Cognac is a high-quality type of brandy made from specific grape varieties(typically the ones used to produce white wine). A brandy is called Cognac only when made in the Cognac region in France; otherwise, there isn’t much difference between them. Besides being one of the most dominant alcoholic beverages in every bar, and being used in many cocktail recipes, Cognac has made its way in the kitchen and in some of our favorite recipes. But, what do you do when you happen to not have a bottle of Cognac just sitting on your liquor cabinet, and you are not just going to run and buy a bottle? We have some ideas.
Good substitutes for Cognac are Brandy, Sherry, white wine, brandy extract, and a variety of fruit juices.
Keep up with us to find out more about how to substitute Cognac with all these other beverages.
Substitutes For Cognac In Cooking/Baking
Brandy is a distilled liquor that is traditionally made from white grape juice or grapes. However, this hard liquor can also be distilled from other types of fruits like cherries, apple juice, the juice from peaches and apricots, etc… Brandy is usually an aged liquor(with the exception of some fruit and pearl Brandies) that has kind of a caramel flavor. This liquor must be sealed and aged in a wooden container so it can deepen its color to maroon. The liquor is left to age for up to 2 years. A good bottle of Brandy goes for at least 24 dollars.
What Is Brandy Used For
Brandy is most used in lots of recipes, especially for desserts, all types of cookies, sauces, but you can it in many savory recipes, substituting white wine. Believe me when I say that you haven’t made the best mushroom sauce until you’ve put some Brandy in it. If you’re feeling up to try something new and tasty using this beverage, I’ve made some suggestions you could try
- Brandy And Mushroom Sauce- This sauce is a perfect topping for chicken breasts, steak, and even some spaghetti. The ingredients are easy to grab in the store: mushrooms, heavy cream, some mint leaves, green onions, and Brandy.
- Caramelized Bananas- Make this quick dessert by making a simple caramel sauce, and just a cap of Brandy(preferably Apple Brandy)
- Fruit Salad- The best part of this dessert is that you can work with whatever fruit you got at home. No matter the ingredients, it will turn out delicious. Chop your selection of fruit into small cubes/pieces, put them in a presentable bowl, add some sugar on top of it, a non-alcoholic vanilla extract, and finally a teaspoon of Brandy or brandy extract. Before discovering that Brandy works so much better, I used to put a teaspoon of rum or a rum extract.
Sherry is a fortified wine with a golden brown color, and it is made from specific types of white grapes, grown and cultivated in the city Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. Sherry is a white, aged, dry wine with, sweet, fruity, and rich flavor. It is considered to be a fine dessert wine that typically comes with a tasty dessert treat or pre-course.
In cooking, Sherry is mostly used when making incredible sauces for meat, vegetables, and even some pan glazings for desserts. Here are some honorable mentions of dishes prepared with Sherry
- Slow-Cooked Pork With Sherry Sauce- To add to its juices and flavor, add some Sherry wine, along with some lemon zest or lime zest to enhance the taste of the pork even more.
- Mushroom Sauce- Sherry and mushrooms come naturally together, especially in the regions of Spain. So, in your next recipe for mushroom sauce(no matter if you’re making it with heavy cream or bechamel sauce) try adding just a few drops of this fruity and sweet wine.
- Sauteed Mushrooms- As I said, something about the combination of mushrooms and Sherry is just such a natural way to go. If you don’t know what to do with your leftover Sherry wine, this is totally the way to go. Butter a pan, put your mushrooms, two tablespoons of water, and sherry wine in the pan, squeeze a little bit of lime juice and let the ingredients sautee together. You can even make a warm, mushroom broth, or vegetable broth with just a little bit of Sherry in it.
- Pasta Salad Recipes- A teaspoon of Sherry will go great in every dressing you make for your favorite pasta salads.
White wine as we all know is made from a variety of white grapes. You can choose any type of wine you want since it has many varieties with different price ranges. From dry wine, semi-dry one, to wine with different flavors and undertones, today white wine is made in many different ways with many different flavors that would be appealing to us, the customer.
