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28 Cognac Substitutes (Alcohol & Non-Alcohol) in Cooking/Drinking

Cognac is a naturally distilled beverage from the French region of Cognac, which is traditionally made from a grain blend. It is famous for its unique flavor profile and strong kick.

However, it’s not always readily available, so here are some options to help you find an alternative.

To help you make your decision, here is a list of substitutes that contain alcohol:

  1. Brandy
  2. Armagnac
  3. White wine
  4. Sherry
  5. Cooking wine
  6. Extract from coffee liqueur
  7. Bourbon
  8. Whiskey
  9. Dark Rum
  10. Brandy extract

For those who’re looking for some non-alcoholic options:

  1. Soy Sauce
  2. Apple cider vinegar
  3. Cherry cider syrup
  4. Pure chocolate extract
  5. Variety of fruit juices
  6. Non-alcoholic mint Or peppermint extract
  7. Coffee syrup
  8. Heavy syrup
  9. Cherry cider syrup
  10. Balsamic vinegar
  11. Rice vinegar
  12. Unsweetened apple juice
  13. Orange extract
  14. Corn syrup
  15. Peach syrup or peach juice
  16. Almond extract
  17. Non-alcoholic sweet wine
  18. Clam juice

If you’re looking for a cognac substitute for cooking:

Recipes

Substitutions

Cocktails

Brandy, Calvados, Rum, fruit juice

Gravy

Armagnac, Brandy, cooking wine

Beef Stroganoff

Brandy, Sherry

Salads

Sherry, Brandy, Brandy extract, fruit juice

Desserts

Sherry, Brandy, Calvados, Red/White wine

Seafood

Scotch Whiskey, Rum, Red/White wine

Poultry

Cooking wine, Brandy, Calvados, Sherry, Rum

Beef/Steak

Brandy, Sherry, Calvados, Rum

Alcoholic Substitute for Cognac

Brandy

brandy

Brandy has to be at the top of our suggestion list regarding substitution. Cognac itself, a type of brandy, has almost the same characteristics, including taste. To a person who isn’t very experienced, they’ll both taste more or less the same.

Whether for cooking or drinking, brandy will do the job if you don’t have Cognac. However, if you’re using brandy for cooking, we suggest you use a brandy that doesn’t have a particular flavor.

Armagnac

armagnac

Armagnac is a brandy that tastes almost the same as Cognac. Since they both have similar tastes, Armagnac is one of the best substitutes for Cognac.

Apart from that, some might find it more advantageous to use Armagnac for cooking. Armagnac is readily available and also more affordable than Cognac.

Wines: Red, White and Port

sweet wine

Cognac and wine have a lot in common since they’re both made from grapes. There’s a variety of options you can choose from.

But you have to keep in mind which kind of wine you’re using. Different types of wine are suitable for different types of dishes.

For example, White wine is good for making sauces or desserts.

If you’re talking about dishes involving meat, Red wine is the better option.

You can also use Port wine for making sweet dishes. But do keep in mind to use Port wine that isn’t too sweet.

Sherry

sherry

Although sherry has a slightly similar flavor to Cognac, it might be sweeter. It’s a good option for desserts if you’re out of Cognac.

Since sherry has properties that reduce acidity, it’s also suitable for savory dishes. If your savory dish lacks sweetness, you can use it to make up.

Cooking Wine and Some Sweeteners

Substituting Cognac with cooking wine with sweeteners won’t give you the exact taste. But the good part is that you can do a good enough job.

When you use cook wine, the result will be pretty close to what you would get if you used Cognac.

Cooking wines are suitable for use with desserts since some of them are sweet. But you can always use them in gravy and sauces as well.

Extract from Coffee Liqueur

extract from coffee liqueur

Although the extract from coffee liqueur is considered non-alcoholic, it does contain a small amount of alcohol. If you want to cook using only a minuscule amount of alcohol, extract from coffee liqueur is a good option.

Don’t hesitate to use it as a Cognac substitute because it will get the job done. This way, you can intake less alcohol without compromising on the taste.

Bourbon

bourbon

Although bourbon has a more robust flavor than Cognac, it’s still a good substitute.

It’s better to use bourbon that doesn’t have a particular flavor like brandy. This way, the recipe you cook won’t be that different from a recipe cooked using Cognac.

To substitute Cognac with bourbon, we recommend using ⅓ the amount of Cognac.

Bonus: a Bourbon substitute can also replace Cognac.

Whiskey

whiskey

In drinking and cooking, you can use whiskey instead of Cognac and vice versa.

Using the same amount of whiskey as cognac results in a different taste than intended since whiskey tastes more intense and is more potent than Cognac.

So it’s wise to use a smaller amount of whiskey if you’re cooking, especially when you’re cooking savory or sweet dishes.

Dark Rum

dark rum

Dark rum is also an excellent candidate to substitute Cognac for cooking. You’ll only need a little bit of Dark rum because of its strength.

Dark rum is suitable for sweet recipes. But we recommend you not to use it for savory dishes. In savory dishes, the taste is everything, and using dark rum might ruin it.

When substituting, use ⅓ of dark rum to the Cognac you would have used.

Non-Alcoholic Substitute for Cognac

Soy Sauce

soy sauce

If you want a non-alcoholic substitute for Cognac, soy sauce is probably not what comes to mind.

Although it’s saltier than Cognac, soy sauce can still do a great job when cooking savory dishes. The trick is to use a lesser amount of soy sauce, and that way, your dish won’t taste too salty.

Apple Cider Vinegar

peach nectar and apple cider vinegar mixture

If you’re looking for a cognac-like taste in your dish but don’t want that alcohol, we have the solution.

Since you want to add some sourness to your meal, apple cider vinegar is the perfect substitution for Cognac. Many people would use apple cider vinegar for cooking dishes that involve meat.

Note that apple cider vinegar is different from apple cider. Apple cider is a drink while apple cider vinegar is used for cooking.

Cherry Cider Syrup

Cherry Cider Syrup is something you can use in almost all drinks, even if they’re non-alcoholic. It should do the trick if you add a sour touch to your beverage.

Apart from drinks, you can also use cherry cider syrup for cooking if you’re out of Cognac. The common way to use it is in savory dishes.

Pure Chocolate Extract

pure chocolate extract

Chocolate Extract or Pure Chocolate Extract is a dark brown liquid made from cocoa beans soaked in alcohol.

You might be used to baking cakes or cookies using Cognac. But in case you’re out of Cognac or can’t find it, you can try Pure Chocolate Extract.

Fruit Juice

fruit juice

You can also substitute Cognac with fruit juice for different recipes and cocktails.

If you’re making a sweet recipe, it might be better to use a lesser amount since fruit juices are sweeter than Cognac.

Final Thoughts

Many people love Cognac because they enjoy the flavor, although some may not agree with the hefty price tag. Luckily, many substitutes can provide a similar taste without spending as much money.

If you’re thinking of substituting an expensive and delicious Cognac with something cheaper, the above options will help you out.

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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