Food & Drink

5 Ways to Make Boozy Pizza

Pizza and booze go together like a slice of carbo-loaded heaven, but some red sauce engineers have taken it upon themselves to push the pairing even further, fusing the food and drink into one indulgent, cheesy, alcoholic liger. Think of it as the natural evolution of vodka sauce.

Back in 2012, Boston mini-chain Salvatore’s blew up the pizza scene with its “21-plus pizza,” which was so enticing at the time that even Anderson Cooper had to get a slice. Salvatore’s offered three different takes on the spiked pizza: Vignola Cherry Pizza topped with raspberry vodka-soaked cherries, the Drunken Pig made with Kahlua-marinated pork, and the Calabria Peach made with rum-infused peaches. More recently, Bodega Negra in New York put out a luxe rendition infused with three expensive tequilas, and topped with caviar, black truffles, lobster and edible platinum, that cost $500. Even Pizza Hut has toyed with beer-infused dough.

While you can still find boozy pies popping up at pizza parlors for special occasions or social media-grabbing limited offers, it’s easier to just whip up your own booze infused pizza at home.

Basic Vodka Pizza

We like Serious Eats’ recipe for a basic vodka-spiked pizza. Just begin the sauce as you normally would by sauteing onions, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes and any other aromatics in a pan until fragrant. Add tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes, then add cream and/or butter and boil for another 20. Then add your vodka, cook for 7-10 minutes more, and proceed with your pie, spreading the sauce on thick.

Fireball and Bourbon and Liqueur Pies (Oh My!)

Why stop at vodka when you can infuse your sauce with all sorts of spirits. La Fourno Ristorante in Philadelphia became famous for their own short-lived boozy pizza series that started with a Fireball-infused pie. The restaurant also added Grand Marnier to their sauce for a Citrus Tomato Pie and Evan Williams to their Seafood Tomato Pie. You can experiment by adding any liquor your heart desires to the sauce, like the triple tequilas in Bodega Negra’s pizza. Results are not guaranteed, though, so maybe hold off on that Jäger pizza. The world just isn’t ready yet.

Blue Hawaiian Pizza

The Drunken Pig at Salvatore’s combined Kahlua-marinated braised pork with ricotta, caramelized apples, mozzarella and spicy honey. While that particular combo of toppings does sound appealing, you can make your own boozy take on Hawaiian pizza with your choice of pig product marinated and/or braised in liquor (it’s up to you whether you stick with Salvatore’s Kahlua or try something else like pineapple rum or even añejo tequila for an al pastor-tinged pie). The same goes for soaking your pineapple slices, which could even be added just before serving for an extra boozy hit.

Beer-Bellied Pizza

Swapping the water in pizza dough for beer creates a particularly yeasty pizza crust. Mark Bello of New York’s Pizza a Casa Pizza School created this recipe for Sam Adams-infused dough, in which warm beer is mixed with the usual flour, yeast, salt and olive oil. The only real trick, Bello says—beyond working on your kneading technique—is choosing a beer that won’t disrupt the pH balance of the dough too much. This could require a bit of trial and error, but you won’t hear us complaining about eating slice after slice of experimental beer ‘za.

Flaming Pizza

Over in Mumbai, India, a parlor called Pizza By the Bay has taken to finishing their pizzas with a glaze of flaming Old Monk rum, a favored tipple in the country. Carefully ignite a small amount of your chosen boozy fuel in a ladle and drizzle it over a finished pie. Make sure to go easy on the flaming topping; there’s a line between crispy dough and a big round burnt cracker.