Cognac is doubly-distilled brandy from a place in France by the same name. The drink is graded by aging (three, five, or seven years). You can buy Cognac in most grocery stores or liquor stores.
However, if you don’t have Cognac on hand, you can use a good-quality Brandy for drinking. Or cooking. Rum is another great substitute for Cognac if you want to alter the flavor of your finished dish.
If you’re looking for a non-alcohol substitute for Cognac, look no further than juice from pears, apricots, or peaches. You can use a half teaspoon of brandy extract per one to half teaspoons of Cognac needed as well.
If you want to learn more about Cognac substitute for different recipes, read on.
What is Cognac Similar to?
First of all, Cognac is a kind of brandy. Thus, any other kind of brandy makes a great substitute. Your dish will get a distinct flavor but nothing too different. It depends on your dish.
Another good substitute for Cognac that you may already have in your kitchen is white wine. Watch out for chardonnays or other oak-forward white wines. They can go bitter when reduced.
Always keep a couple of bottles of cheap grocery-store Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio in the home for this type of application. White grape juice and apple juice make good alternatives too!
The alcohol doesn’t alter the flavor of your dish too much except if you’re making a long-cooked tomato sauce. In this case, the extraction of alcohol-soluble flavor complements the tomato sauce.
Watch out for extreme sweetness. You can also dilute the juice with water so your sauce doesn’t end up sweet. Remember, any water-type liquid can be replaced with other liquid of the same type.
Liquids like liqueurs, stock, wine, and fruit just are made of water with small amounts of flavorful things in them. This, when a dish calls for any type of water composed liquid, it does so first because it requires water at that point. This is usually for dissolving flavor in other ingredients in your recipe.
Meaning, adding any type of water composed liquid including water will generally work. The results will differ. However, not so dramatically as to turn your dish into something inedible.
Cognac Substitute Non-Alcoholic:
- Pears or Peach Juice
Cheap Brandy will work well as a substitute for Cognac in cocktails or cooking applications, especially in recipes where alcohol isn’t the main element. Don’t utilize it to cook with it if you wouldn’t consume it.
Sherry is another good substitute for Cognac for cooking.
However, I would also recommend keeping around a few of those mini bottles of Cognac. I used to drink Cognac when I was younger. Now, I just utilize it for cooking and cocktails.
Since I don’t need a 750ml bottle of Cognac around, I always purchase small ones just in case I need this liquid for cooking. The small bottles of Cognac also fit well in my pantry space.
I would also recommend marsala and red wine as substitutes for Cognac. They would all work. If you opt for sherry, make sure it’s not too sweet or you will spoil the flavor of your dish.
Lastly, if you want a non-alcoholic substitute for Cognac, opt for juice from pears, apricots, or peaches. It makes a great choice. Also, since Cognac is created from grapes, you can utilize unsweetened grape juice or other juices (apricot, peach, or apple juice) as long as they don’t have added sugar.
Non-alcoholic brandy and wine can also be used as substitutes for Cognac. You can buy them in the local supermarket if you want to stick to something very similar to brandy.
Cognac Substitute For Cocktail:
- Apricot or Peach Juice
As I already stated, Cognac is created from grapes. Wine is too! Therefore, you can replace Cognac with wine in your recipes that require Cognac. However, pay attention to the type of wine.
Utilize a wine with a similar taste as Cognac. Opt for a full-bodied or medium-bodied wine that isn’t too sweet. Opt for port wine, sherry, or apricot, peach, or apple juice without added sugar.
Substitute for Cognac in Gravy:
- White Wine
- Red Wine
Although it’s difficult to find a good substitute for Cognac as a drink, it’s not when it’s utilized as a gravy ingredient. Cognac is a brandy from an area in France by the same name.
Therefore, any Brandy would work. If you’re using this drink, you’re probably aiming for gravy for flesh. If you’re utilizing 80-proof booze when preparing meat, you’re either doing deglazing or flambeing. Thus, Brandy and Armagnac make great substitutes for Cognac in brown gravy.
