or planning to exercise within a few hours, you may want to keep your meal's alcohol content in check.