Cognac is one of the best brandies around; it is aged for at least two years in oak casks; it gets its name from where it is produced; cognac, France.
It is made from grapes, and each bottle has an alcohol content of about 40%. Cognac, however, is not cheap; the strict production for cognac means you may have to spend a couple of hundred on a bottle.
If your recipe calls for cognac, but your budget says no, or you simply want to swap out alcohol from the dish, here are good cognac substitutes that you can use anytime. We included both alcoholic and nonalcoholic substitutes for cognac.
Table of Contents
- Best Cognac Alternatives – Alcoholic
- 1. Brandy
- 2. Whiskey
- 3. Rum
- 4. Bourbon
- 5. Sherry
- 6. Armagnac
- 7. Coffee Liqueur
- 8. Wine
- 9. Red Wine
- 10. White Wine
- 11. Port
- Nonalcoholic Substitutes for Cognac
- 12. Fruit Juice
- 13. Cooking wine + sugar
- 14. Alcohol-Free Brandy
- 15. Soy Or Worcestershire Sauce
- Cognac Substitutes For Cooking
- 16. General Cooking
- 17. French Onion Soup
- 18. Gravy
- 19. Steak au Poivre
- 20. Beef Bourguignon
- 21. Cocktails
Best Cognac Alternatives – Alcoholic
If the presence of alcohol isn’t the reason you are looking for a cognac substitute, you have several other options of alcoholic beverages that are a decent cognac alternative.
You may have to alter the amount of each replacement to use, but you are bound to achieve great results.
Cognac is a type of brandy, so that makes brandy an excellent replacement. Brandy may mean ‘burnt wine,’ but it is a delicate and well-aged spirit. If you are making cocktails and steak or beef dishes, brandy is an ideal choice to use as a cognac substitute.
Brandy has a slightly sweet and fruity taste, just like cognac. If you would prefer, you can use an unflavored brandy instead, unless you want to be able to taste the individual components of the dish or drink.
Whiskey makes a great alternative to cognac, although it is sharper and tastes more acidic than cognac.
So, pay proper attention to the measurements when substituting whiskey for cognac in a recipe. Add a little at first and play with the difference in flavors till you achieve your desired taste.
Dark rum is another excellent cognac replacement. Rum has a strong flavor, just like whiskey, so to avoiding ruining your dish, add a little at a time; this will give you the best results. Substitute about a third of rum in place of cognac.
Rum also has a sweeter taste than cognac, so you may want to adjust the quantity according to personal preference.
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Bourbon has a robust flavor and is a great alternative to cognac. Just like with rum, you only need a third of bourbon in place of the amount of cognac needed. Finding bourbon is easy, but you might want to choose an unflavored one.
Flavored Bourbon also works well but may have a little more sweet taste than expected from cognac. If you’re using vanilla bourbon, you can add a hint of vanilla extract or brown sugar to the spirit to help reduce its sharpness.
Dry sherry is a great and easily sourced alternative for cognac, but using too sweet an ingredient can ruin the dish’s flavor.
Armagnac is one of the cognac’s closest family members; this makes them quite similar but also different.
They are made using different distillation methods but have comparable flavors. Unlike cognac, Armagnac is a more affordable as requires fewer production regulation.
7. Coffee Liqueur
If you are making desserts such as tiramisu, a coffee liqueur is an excellent substitute for cognac. This spirit pairs really well with desserts, and like cognac, it can bring something truly unique to a dish.
Wine is another quick and easy cognac substitute. Cognac is made from grapes, making wine a perfect replacement. However, do this with caution. Not all wine is alike, and you want to opt for the right choice.
9. Red Wine
If you are making a meaty dish, red wine is a better cognac alternative than white wine.
10. White Wine
For desserts and sauces, white wine adds the perfect touch of fruity flavor.
When using the port as a cognac replacement, ensure it is full-bodied and not too sweet.
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Nonalcoholic Substitutes for Cognac
If you totally want alcohol out of the dish, there are ways you can achieve that cognac flavor still. You may need to do a little bit of experimentation, but you are bound to achieve something exceptional.
12. Fruit Juice
Fruit juices are a lot more affordable than cognac, easily sourced, and there are many varieties. Although you can opt for any flavor, the juices that work the best as cognac substitutes are pear, apple, apricot, and peach.
You may need to cut the amount of cognac needed in half when using fruit juice due to its overly sweet taste.
Fruit juice is the perfect substitute for cognac in deglazing, desserts, sauces, and gravy. For an extra splash of acidity, you can add some wine or cooking vinegar to the dish.
13. Cooking wine + sugar
When an alcoholic wine is poured into a pan, it loses most, if not all, of its alcohol content once heated up. Cooking wine is a great substitute option for cognac in gravy, deglazing, desserts, and even steak au poivre.
Substitute two teaspoons of brown sugar and a cup of cooking wine for every cup of cognac needed. Cooking wine may have a tart taste, but it can be overly sweet, so you can skip the brown sugar if the wine is already sweet enough for you.
You may need to increase the cooking time to enable the flavor to develop.
14. Alcohol-Free Brandy
If you want similar taste integrity that you get from cognac, you can use alcohol-free brandy. They are easily sourced and can be found in many grocery stores, and contains zero alcohol.
15. Soy Or Worcestershire Sauce
This might seem a little strange as a cognac alternative, but you can make it work in certain dishes with a little bit of experimentation.
Cognac Substitutes For Cooking
When substituting another wine for cognac in cooking, remember that what you are cooking determines the right substitute to use. Some cognac alternatives work better in certain dishes than others.
16. General Cooking
For general cooking purposes, bourbon, brandy, wine, and fruit juice are the best substitute option for cognac. They have similar flavors and are easily sourced.
If you have the time, you can experiment with many of the alternatives listed and get to know which you prefer. You can get a little creative and achieve something great.
Here are a few dishes that call for cognac and the most suitable replacements. These examples should help you to know what kind of substitutions work best with what kind of dishes.
17. French Onion Soup
Soy and Worcestershire sauces are an excellent alternative cognac in french onion soup.
A number of substitutes can be used in place of cognac in any gravy, including red and white wine, bourbon, brandy, and Armagnac.
19. Steak au Poivre
Combine lemon juice and rum to create a delicious substitute for cognac in steak au poivre. Brandy can also be used.
20. Beef Bourguignon
White or red wine, brandy, and sherry have similar flavor profiles to cognac, enabling them to bring out the dish’s flavors when used as a cognac replacement.
For cocktails, cognac can be replaced with sherry, wine, brandy, and fruit juices. You can opt for whatever drink sounds best for you.
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