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Nonalcoholic Substitutes for Wines, Spirits and Liqueurs

Article by: Barbara Bowman


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We have compiled a list of nonalcoholic substitutes for recipes that call for various wines, spirits and liqueurs.  Do remember substitutes won't necessarily mimic the flavor of the original ingredient. The intention is to add some acidity and contrast as well as intensify flavors.

A General Note About Ingredient Substitutions

Substituting ingredients takes a lot of trial and error practice. If this is for your day-to-day cooking have fun experimenting. If you are cooking for guests and special occasions then you may be better served by making an extra trip to the store to get the proper ingredient. If using alcohol in cooking is simply not an option then experiment with these nonalcoholic suggestions.

For more ingredient substitutions, browse our Cooking Dictionary of Ingredients and Substitutions.  Our cooking dictionary includes over 1800 cooking ingredients and culinary terms.  Terms include a description, a picture, ingredient substitutions and equivalents as well as *nutritional facts. When possible we include links to recipes and "where to buy" and more information. *Nutritional data not available for every item.

Alcohol Substitutions Chart

 Beverage

 General Substitute

Measured Substitute

Amaretto

Non-alcoholic almond extract; orgeat Italian soda syrup; or marzipan.



For: 2 tablespoons amaretto or other almond-flavored liqueur, substitute: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Applejack or apple brandyUnsweetened apple juice concentrate; apple juice; apple cider; or apple butter. 
Apricot brandySyrup from canned apricots in heavy syrup; or apricot preserves. 

Beer or Ale

Chicken broth, white grape juice, or ginger ale 
Bourbon

Non-alcoholic vanilla extract. Champagne and other sparkling wines: Sparkling apple cider; sparkling cranberry juice; or sparkling grape juice.


For 2 tablespoons bourbon, substitute the following: 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Brandy

Raspberry extract, brandy extract


2 tablespoons brandy, substitute the following: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon brandy extract OR 2 tablespoons water, white grape juice or apple juice

Champagne

Ginger Ale or Soda water and Champagne extract 
Cherry liqueur or brandy (Kirschwasser)Syrup from canned cherries in heavy syrup; Italian soda cherry syrup; or cherry preserves. (Not suitable for fondue) 

Cognac

Juice from peaches, apricots or pears. 

Coffee liqueur or Brandy



Espresso; non-alcoholic coffee extract; or coffee syrup. 

2 tablespoons Kahlua or other coffee or chocolate- flavored liqueur, substitute the following: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chocolate extract plus 1/2 to 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
CointreauOrange juice, or frozen orange juice concentrate.
 
Creme de CacaoPowdered white chocolate mixed with water; non-alcoholic vanilla extract and powdered sugar.
 

Creme de Cassis

Black currant Italian soda syrup; or black currant jam. 

Creme de Menthe


Mint Italian soda syrup; or non-alcoholic mint extract. or Spearmint extract or oil of spearmint diluted with a little water or grapefruit juice
 
GewurztraminerWhite grape juice mixed with lemon juice, water, and a pinch of powdered sugar
 
Kahlua


 Chocolate extract, 1 teaspoon per 2 tablespoon of Kahlua. Or 1 teaspoon instant express powder per 2 tablespoon of Kahlua 
Kirsch (Cherry)Syrup or juice from black cherries, raspberries, boysenberries, currants, grapes or cherry cider.
 
Licorice or anise flavored liqueur


Anise Italian soda syrup; or fennel.
 
Mirin

 

White grape juice mixed with lemon juice or zest.
 
Muscat


White grape juice mixed with water and powdered sugar
 
Orange liqueur (Grand Marnier) or brandyUnsweetened orange juice concentrate; orange zest; orange juice; or marmalade
For 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange- flavored liqueur, substitute the following: 2 tablespoons orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 2 tablespoons unsweetened orange juice concentrate
Peach brandy


Syrup from canned peaches in heavy syrup; or peach preserves
 
Peppermint Schnapps Mint Italian soda syrup; non-alcoholic mint extract; or mint leaves 

Peppermint Schnapps


Mint Italian soda syrup; non-alcoholic mint extract; or mint leaves
 

Port


Concord grape juice mixed with lime zest; or cranberry juice mixed with lemon juice
 

Riesling



White grape juice mixed with water and a pinch of powdered sugar.
 

