Friday, August 16, 2013

Substitues For Alcohol In Recipes

Some of the best pies, desserts and sauces I've ever had are made with alcohol. Bourbon pie, authentic tiramisu, chicken marsala-even if you don't taste it, all of these things are made with alcohol. It's okay for everyone to eat them because all of the alcohol has been removed by cooking, right?


Contrary to popular belief, alcohol will never completely cook out of a food. The concentration (amount) goes down over cooking times, but it will never be entirely alcohol-free. This means that I can't serve the things I mention above to my pregnant or Muslim coworkers. My recovered-alcoholic friend won't touch it because he's afraid he'll relapse. For this reason, it can be helpful to find substitutes. Some things really can't be substituted, but here is a brief list of the possibilities I've found.
  • Triple Sec and Grand Marnier are orange liquors that can be replaced with orange juice or orange juice concentrate.
  • Schnapps can easily be replaced by an extract of the same flavor.
  • Rum-flavored extract can be found at most grocery stores. If not, use molasses mixed with pineapple juice ant almond extract in place of dark rum. For light rum, simply omit the molasses.
  • Kahlua is a coffee-cocoa liqueur, so just use espresso with a bit of cocoa powder.
  • Cognac and brandy of various types can be replaced with the corresponding fruit juice.
  • Sake can be replaced with rice vinegar.
  • Chambord is a black raspberry liqueur that can be replaced with raspberry syrup, juice or extract.
  • Vodka doesn't have much of a flavor, so some people use water or white grape juice and lime.
  • Bourbon can be replaced with non-alcoholic vanilla extract, although some recipe books don't recommend it.
  • White wines can be substituted with ginger ale, chicken broth, diluted white wine vinegar or white grape juice with a splash of lemon.
  • Red wines can also be replaced with beef or chicken stock/broth, diluted red wine vinegar or cranberry, tomato or grape juices.
  • Champagne is basically sparking white wine, so any sparkling fruit juice or ginger ale will do.
  • Amaretto is an almond liqueur, so just use almond extract.
  • Beer substitutes depend on what kind of beer is called for. For the lighter beers, you can usually substitute ginger ale, white grape juice or chicken broth. For the heavier, 'darker' beers, use a strong beef, mushroom or chicken stock or broth.
  • Vermouth substitutes also depend on the type being called for. Apple juice, grape juice, water with lemon or balsamic vinegar can stand in for sweet vermouth while white grape juice or white wine vinegar can replace dry vermouth. If you can find a non-alcoholic sweet wine, that can work too.
  • Tequila can be replaced with agave or cactus nectar or juice.

Like rum, it may help to look for an extract of whatever alcohol or flavor. Also, you can often find non-alcoholic beers and wines.

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