Cognac Substitute – All Finest Liquor You Can Find

Referring to Cognac, people envision you taking a sip while smoking a cigar in a lavish space. Cognac is a rare liquor that fully converges the necessary elements to coordinate with all types of cuisine. However, there’s still Cognac Substitute in cooking that we would like to recommend for you in some cases.

Let’s dive right in!

What Are Good Cognac Substitutes For Cooking?

List of Cognac Substitute

Cognac is a type of wine that is made from grapes from the Cognac region of southwestern France.

The liquid must be distilled twice in copper jars and aged for at least two years in French Limousin or Tronçais oak barrels, giving it a distinctive flavor. Therefore, a substitute for Cognac must meet the wine requirements for the closest flavor match and color.

1. Brandy

Brandy is a liquid with an alcohol content of 35 – 60%, produced from the distillation of crushed fruit – aged in a wooden liquor cabinet for at least two years – then mixed with distilled water to reduce alcohol concentration. Brandy usually ranges in color from straw yellow to amber.

Grapes brandy is the most common. It is distilled from the fermentation of white grape juice and has a fairly long storage period in oak barrels to help the wine color and taste better.

Since they are distilled two times in an oak barrel brewed from the Limousin and Troncais forests, both randy and Cognac taste great and are very similar when combined with red meats and cream sauce.

Cheese is also a great choice to combine with a substitute for Cognac in recipe. Parmesan, Irish cheddar, or perennial Gouda combine perfectly with a delicate aromatic brandy that enhances and accentuates the wine’s finest properties and qualities. The salinity of the cheese is also very well matched with the tannic qualities of Cognac and brandy.

2. Armagnac

Armagnac is a very fragrant type of Brandy from the Gascony region, southwest of France. It is the first French brandy and is believed to have originated in the early fifteenth century.

Cognac and Armagnac are both famous French brands and are both made from wine. While Cognac usually uses only Ugni Blanc grapes, Armagnac uses three additional grapes: Folle Blanche, Colombia Ard, and Baco Blanc. However, Armagnac only goes through one distillation. The difference in this process greatly affects the end product.

Armagnac has a lighter alcohol content than Cognac, but since both are distilled from grapes, it still has some similar qualities. Armagnac has a more complex flavor profile and a bit drier than Cognac.

3. Sherry

Sherry is a fortified white wine from the Andalucía of Southern Spain, and it has been around for centuries. This wine has a rather dry flavor and is meant to be incorporated into food. This is a great replacement for Cognac in culinary methods such as flambe, toaster oven steak, or pastry processing.

If you are a drinker, Sherry might be your favorite wine that you have never tried. This wine is divided into two: sweet and not sweet.

Most Sherry wines go through a system of blending wines from different grape seasons. Sherry usually has an enamel coating on the surface to prevent alcohol exposure to oxygen and create distinct flavors in wooden crates.

Sherry with the latest fresh styles is Fino and Manzanilla. Fino: Sherry with elegant taste, light pale liquid color, and alcohol content from 15 to 17 degrees. Meanwhile, Manzanilla is not sweet and usually has an outstanding acrid taste.

4. Scotch Whiskey

If you are looking for a good cooking brandy, please take scotch whiskey (such as Rum extract or Bourbon – vanilla extract) into consideration as an excellent cognac substitute for cooking.

To drink good Whiskey with food, we should know some basic knowledge about distinguishing flavors and different types of Whiskey. The taste of Whiskey varies from mild to strong, from a little sweet and fruity to stronger scents like earth and smoke.

As a general rule, light Whiskey is good for seafood and spicy meals, strong Whiskey is good for protein-rich meals, while full beards are suitable for hearty dishes containing high-fat content.

The most popular dish when cooking with Cognac and Whiskey is cheese and ginger ale.

Whiskey and Cognac have quite a lot in common. Both are aged and have a complex taste. Hence, Whiskey is an excellent cognac replacement.

Cheddar cheese often goes with smoky Whiskey. At the same time, blue cheese and mushrooms go well with spicy Whiskey. Soft cheeses such as Brie cheese or goat milk cheese are very suitable for Whiskey with a mild aroma after a sweet taste.

5. Brandy extract

Brandy extract is a more concentrated version of the traditional brandy. This is a popular choice to substitute for Cognac in recipes, especially French-style cakes or red meat dishes with brown gravy.

According to savory recipes, 15ml of Apple brandy or wine grape brandy would be equivalent to about 5ml Alcohol-free Brandy extract substitute. The chef can customize the proportion of liquid for cooking to create a unique taste.

6. Fruit juice

Using juice like orange extract or white grape juice to substitute for Cognac in a recipe can be a risky option. This is because liqueur, though derived from fruits, often has to be distilled for decades in specialized cellars. Even the wooden wine barrel’s material has been carefully selected to create the fermentation that has made the character of the cooking method.

When we press the fruit, you will select pear, grape, or apple and put it in the press. For best results, choose fruits that are fresh, not crushed. It can still give off fruity flavors. However, the quality cannot be on par with fine wines because of the lack of yeast content.

7. Wine (white and red wine)

The finest, most sophisticated substitute for Cognac in cooking is French wine.

French wine is an old drink, and today the reputation of French wine has become widely popular around the world. This kind of liquor always retains its distinctive flavor, different from American wine or Italian wine.

Each wine, whether white, non-alcoholic white wine, or red, will be appropriate for different types of food. White wine (made from white grape juice) with high acidity and a fresh, clear flavor is suitable for seafood dishes, rich in fat, helping break down the food’s fat molecules. Thereby making the dish more delicious and elegant.

On the contrary, red wine with a prominent tannin flavor is suitable for red meat dishes with herbs anise, making the meat taste softer and richer. Red wine is also a great way that chefs often use to make corrections when they put too much garlic to marinate meat.

8. Bourbon

Bourbon Whiskey is an American whiskey, although its name comes from the French Bourbon dynasty. This is an alcoholic beverage that is produced from grain by fermentation and distillation. Bourbon has very strict rules in its classification.

It must be produced in the US, made from at least 51% corn. Once distilled, it is aged in completely unused oak barrels or oak casks. What’s more, wine artisans previously burned the inside of the barrel with a torch.

To be called Bourbon, the wine must not add any flavor or color other than the original ingredients such as corn, water, wheat or rye, malt. Finally, the distilled alcohol has an alcohol content of between 40 and 80%.

Bourbon has a taste that is not too similar to Cognac because they have different ingredients. However, when it comes to the visual effects and the dish’s aroma, Bourbon is also a worthy choice to consider. If we are observant when enjoying this wine, we will feel the sweetness of caramel, non-alcoholic vanilla extract, and starch from bread.

How to use cognac substitute for dishes?

Flambe is one of the essential cooking techniques for a professional chef. This delicious dish is prepared by this method to help reduce the pungent odor and enhance the inherent aroma of the food. You can use this method with any cognac alternative.

Besides, you will be extremely excited to watch how the chef makes a fire burning with wine that burns up and then goes out quickly after that. But the food is still not burnt, and especially it smells attractive.

To do this method, you need to pour alcohol on the surface of the food and light the sauce with alcohol to change the chemical composition of the food. Wine will boil at 78 ° C; water boils at 100 ° C and caramel in food is 170 ° C. The flambe technique will lead to a complicated chemical reaction when the food’s surface temperature exceeds 240 ° C, higher than the boiling point of both alcohol and sugar.

A professional chef must estimate a sufficient amount of liquid (usually about 50ml) to create a flame of a suitable height and ensure that the wine is completely evaporated when the heat is turned off. To enhance the dish’s rich flavor, chefs sometimes use a little orange peel, lemon peel mixed in wine to burn.


Cognac and Cognac substitute are both great ingredients to make an appetizer for guests’ meals. Wine cooking techniques are at the pinnacle of culinary arts all over the world. For each liquor, the chef needs to apply his experience to produce delicious and attractive dishes. We hope you found some inspiration from this post about Cognac cooking substitute, and thank you for reading.

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