Rum


Non-alcoholic vanilla or rum extract. OR Pineapple juice or syrup flavored with almond extract.
For 2 tbsp rum , substitute the following: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon rum extract OR 2 tablespoons water, white grape juice or apple juice

Sherry

Apple cider; non-alcoholic vanilla extract; coffee; or coffee syrup

2 tablespoons sherry, substitute the following: 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons orange or pineapple juice.

To substitute sherry in a marinade: for 1/2 cup sherry use 1/4 cup vinegar + 1 tablespoon sugar + 1/4 water OR1 tablespoon vinegar, plus chicken stock or water to make 1/2 cup.

Vermouth


Apple cider; or apple juice mixed with lemon juice and water.
 

Vodka


Water; apple cider or white grape juice mixed with lime juice
 

Wine, Red

Note: add water, white grape juice, apple juice, or broth, if necessary, to get the specified amount of liquid called for in the recipe. OR Grape juice; vegetable stock; cranberry juice; tomato juice; or concord grape jelly.1/4 cup or more red wine, substitute the following: equal measure of red grape juice, cranberry juice, apple cider, chicken broth, clam juice, flavored vinegar, or nonalcoholic wine. If you use nonalcoholic wine, add a tablespoon of vinegar to cut the sweetness

Wine, White

White grape juice; apple cider; apple juice; vegetable stock; or water, ver jus
1/4 cup or more white wine, substitute the following: equal measure of white grape juice, chicken broth, vegetable broth, clam juice or nonalcoholic wine. If you use a nonalcoholic wine, add a tablespoon of vinegar to cut the sweetness

Wine, White, Dry



Water, chicken broth, bullion or consommé, ginger ale, white grape juice, diluted cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, liquid from canned mushrooms.
 

Wine, Heavy 



For 1/4 cup or more port, sweet sherry, rum, brandy, liqueur, substitute the following: equal measure of unsweetened orange juice or apple juice plus 1 teaspoon of corresponding flavored extract or vanilla extract.
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LadyKathleen

2/9/2010
I have searched for years for an alcohol substitution article like this one. This is fantastic. This information has opened up endless new recipes because now I can cook without alcohol.  THANK YOU Gourmet Sleuth.   Lady Kathleen

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limolady

5/1/2010
I am very grateful for this site. I can't stand the flavor of alcohol and don't have it in the house. Marvelous to have this info not bookmarked. Thnx, Gourmet Sleuth.

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limolady

5/1/2010
OOPS...  I MEAN "MARVELOUS TO HAVE THIS INFO BOOKMARKED" SORRY FOR THE TYPE-O

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sleuthagain

5/5/2010
Great, glad it works for you.  If you have any suggestions, successes or failures to discuss we'd love to hear about them.

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S Smith

10/9/2010
Great article, although can I add one other I discovered from a friend: Sake general substitute - rice vinegar.

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susie

1/29/2011
Have been searching for a list like this for some time now--can't wait to start experimenting!

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tomassina

1/29/2011
This is a wonderfully helpful list. I'll print it & keep it with my cookbooks. Thank you! A little note: here in Canada, apple cider contains alcohol.

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GayzelleC

4/6/2011
There is wine in so many different dishes at restaurants. The wine pasta sauce is so delicious. How is it made? If you do it yourself, it might save just a little money. Just try it once. It gets easier after the first time. Here is the proof: How To Cook Dinner With Wine

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Alan

2/15/2013
Question, by what ration should I dilute the Red Wine Vinegar to equal 1 cup of Red Wine?

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sleuthagain

2/18/2013
You can just just double the substitute for sherry.   What recipe are you making? There may be some better alternatives to red wine vinegar.

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Wine Substitutions

General Marinade Substitutes

Substitute 1 cup of alcohol with:
  • 1 cup of citrus juice, lemonade, pineapple or orange juice.
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice or orange juice.
  • 1 cup of tomato juice diluted by 1/4 with water or vinegar.
  • 1/2 cup of light soy sauce and 1/2 cup of citrus juice.
  • 1/2 cup of light soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of peanut oil.
  • 1 cup of teriyaki sauce
  • 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar