Ask Peggy

Can you cook without alcohol?

DEAR PEGGY: For medical reasons, I prefer not to cook with alcohol. Could you suggest some substitutes? —S.C., Columbia, Missouri

While liqueurs, wine and other alcoholic beverages add special flavors to food that are difficult to replace, people have many reasons for not wanting alcohol in their homes. Try the substitutions listed next to the ingredients below to take the alcohol out of recipes:

  • Red wine - Substitute with: An equal measure of red grape or cranberry juice (in sweet recipes) or reduced-sodium beef broth or tomato juice (in savory recipes)
  • White wine - Substitute with: An equal measure of white grape or apple juice (in sweet recipes) or reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth (in savory recipes)
  • Beer - Substitute with: An equal measure of reduced-sodium chicken, beef or mushroom broth or white grape juice or ginger ale
  • Rum (2 tablespoons) - Substitute with: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon rum extract in recipes in which the liquid amount is not crucial (add water if needed for additional liquid), or 2 tablespoons pineapple juice with 1 tablespoon almond or vanilla extract
  • Brandy (2 tablespoons) - Substitute with: Equal measure white grape or apple juice or 1 tablespoon cherry, peach or apricot syrup
  • Vodka - Substitute with: Equal measure of water or apple cider or white grape juice with a squeeze of lime juice
  • Grand Marnier (2 tablespoons) - Substitute with: Equal measure of orange juice concentrate or 2 tablespoons orange juice with 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • Amaretto (2 tablespoons) - Substitute with: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Kahlua (2 tablespoons) - Substitute with: Equal strong brewed coffee with 1 teaspoon sugar