Alcohol Substitution in Cooking

Acceptable Alcohol Substitutes

Close-Up Of Grape Juice
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You will often find recipes today that call for some form of alcohol that is needed to enhance the flavor of certain dishes. This presents a problem for those who follow Islamic law which states that alcohol is forbidden, even when used in small amounts in cooking. Are recipes that call for alcohol off limits then? Not at all! There are many non-alcoholic ingredients out there that can be substituted for any given alcohol, ingredients that are fairly common and ones you probably already have on hand.

Some alcohols have multiple items that can be substituted for them, so when doing this you can experiment and find which substitution works best for you. Also, most substitutions can be used using the same measurement of alcohol that is called for.

Here is a list of common alcohols called for in recipes, and the non-alcoholic ingredients that can be used in substitution of them.

Amaretto: Amaretto is common in many dishes, from bread and​ desserts to vegetables and main dishes. The perfect substitution for amaretto is almond extract. As almond extract has a much stronger flavor, only use about ¼ of the amount of amaretto called for.

Apple Brandy: It is the apple taste that is needed here, so apple juice, apple cider, unsweetened apple juice concentrate, even apple butter can be used in substitution.

Bourbon: a teaspoon or two of non-alcoholic vanilla extract can be used to replace bourbon in a recipe.

Brandy: Brandy is another alcohol commonly found in recipes, and there are several different fruit juices that can be used to replace it. Water is a common substitution but, depending on the recipe, cherry syrup (from canned cherries), white grape juice, and apple juice can be used.

Champagne: Any sparkling fruit juice will do here, such as apple, grape or cranberry juices.

Ginger ale also works well if you prefer not to have a fruity taste.

Coffee Liqueur: Espresso is a great substitution when a recipe calls for coffee liqueur. Coffee syrup can also be used, as well as non-alcoholic coffee extract.

Cognac: Pear, peach, or apricot juice works well when needed a substitute for cognac in a recipe.

Crème de menthe: To substitute for crème de menthe, spearmint extract is a good choice, or spearmint oil, which should be diluted with a small amount of water.

Ouzo: To substitute for ouzo in a recipe use anise Italian soda syrup.

Peach Brandy: To substitute for peach brandy in a recipe, use the syrup from canned peaches. Make sure peaches are canned in heavy syrup. Peach preserves can also be used.

Peppermint Schnapps: Mint leaves work well when used in substitution of peppermint schnapps. Non-alcoholic peppermint extract can also be used.

Port Wine: grape juice, preferably concord, can be used in equal amounts. Orange or apple juice can also be used for a lighter taste.

Red Wine: Cranberry juice, grape juice, tomato juice, even beef or vegetable broth can be used to enhance a recipe calling for red wine.

Rum: Vanilla extract or non-alcoholic rum can be used. Pineapple juice and apple juice are also good substitutions.

Sherry: Apple, pineapple, and orange juices all make good sherry substitutions. Peach syrup can also be used.