Alcohol Cooking Substitutions

Whenever I find a recipe that contains alcohol, I find myself googling the substitutes for it. Guess it’s time for me to jot down my findings for easy reference.

Most of the time, we find the recipe uses white wine. I like this article that explains which type of substitute we should use. Some points I like:

  • Another good substitute for white wine is the use of ginger ale or apple juice.
  • If you are preparing a soup like a hot and sour shrimp soup or a French onion soup then the best white wine substitute in soup would be to use chicken or beef broth. If you are a vegetarian you can also replace white wine with vegetable stock. You cannot use grape juice or ginger ale in these recipes is that will make the soup taste sweet and completely change the flavor.
  • If you are cooking a meat dish that calls for white wine for making a sauce or for marinading the meat then it is best to use a vinegar and grape juice substitute. The vinegar will cut the sugar in the grape juice and if you use this for marinading meat it will also make the meat more tender and succulent.
  • But if you are looking for a good substitute of white wine in risotto, then your best option is to use a mixture of chicken broth to which a few drops of lime juice is added. Avoid using any kind of vinegar as it will completely ruin the taste of risotto.
  • Some other substitutes for white wine are to use a sharp tasting cheese like white cheddar or feta cheese, clam juice, bouillon or the liquid from canned mushrooms. Although they do not impart the same taste to the dish, the flavor profile is close enough to white wine.

For more alcoholic substitutes, here’s a good list and below is a good chart. I didn’t compare the lists so before posting so I’m not sure if they’re identical.

 Alcoholic Ingredient  Description  Substitution
Amaretto Italian almond-flavored liqueur Almond extract.
Beer or ale Various types. For light beers, substitute chicken broth, ginger ale or white grape juice. For heavier beers, use a stronger beef, chicken or mushroom broth or stock. Non-alcoholic beers may also be substituted.
Brandy Liquor made of distilled wine or fruit juice. Scotch or bourbon. If a particular flavor is specified, use the corresponding fruit juice, such as apple, apricot, cherry, peach, raspberry etc. or grape juice. Corresponding flavored extracts can be used for small amounts.
Calvados Apple brandy Apple juice concentrate or juice.
Chambord Black raspberry liqueur Raspberry juice, syrup or extract.
Champagne Sparkling white wine. Sparkling white grape juice, ginger ale, white wine.
Claret Light red wine or Bordeaux. Non-alcoholic wine, diluted currant or grape juice, cherry cider syrup.
Cognac Aged, double-distilled wine or fermented fruit juice. Cognac is considered the finest brandy. Other less expensive brandies may be substituted, as well as Scotch or whiskey, or use peach, apricot or pear juice.
Cointreau French, orange-flavored liqueur. Orange juice concentrate or regular orange juice that has been reduced to a thicker consistency.
Curacao Liqueur made from bitter Seville oranges. Orange juice frozen concentrate or reduced fresh orange juice.
Creme de menthe Thick and syrupy, sweetened mint liqueur. Comes both clear and green. Mix spearmint extract or oil with a little water or grapefruit juice. Use a drop of food coloring if you need the green color.
Framboise French raspberry liqueur. Raspberry juice or syrup.
Frangelico Italian hazelnut liqueur. Hazelnut or almond extract.
Galliano Golden Italian anise liqueur. Licorice extract.
Grand Marnier French liqueur, orange-flavored. Orange juice frozen concentrate or reduced fresh orange juice.
Grappa Italian grape brandy. Grape juice or reduced red wine.
Grenadine Pomegranate syrup, sometimes alcoholic. Pomegranate syrup or juice.
Hard Cider Fermented, alcoholic cider. Apple cider or juice.
Kahlua Syrupy Mexican liqueur made with coffee and cocoa beans. Strong coffee or espresso with a touch of cocoa powder.
Kirsch (Kirchwasser) Colorless liqueur made of cherries. Black cherry, raspberry, boysenberry, currant, or grape juice or syrup, or cherry cider.
Red Burgundy Dry French wine. Non-alcoholic wine, red wine vinegar, grape juice.
Red wine Sweet or dry wine. Non-alcoholic wine, beef or chicken broth or stock, diluted red wine vinegar, red grape juice diluted with red wine vinegar or rice vinegar, tomato juice, liquid from canned mushrooms, plain water.
Rum Liquor distilled from molasses or sugar syrup. For light rum, use pineapple juice flavored with almond extract. For dark rum, use molasses thinned with pineapple juice and flavored with almond extract. Or use rum extract flavoring.
Sake Fermented rice drink. Rice vinegar.
Schnapps Flavored, colorless liquor. Use corresponding flavored extract such as peppermint, peach, etc.
Sherry Fortified dessert wine, sweet or dry, some with a slightly nutty flavor. Orange or pineapple juice.
Southern Comfort Bourbon mixed with peach liqueur. Peach nectar mixed with a little cider vinegar.
Tequila Liquor made of the agave plant. Cactus nectar or juice.
Triple Sec Orang-flavored liqueur. Orange juice frozen concentrate or reduced fresh orange juice.
Vermouth Wine-based drink infused with herbs, sweet or dry. For sweet, use non-alcoholic sweet wine, apple or grape juice or balsamic vinegar. For dry, use non-alcoholic white wine, white grape juice or white wine vinegar.
Whiskey (whisky) Distilled liquor. Bourbon, Scotch and whiskey may be used interchangably. Small amounts may be eliminated. Large amounts cannot be effectively substituted.
White Burgundy Dry French wine. Non-alcoholic wine, white grape juice diluted with white wine vinegar.
White wine Sweet or dry wine. Non-alcoholic wine, chicken broth or stock, diluted white wine vinegar or cider vinegar, white grape juice diluted with white wine vinegar, ginger ale, canned mushroom liquid, water. For marinades, substitute 1/4 cup vinegar plus 1 Tbsp sugar plus 1/4 cup water.

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One Response to Alcohol Cooking Substitutions

  1. Ctganu says:

    Wow! The best info for me! Normally I would immediately reject those recipe that uses alcohol. Now, i have options already! Thanks a lot! 🙂

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