Alcohol Substitutions

August 19, 2012 2 Comments

Alcohol Substitutions

If your recipes calls for using an alcoholic beverage, what can you use instead?

After posting two recipes for Green Peppercorn sauce, I received an email from a gentleman telling me he does not drink any kind of alcohol and would prefer not to use it in any recipe and what could he substitute for red wine.

Great question and one I’m asked a lot. The answer really depends on what you are cooking and what type of alcohol the recipe calls for. Although it is my opinion that most of the alcohol is cooked off in the process, I can respect someone’s wishes not to handle it at all.

Why cook with an alcoholic beverage in the first place?

The main reason is to add flavor to what you are cooking. Although you may use red wine to deglaze a sauté pan to make a pan sauce, the wine adds additional flavor to the sauce. Adding a bottle of beer to a slow cooked braise leaves some alcohol but contributes a lot to the flavor.

Think of those holiday rum cakes you may have enjoyed.  I remember my Aunt Tess’s rum cakes that would get all us kids a little sleepy after a meal at her house. Those cakes would burn in a fireplace like logs.

Another reason you cook with alcohol is for the chemical reaction that occurs. For example, beer has a yeast in it that helps leaven or get a rise out of bread. Acidic wine is used in some marinades to help break down meat fibers. And what about using wine in fondue to lower the boiling point of cheese to prevent curdling.

So what can home cooks use instead of alcoholic beverages?

Some of the more common substitutes are juices (especially grape, orange, apple and cranberry), beef, chicken & vegetable stock, vinegar, and fruit syrups.

Most Commonly Used Substitutes

Beer or Ale - non-alcoholic beer, chicken stock, beef stock or mushroom stock
Port - grape juice with a little lime zest or cranberry juice with a little lemon juice added or orange juice
Red Wine - Concord grape juice, red wine vinegar, or non-alcoholic red wine
White Wine - white grape juice with a little white wine vinegar added or non-alcoholic white wine
Sweet White Wine - white grape juice with a pinch of powdered sugar added.
Champagne - ginger ale, sparkling cranberry or white grape juice or sparkling apple cider
Coffee Liqueur - espresso, non-alcoholic coffee extract or coffee syrup

Other Commonly Used Substitutes

Amaretto - almond extract
Anisette - anise Italian soda syrup or fennel
Bourbon - vanilla extract, orange or pineapple juice or peach syrup
Brandy - brady extract
Chambord - raspberry juice, syrup or extract
Cherry Liqueur - syrup form a can or jar of cherries
Cherry Brandy - same as Cherry Liqueur
Cognac - juice from peaches, apricots, or pears
Cointreau - orange juice concentrate
Creme de Cacao - non-alcoholic vanilla extract and powdered sugar
Creme de menthe - spearmint extract diluted in a little water
Kahlua - coffee liqueur
Rum - white grape juice, apple juice or apple cinder flavored with almond extract
Sherry - vanilla extract, orange or pineapple juice or peach syrup
Vodka - white grape juice or apple cinder mixed with lime juice

Last modified on Mon 3 February 2014 3:32 pm

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Sahar says:

    I want to make a double chocolate mousse cake and the recipe says to use 1/4 cup coffee flavoured liqueur. What can I use instead of the liqueur and coffee.

    Thank you

  2. Jenni says:

    @Sahar You can sub 1/4 cup of almost any liquid. If you don’t want the alcohol and you don’t like coffee, you may want to look for a different recipe, but to sub, I’d just go with water or milk. You could also use 1 tablespoon of vanilla (if it’s not already called for) and 3 tablespoons of almost any other liquid that would taste good with chocolate. An out-of-the-box idea would even be orange juice since orange and chocolate go so well together.

Leave a Reply

Culinary Schools

Ice Cream Sundays

Strawberry Chocolate with Almonds Gelato Recipe

Strawberry Chocolate with Almonds Gelato Recipe

Strawberry Chocolate with Almonds Gelato Recipe On a recent trip to State College, PA, my wife stopped at Tait Farms to pick up some local products including a Strawberry Dark Chocolate Sauce that my daughter thought would be a great ingredient to try in a new gelato or ice cream. I also had some Dark […]

August 13, 2014 0 Comments
Chocolate Trail Mix Ice Cream

Chocolate Trail Mix Ice Cream

How About Some Chocolate Ice Cream with a Bit of Trail Mix While I was down in the basement working out, I heard my youngest daughter upstairs in the kitchen preparing something.  My daughter has cerebral palsy and uses a walker to get around so I could hear the wheels rolling back and forth as […]

July 25, 2014 5 Comments
Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

 We Used Starbucks Hot Chocolate Mix For This One Maddie and I were thinking about making some homemade ice cream and since chocolate is her favorite, we thought we would give that a try. I looked in the recipe book that came with my new Cuisinart Ice Cream Gelato Maker and found a basic recipe […]

July 10, 2014 0 Comments
Strawberry Gelato Recipe

Strawberry Gelato Recipe

Fresh Seasonal Strawberries Make For Great Gelato By now you know I am the proud owner of a Cuisinart Commercial Quality Ice Cream & Gelato Maker given to me by my neighbors Bob and Barbara for my recent birthday and I’ve been experimenting with it to learn how to make great homemade ice cream and […]

June 29, 2014 0 Comments
Difference Between Ice Cream and Gelato

Difference Between Ice Cream and Gelato

What’s the Difference Between Ice Cream & Gelato I celebrated a big birthday at the beginning of the month and my wife invited some friends over including my neighbor who gave me a Cuisinart Commercial Quality Ice Cream & Gelato Maker (ICE-100) as a birthday present.  This past weekend, my youngest daughter and I put […]

June 20, 2014 5 Comments

Reluctant Gourmet’s Top Tip Lists

Check Out My RG Cooking Cartoons

css.php