Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at some great kirsch substitutes like cherry juice, grape juice, fruit brandy, fruit beer, vodka berry, red wine, and many more.
Each of these bottles serves the EXACT same purpose as kirsch, only that some are non-alcoholic, less expensive, and taste even better, which is a good thing if you’re on a budget but considering something special.
You can make your own mocktail and cocktail drinks, or add them in desserts such as fondue, cherries jubilee, black forest cake, as well as in glazes and sauces — basically anything kirsch can do; they can work as well.
What Is Kirsch?
Kirsch or kirschwasser is a clear, colorless, and intense cherry brandy made from fermented morello cherries, including their stones. Unlike other cherry liqueurs and brandies, kirsch does not have a sweet flavor or a thick consistency.
It has a cherry undertone with a little almond extract exotic and alcoholic aroma that spices up things.
Also, it is Switzerland’s most famous spirit. However, most people are turned off by the aggressive alcoholic percentage of about 40%–50%ABV (80–100 proof).
Well, if you’re not into alcohol or much of it, or you’re just simply looking for something tasty for your favorite desserts and cocktails, we’ve got you covered!
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9 Delicious Kirsch Substitutes You Can Try
1. Grape Juice
Rather than getting an expensive bottle of Kirsch for a cocktail, you can make an affordable but rich mocktail from crushing and blending grapes into a liquid.
If you’re not an alcoholic, this is the best choice for a tasty party drink.
Grape Juice is the perfect refreshing drink to take along with your snacks and meals. They also serve as an ingredient in pies and other tart recipes.
The tart and tangy flavor not only brings aromatic satisfaction to your taste buds but also offers doses of nutrition and health benefits.
Grapes contain vital vitamins and minerals, in particular, more than a quarter of the RDIs for vitamins K and C. These fat-soluble vitamins are essential for promoting healthy bones and reducing the risk of blood clots.
They also have high in health-protecting antioxidant contents that prevent chronic diseases like:
- Reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol.
- Help maintains a healthy blood pressure
- Decrease blood sugar levels and help prevent diabetes
- Enhance mood, memory, and attention.
- Counter certain types of cancer
Although this depends on the type of grape, how it was processed, as well as its geographic origin.
It turns out purple and dark red grapes are much higher in antioxidants than green or white grapes. So the choice is yours.
2. Cherry Juice
Cherry juice is a refreshingly delicious drink that provides a robust flavor. The subtle tartness and sweetness are almost like kirsch.
After all, kirsch is a mix of cherries. Just that cherry juice does not have that alcoholic content and bitterness to it.
They are an excellent alternative for making mocktails by yourself. You can either purchase a ready-to-serve cherry juice at the grocery store or do it yourself at home.
As a food enthusiast, I always prefer the fresh and vibrant taste, so I’d rather go for a homemade juice by blending a couple of fresh or dried cherries.
That way, I can store it for later use for black forest dessert, pie, or even salads and salsas. Still, using a ready-mixed juice isn’t that bad.
More than just a tasty beverage that provokes positive thoughts, it offers some solid health benefits.
3. Fruit Brandy
Where is the fun without a little booze?
We both know that intoxicating liquor recharges our inner batteries and spurs us to the fun realm. And fruit brandy is one such drink that keeps you in that vibe.
Thence, if you don’t like the bitter almond taste of kirsch, you can choose another fruit brandy, probably one with a sweet and fruity flavor.
There is a wide array of fruit brandies out there, and each varies in taste depending on where the fruit is made from. But they all have that fruity and citrus Zest signature.
We recommend cherries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and pears flavored brandy —especially strawberry and pears.
If you can’t find them around your vicinity, I’m positive these treasures will be readily available in a liquor store or specialty shops.
Furthermore, you can use this flavorful brandy to flambé desserts like bananas foster, bombe Alaska, cherries jubilee. You can as well use it to deglaze the pan and form a sauce or to braise meat pairing with other liquids.
Savorily, it goes well with all sorts of seafood and meats.
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4. Vodka Berry Mix
If there is one drink that deserves a place of honor on your bar cart, it should be vodka.
It is consistently one of the top-selling spirits in the US. So imagine mixing vodka and berries.
Particularly, I am fond of fruity beverages that are naturally sweetened. So if you are like me that enjoy sweet drinks, you will love this vodka.
