6/13/16

When you can't or won't cook with alcohol... here are substitutions for alcohol of all sorts!


When it comes to substitutions in cooking I've never really had to worry about it because it comes naturally to me. I stop, think about what I want or need to substitute, an idea comes to me and it's done.  Some of them are so second nature I don't even think about it (like souring milk with lemon juice or vinegar in place of buttermilk). 

I don't like the taste of alcohol and I found out very early in our marriage that I didn't like the taste of cream sauces and similar food items that were cooked with it.  Especially sherry and white wine in my cream sauces with chicken.  I immediately figured out to just use chicken broth in the sauce.  Once every few years I may play with a recipe or a sauce and use the dry white wine or whatever called for, but usually we like it better without.  Not to mention, when you are cooking for a family, kids don't like the taste either.

So with 'substitutions' in mind I thought I should probably put a post up on An American Housewife...  but before I could post one, I saw this list and realized;  someone else already did it - and did a far more thorough and great job than I probably would have!  Ha.  So... without further adieu, a substitution list for when you can't or don't want to cook with alcohol.


Article originally published 2004 by What's Cooking America


  • Amaretto – Non-Alcoholic almond extract. Substitute 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract for 2 tablespoons Amaretto.
  • Anisette – Anise Italian soda syrup or fennel. Also use the herbs anise or fennel.
  • Beer or Ale – Chicken broth, beef broth, mushroom broth, white grape juice, or ginger ale.
  • Bourbon – 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of non-alcoholic vanilla extract.
  • Brandy – Water, white grape juice, apple cider or apple juice, diluted peach or apricot syrups. Substitute equal amounts of liquid.
  • Champagne – Ginger ale, sparkling apple cider, sparkling cranberry juice, or sparkling white grape juice.
  • Coffee Liqueur – To replace 2 tablespoons of liqueur, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of chocolate extract mixed with 1 teaspoon of Pero® or Postum® powder, which has been mixed in 2 tablespoons of water.
  • Cognac – Juice from peaches, apricots, or pears.
  • Cointreau – Orange juice or frozen orange juice concentrate.
  • Creme de menthe – Spearmint extract or oil of spearmint diluted with a little water or grapefruit juice.
  • Grand Marnier or Orange-Flavored Liqueur – Unsweetened orange juice concentrate or orange juice. Substitute 2 tablespoons unsweetened orange juice concentrate or 2 tablespoons orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon orange extract for 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier.
  • Kahlua – Coffee or chocolate-flavored liqueur. Substitute 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chocolate extract or substitute 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Pero® or Postum® powder in 2 tablespoons water for 2 tablespoons Kahlua.
  • Kirsch – Syrup or juices from cherries, raspberries, boysenberries, currants, or cider. Substitute equal amounts of liquid.
  • Peppermint Schnapps – Non-alcoholic mint or peppermint extract, mint Italian soda syrup, or mint leaves.
  • Port Wine, Sweet Sherry, or Fruit-Flavored Liqueur – Orange juice or apple juice. Substitute equal amount of liquid.
  • Rum (light or dark) – Water, white grape juice, pineapple juice, apple juice or apple cider, or syrup flavored with almond extract. Substitute equal amounts of liquid.
  • Sake – Rice vinegar.
  • Sherry or Bourbon – Orange or pineapple juices, peach syrup, or non-alcoholic vanilla extract. Substitute equal amount of liquid 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
  • Southern Comfort – Peach flavored nectar combined with a small amount of cider vinegar.
  • Tequila – Cactus juice or nectar.
  • Triple Sec – 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 lemon juice.
  • Whiskey – If a small amount is called for, it can be eliminated.
  • Vodka – White grape juice or apple cider combined with lime juice or use plain water in place of the vodka.
  • Claret – Diluted grape juice or cherry cider syrup.
  • Gewurztraminer – White grape juice combined with lemon juice.
  • Grappa – Grape juice.
  • Port Wine – Concord grape juice with some lime zest added, cranberry juice with some lemon juice added, or grape juice concentrate. Substitute orange juice or apple juice for lighter ports.
  • Red Wine – Red grape juice, cranberry juice, chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, clam juice, fruit juices, flavored vinegar. Substitute equal amount of liquid.
  • White Wine – Water, chicken broth, vegetable broth, white grape juice, ginger ale, white grape juice.
  • Sweet White Wine – White grape juice plus 1 tablespoons Karo corn syrup. Substitute equal amount of liquid.

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