ghee shakar

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Alcohol Substitutes in Cooking

Have you ever gone through a gourmet recipe and thought hmmm, this seems pretty cool and easy until you get to a part that says 2 tbsp sherry or port wine, and you’re like … uhh, what will I do for that?? Now I can’t make it… oh boy, have I got a resource for you!

On the other hand, too many people are convinced that alcohol completely dissipates when cooked, however studies have shown that cooked food can retain 5-85% of their original alcoholic content depending on what type of alcohol you’ve used and how long it’s been cooked. (See table below*)

So, no, that rum cake will still have like 25% alcohol content remaining in it.

If you’re interested in cooking minus any percentage of alcohol in your food and would like to know what could be used instead, follow the compiled list below. I collected all the types of alcohols that could be asked for in any particular recipe you may come across from various websites and their corresponding substitutes. I don’t even know what some of these are and haven’t come across them in a recipe, BUT if you do, I hope this helps. (You can bookmark the page as a reference to come back to any time)


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/Ale – Chicken broth, beef broth, mushroom broth, white grape juice, 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. Raspberry extract. (Substitute equal amounts of liquid.)

Calvados – Apple juice

Champagne – Ginger ale, sparkling apple cider, sparkling cranberry juice, or sparkling white grape juice.

Claret – Grape or currant juice, or syrup from cherry cider

Coffee Liqueur – To replace 2 tablespoons of liqueur, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of chocolate extract mixed with 1 teaspoon of instant coffee, which has been mixed in 2 tablespoons of water. Can also substitute espresso, non-alcoholic coffee extract or coffee syrup.

Cognac – Juice from peaches, apricots, or pears or syrup from canned variety diluted with water

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.

Flambe or Flaming Desserts – The only substitute might be used is a sugar cube soaked in lemon extract , then set atop a dessert and burned

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.)

Gewurztraminer – White grape juice combined with lemon juice.

Grappa – Grape juice.

Grenadine – Pomegranate juice or syrup

Hard Cider – Apple juice

Kahlua – Strong Coffee with a touch of cocoa powder (Substitute 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chocolate extract or substitute 1/2 to 1 teaspoon instant coffee in 2 tablespoons water for 2 tablespoons Kahlua.)

Kirsch – Syrup or juices from cherries, raspberries, 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 – 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 Burgundy – Grape Juice

Red Wine – Red grape juice, cranberry juice, chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, tomato juice, fruit juices, diluted apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar (wine vinegars have no alcohol in them), and apparently liquid drained from mushrooms! (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.) To substitute sherry in a marinade use ¼ cup vinegar plus ¼ cup water and 1 tablespoon sugar, or 1 tablespoon vinegar plus chicken stock or water to make up the ½ cup.

Southern Comfort – Peach flavored nectar combined with a small amount of cider vinegar.

Tequila – Cactus juice or nectar (good luck finding that!)

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.

White Burgundy – White grape juice

White Wine – Water, chicken broth, vegetable broth, white grape juice, ginger ale, white grape juice, diluted cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, liquid from canned mushrooms

Vodka – White grape juice or apple cider combined with lime juice or use plain water in place of the vodka.

Sweet White Wine – White grape juice plus 1 tablespoons corn syrup. (Substitute equal amount of liquid.)

NOTE*** To cut sweetness of the syrups, dilute with water. Also use
flavor extracts for interesting flavors.


*Check out this table by the US Dept of Agriculture

alcohol added to boiling liquid & removed from heat 85%
alcohol flamed 75%
no heat, stored overnight 70%
baked, 25 minutes, alcohol not stirred into mixture 45%
baked/simmered, alcohol stirred into mixture:
  • 15 minutes
  • 30 minutes
  • 1 hour
  • 1.5 hours
  • 2 hours
  • 2.5 hours

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This entry was posted on November 15, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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