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Old 11-01-2012, 08:33 AM   #1
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Substitutions for alcohol

I teach high school foods. We are always looking for non-alcoholic substitutions. What do you suggest for cooking sherry?


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Old 11-01-2012, 08:52 AM   #2
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I would try apple juice or cider (non-alcoholic). White grape juice might be worth trying as well. It would depend on what you are using it in. Both will add some sweetness. I am sure others will be along shortly with more recommendations.

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Old 11-01-2012, 08:54 AM   #3
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I don't think there are non-alcoholic subs for alcohol in cooking. The flavor booze brings is just part of the picture. In addition, alcohol serves to release certain flavor compounds that are only soluble in alcohol. Your best bet is to choose recipes that don't call for it.

If you need to replace the liquid the booze represents, use water, chicken broth etc. depending on the recipe.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:02 AM   #4
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I would think you may be able to substitute with a wine vinegar, plus a little sugar to balance out the sourness of the vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar, the thick, gooey kind, might also work.

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Old 11-01-2012, 09:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by gogosews View Post
I teach high school foods. We are always looking for non-alcoholic substitutions. What do you suggest for cooking sherry?
It depends on what you are making. Often you can just leave it out.

And Andy's right about the fact that alcohol is used for more than just it's own flavor.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:43 AM   #6
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Brown swamp water for cooking sherry. Sorry. It's just that cooking sherry is so nasty. Good sherry is the proper substitute. Don't cook with something you wouldn't drink.

But I think it depends on the recipe. If it's Boeuf Bourguignon, non-alcoholic wine or grape juice with some wine vinegar to cut the sweetness sort of works and the merest touch of liquid smoke to fill in for the oak barrel . If it's cognac or another liquor or liqueur, there are extracts of nearly all of them. If you can accept the tiny amount of alcohol in other extracts, these should not be a problem.

Otherwise, I think it's a matter of your recipe coming out tasting a bit different, but the alcoholic product in the original added depth and flavor, and you might add a somewhat different depth and flavor with balsamic vinegar, bitters, and other things.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:59 AM   #7
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I'm with just leave it out for the most part.

BUT, for deserts there are flavorings, vanilla extract type things, and syrups meant for coffees. This is for where a recipe calls for liqueur or brandy. Use more sparingly than the recipe calls for, they will be sweeter and have no alcohol to balance the sweetness.

For savories, use them sparingly or they'll make it too sour, there are balsamic, white wine, and sherry vinegars. Where you might use a quarter cup of white wine, for example, you'd just use a dash of white wine vinegar.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:53 PM   #8
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I mostly don't cook with alcohol.

I used to have a web page bookmarked for substitutes. Can't put my finger on it today. So here's a different one. Maybe you can copy/paste condense it to the more common ones you find in recipes.

Alcohol Substitutions In Cooking, How To Substitute Alcohol

I would think look for a different recipe, such as if someone wants to learn CHicken Marsala, which would be a primary ingredient, I would steer them towards Orange Chicken or Pineapple chicken or something way different. The students should learn that cooking and menu making is flexible.

However, I don't think cooking with alcohol is the issue, more is it age appropriate in today's schools. So hiding / substituting / avoiding may not be the best answer. Kids don't like to be played down-to either. Here's a big bottle of grape juice vs here's wee dram of good irish whiskey. Teaching responsible use is better. But the school powers that be probably don't want you to use it in class at all. Which is why I would go for an entirely different recipe. Then there is no debate.
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Old 11-01-2012, 01:14 PM   #9
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They now make alcohol free wines.

Non-Alcoholic Wine | Wine Shop | Total Wine & More

Hope this would be acceptable to your needs.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:59 AM   #10
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Makes you wonder whether folks from cultures that use alcohol quite a bit in their cooking actually change things up. I seriously doubt it. Reminds me how foolish the Dept. of Agriculture looks, putting specifications on curing requirements on things like proscuitto being imported. The Italians have been curing and eating it, their way, for hundreds of years. I think they know what they're doing. There is a taste and texture difference between the good stuff and the export stuff.

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