Aside from its main purpose like all alcoholic beverages, serving it alongside dinner, desserts, and many other events, white wine is excellent to cook with. The most popular dishes made with wine are risotto, paella, coq en in blanc(which means chicken in white wine), etc… White wine can also be put in many sauces and gravies for pasta, French onion soup, mashed potatoes, chicken recipes, and veggies. You can even add some wine to your chicken broth(or beef broth) to enhance all the flavors. Instead of white wine, you can even add some white wine vinegar if you do not have a cheap bottle of wine in your home and you don’t wanna waste an expensive one.
This is a pretty simple solution if you don’t have any brandy or cognac at home. Brandy extract is made to give cooks the distinct flavor of brandy that they require, without having to actually use the alcoholic beverage. Brandy extract does contain a small amount of alcohol, but it is not nearly as high as the real deal. A good substitute for when you can’t fin brandy extract is either rum extract, almond extract, and vanilla extract. You can find this liquid in the local liquor store, or in a well-stocked grocery store.
For a non-alcoholic substitute, you can definitely use lots of different types of fruit juices. The ones that work the best are lemon juice, pineapple juice, apricot juice, juice from peaches, cranberry juice, and orange juice concentrate. Try to avoid adding sugary fruit drinks, and smoothies to your dishes as they can get quite sweet from all the sugar in the juices. If you want to substitute white wine in your dishes, you can also use white grape juice(or grape juice concentrate), as it comes very close in taste, minus the alcohol. If you’re concerned that your dish will be sweet after putting some juice in it, you can dilute the juice with plain water.
Non-Alcoholic Substitutes For Cognac
- Almond Extract- Just like vanilla or rum extract, almond extract is used to add a nice aroma and taste to every type of food.
- Non-Alcoholic Mint Or Peppermint Extract- Gives you a nice minty fresh flavor to everything you’re cooking. I love to put this extract in my freshly brewed tea.
- Coffee Syrup- This is a thick, heavy coffee concentrate. It is mostly used for baking bread, coffee cakes, and other tasty desserts, pastries, and cocktail recipes.
- Heavy Syrup- You can find this syrup mostly in canned fruits like peaches, cherries, and apricots.
- Cherry Cider Syrup- Is such a great innovation for making all kinds of drinks, no matter if alcoholic or not. You can add some sourness to everything you make, using this cheery cider syrup. You can even incorporate it into any savory dish you’re making.
- Coffee Liqueur Extract- Even though extracts are considered not to be alcoholic, I must say that extracts do have a tiny bit of alcohol in them. Coffee Liqueur extract is not an exception. If you want to replace it, you can use two teaspoons of instant coffee with plain water.
- Balsamic Vinegar- This is a dark, concentrated vinegar made in Italy. It is used on top of salads, and veggies.
- Apple Cider Vinegar- Is made from fermented apple juice concentrate, and it is used in salads, dressings for salads, and many other things.
- Rice Vinegar- Is made from fermented rice and its a staple ingredient in many Asian dishes (like sushi)
- Unsweetened Apple Juice- From all the varieties of juices you can put in while cooking, unsweetened apple juice or apple juice concentrate, and white grape juice are one of the best non-alcoholic substitutes.
- Orange Juice Or Orange Extract- This is a good substitute, especially if you’re substituting brandy or white wine.
- Chocolate Extract- This is an excellent cognac substitute, especially if you’re subbing for a cognac with a more chocolate aftertaste. Just a teaspoon of chocolate extract in your baked goods, and the whole house will smell absolutely divine.
- Corn Syrup- Also known as glucose syrup, is a product made from the starch of corn and it is used in many desserts.
- Peach Juice- Try and pick a juice that is unsweetened but otherwise, this is a great substitute for cognac or brandy in cooking. Dilute the juice with water if you fear that it will be too sweet for your taste.
- Cherry Syrup- This is a syrup made from filtered water, dark cherries, and granulated sugar. You can put this product on ice creams and other desserts.