Alcohol is often used in a variety of dishes, whether sweet or savoury. But, there are often people who, for a variety of reasons, don’t like using wine or other alcohol in their cooking.
Often, it is the alcohol itself that causes people to look for a substitute.
So, what can you use to substitute for wine?
The important thing to remember is that wine or other alcohol is used in cooking primarily for the flavour it imparts. The alcohol plays no significant role (unless your main goal is to flambe).
The simplest substitution is to use water. But you would need to consider the lack of flavour with water.
If you want to retain the wine’s flavour and acidity, you can add a citrus, fruit juice or a vinegar.
|ALCOHOL||MAIN FLAVOUR||POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTION|
|Amaretto||Almond||1/2 Tsp Almond Extract per 2 Tbsp Amaretto|
|Anisette||Anise or Fennel||Anise or Fennel herbs|
|Beer||Varies||For dark beer add a small amount of beef or mushroom broth. For lighter beers add white grape juice. Non-alcoholic beer can also be used|
|Bourbon||Vanilla||Use up to 2 Tsp of Vanilla Extract|
|Brandy (Apple)||Apple||Use apple juice, apple sauce, apple cider|
|Brandy (Peach)||Peach||Diluted syrup from canned peaches, peach puree or preserves, peach extract|
|Brandy (Apricot)||Apricot||Diluted syrup from canned apricots, apricot puree or preserves|
|Champagne||Fruit and Citrus||Ginger ale, sparkling apple cider, sparkling cranberry juice, or sparkling white grape juice.|
|Coffee Liqueur||Coffee||To replace 2 Tbsp of liqueur, use 1/2 to 1 Tsp of chocolate extract mixed with 1 Tsp of instant coffee, which has been mixed in 2 Tbsp of water. Can also substitute espresso, non-alcoholic coffee extract or coffee syrup.|
|Cognac||Peach, Apricot, Pear||Peach, apricot or pear juice|
|Creme de menthe||Mint||Non-alcoholic mint extract, mint Italian soda syrup, spearmint extract, or spearmint oil with a little water added. If green color is needed, add a drop of green food coloring|
|Grand Marnier||Orange||To replace 2 Tbsp of liqueur, use 2 Tbsp of orange juice concentrate or 2 Tbsp of orange juice with 1/2 Tsp of orange extract|
|Kahlua||Coffee & Chocolate||Substitute 1/2 to 1 Tsp chocolate extract or substitute 1/2 to 1Tsp instant coffee in 2 Tbsp water for 2 Tbsp Kahlua|
|Orange Liqueur||Orange||Orange concentrate, juice, or marmalade|
|Peppermint Schnapps||Peppermint||Non-alcoholic mint or peppermint extract, mint Italian soda syrup, or mint leaves|
|Port Wine, Sweet Sherry, or Fruit Flavoured Liqueur||Orange, Apple||Orange juice or apple juice. Substitute equal amount of liquid|
|Rum||Almond and Fruit||White grape juice, pineapple juice, or apple juice. May also add 1/2 to 1 Tsp of non-alcoholic rum, almond or vanilla extract|
|Triple Sec||Orange||Orange juice concentrate, orange juice, orange zest or orange marmalade|
|Vermouth, Dry||White grape juice, white wine vinegar, or non-alcoholic white wine|
|Vermouth, Sweet||Apple juice, grape juice, balsamic vinegar, non-alcoholic sweet wine, or water with lemo|
|Vodka||White grape juice or apple cider combined with lime juice or use plain water in place of the vodka|
|Wine, White||Red grape juice, cranberry juice, chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, clam juice, fruit juices, flavored vinegar|
|Wine, Red||Red grape juice, cranberry juice, chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, clam juice, fruit juices, flavored vinegar|
When trying to make any sort of substitution, look at what flavour is added to the dish by using a particular alcohol. Try to provide that flavour through an appropriate substitution.
The other thing to consider is whether the alcohol in the recipe adds liquid to the recipe or just flavour. If it adds liquid, be sure to add an equal amount of liquid with your substitution. For example;
- 1 Cup Red wine: substitute 1 cup of red grape juice
- 1 Cup Rum: Substitute 1 cup apple juice + 1 Tsp almond extract
Burning Off the Alcohol
Contrary to many opinions, it is very hard to cook off all the alcohol in a dish. An alcohol soaked fruitcake would have to turn into a solid brick before all the alcohol is cooked off.
The US Department of Agriculture created the fantastic graphic below to show the burn-off rate of alcohol. As you can see, the determining factors for how much alcohol remains are time and cooking method.
If you are at all sensitive to alcohol, this is good information to know.
Sources: http://www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t–904/alcohol-substitutions.asp, https://whatscookingamerica.net/alcoholsub.htm, US Dept of Agriculture