One of the fun things about this distilled alcoholic beverage is how it works with other fruits.
Them coming together can help create a gorgeous summer cocktail that is sugar-free.
You can just take a shot of vodka, toss some crushed cherries in it and let it submerge.
Tah-Dah! You have made a last-minute kirsch with even a sweeter flavor and a strong ending at every gulp.
However, if you can’t get cherries, the chemistry is always right with sliced strawberries. You can even light up the mood with 3 fresh basil leaves and some ice, crushed or cubes.
5. White Wine
Does white wine even stand a chance?
While you are mysteriously drawn to the tasty kirsch flavors, you may think this staple would be hard to replace, especially if you’re thinking of making certain dishes with it.
What you don’t realize is white wine is a good choice for savory dishes as well as sauces —only it is not suitable for baking.
The fruity and light taste could go a long way for cocktails as well. There are different types of white wine. Some might be richer in taste and more promising to enhance the flavor profile of the dishes.
6. Red Wine
Having a bottle or two of Red wine in a bar is like a culture in most households for a special occasion.
Times like this are where we can’t reverse our beloved red wine, as it might just be the perfect kirsch substitute that saves the day.
I bet you would love the sweet, dry, astringent taste with less alcohol percent of about 12–15%.
They are ideal for tons of cocktail recipes and flavoring desserts. You can as well add them to slow-cooking stews or tomato sauces; for pan sauces for seared chicken, lamb, duck, or beef.
And consuming red wine moderately can help lower bad cholesterol, keep the heart healthy, regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk of cancer, and more.
The Softness in the mouth of this bubbly citrus, peach, or cherry, perhaps even almond flavors, can be used as a perfect ingredient for baking desserts.
So if you haven’t yet tasted a champagne cake, there is a first time for everything.
You are in for the taking. Go ahead and make that champagne-infused dessert.
Any of the cupcakes, floats, and trifles will impress your guests’ sweet tooth.
Pick concentrated champagne when whipping up your recipes so most of the flavors will be retained.
Other than sweet dishes, champagne also works for cocktails. The bubbles alone can complement just about any liqueur or fruit pairing.
8. Fruit Beer
Fruit Beer is one thing you can’t afford to miss.
This refreshing brew quenches your thirst in an instant. The sweet or tart, with a subtle hint of fruit flavor, never fails to tease your tongue.
Almost everyone’s choice is kriek lambic, a cherry-flavored Belgian beer that is most suitable for improving cheese fondue recipe or making a mocktail. Either way, this non-alcoholic beer is a fantastic kirsch substitute.
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9. Cherry Jam
Cherry Jam or preserve is a non-alcoholic substitute that has a fresh, sweet taste.
If you don’t want any alcoholic content in your dish, this is your best choice, as it is used strictly for desserts.
They spread easily and are ideal on toast, cheese, biscuits, muffins, pastries, or even as a cake filling.
However, ifyou have the trees ripening for a season in your garden, you can just harvest a couple of cherries to make your own jam or, better still, get the canned ones in the store.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Kirsch alcohol?
Kirsch is a clear brandy, an alcoholic drink of about 40%–50% ABV (80–100 proof) alcohol content; only it has a fruity flavor from the black morello cherries fused with almonds.
How do you serve kirsch?
The best way I’ve seen kirsch served case after case in different functions and parties for a drink is chilled as an apéritif or as an after-dinner digestif to assist digestion, especially after a heavy meal.
Why is kirsch so expensive?
Kirsch is pricey because it takes about 20-30 pounds of cherries to make just a bottle of Kirsch. Imagine the time and hustle.
What type of alcohol is kirsch?
Kirsch is a type of brandy made from distilling sour cherries.
Note it is different from cherry brandy as this is a spirit infused with cherries not distilled from them.
And if you’re wondering if it could be drunk straight, YES, it can. Kirschwasser can be imbibed neat. But it is normally served as a digestif.
I wholeheartedly believe the only way you can get what works best for you is if you experiment up on this list of kirsch substitutes above.
Single out the drink that speaks to you amongst others, and try replacing it for kirsch.
As you can see, we did our utmost to provide ample opportunity on both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.
So nothing could stop you from having your aperitif or after-dinner drink if you’re out of kirsch.
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