Keep in mind that any brandy created from grapes is a great alternative. Avoid fruit brandies. They spoil the flavor. Other great substitutes include white wine, red wine, brandy, and Bourbon.
Any of these will apply a great, distinct flavor to your gravy. Sometimes, I also utilize beer. Or denatured wine (alcohol-free). You can get it in the local supermarket. If your recipe asks for 1/4 cup of Cognac, use double that amount of beer or wine. Check out this delicious gravy recipe!
Cognac Substitute for Steak Au Poivre:
- Lemon Juice, Rum
- Bearnaise Sauce
Brandy makes a perfect substitute for Cognac in recipes, including Steak Au Poivre. If you’re baking, you can also try rum. It’s different but it’s equally as good in baked goods.
If you’re sauteeing something, use white wine as a substitute for Cognac. It would work just as well. Yes, it will taste different but won’t spoil the dish. You can also try lemon juice. However, don’t use too much lemon juice, or else it will just make taste lemony instead of “cognacky”.
Sidenote: Always have a small bottle of Cognac in your kitchen or any other type of brandy. You can buy it at your local supermarket. It’s one of those small bottles that fit in your pocket.
Brown liquors make great substitutes for Cognac as well. They won’t deliver the same taste but they will still be good. I usually make my Steak Au Poivre with Johnnie Walker or Jack Daniels.
Replacing generic brandy for Cognac is acceptable when flambeing a small amount. But pay attention to the type of brandy. Always use grape brandy instead of those made with other fruits.
It’s fine to cook without Cognac. You can deglaze the pan with beef stock if you want. It will be different. However, it’s still good. I’ve cooked it without cognac or brandy numerous times.
If you’re searching for a non-alcoholic substitute for Cognac, use Bearnaise sauce. It’s different from the cream sauce for Steak Au Poivre. However, it’s still French, creamy, and delicious.
Cognac Substitute Beef Bourguignon:
- Dry Sherry
- White Wine
- Red Wine
Did you know that “brandy” as a term was represented in Europe in the 16th century? It originates from the word “brandewijn”. This word represents “burnt wine”.
The Dutch stated some of their barrels as unsatisfying when considered as wine but fine for a new spirit. Cognac is a brandy that just doesn’t respond to the wine requirements.
However, it’s made of grapes. Therefore, you would have no issue replacing Cognac with wine or brandy when cooking. Make sure that it’s not a flavored brandy such as apricot.
Otherwise, you will alter the taste. When using wine, make sure that it’s similar to Cognac. Opt for a full-bodied or medium-bodied wine that’s not too sweet like port wine or sherry.
Avoid bold wines with pepper tones such as syrah. Australians refer to it as “Shiraz”. They can alter the flavor of your completed dish. I usually utilize dry sherry. Or white wine.
I’ve even used red wine and I can assure you it tastes amazing!
Cooking tip: cook with the mushrooms in a dry cast-iron skillet until they let out their juices and brown before you apply them to your sauce. A bit of freshly grated nutmeg at the end stirred in is also delicious.
Cognac Substitute French Onion Soup:
- White Wine
- Soy Sauce
French onion soup is a traditional dish that appears like a hot mess when it’s served due to the delicious melted cheese that’s usually crusted down the sides of the small pot.
If you’re looking for a Cognac substitute for French onion soup, look no further than white wine. You can also use some Worcestershire or soy sauce. Also, don’t forget that Brandy isn’t necessary when it comes to this dish. Therefore, if you don’t have Cognac, you can go without it.
When you’re not in a rush and you have spare time on your hands, consider experimenting with flavored liquids. You could make something totally different but still delicious!
For instance, instead of preparing chicken with Cognac, use apple brandy to make a cake with pineapple juice. Start with the same proportion of liquid that’s stated in your recipe.
Then, adjust if necessary. Hopefully, this article can help you with your cooking. Remember, any type of brandy except for ones made with fruits makes a great Cognac substitute.