7 Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Brandy Substitutes

My mother loves to splash brandy in her recipes. She says adding brandy in recipes adds a flair to food. I agree! Brandy indeed gives a distinct flavor to cuisines.  

But what if we need an alternative? Do you know the best brandy substitutes that can be suitable replacements in brandy recipes? 

If not, then keep on reading. As for your convenience, we have listed some alcoholic and non-alcoholic substitutes for brandy that can easily be found in your kitchen.

Brandy – More than just a Drink

The picture shows a bottle and a glass of brandy.

Brandy is a distilled spirit made from fermented fruit juice. Grapes are most commonly used to manufacture brandy distilled wine. Still, other fruits such as apple, apricot, peach are also used to make brandy. It’s enjoyed worldwide, but Brazil, Germany, India, Russia, and the Philippines are top brandy consumers. 

Brandy in Cooking

Brandy’s fruity flavor and oaky overtones make it an excellent match for both sweet and savory cuisines. 

In desserts, flambé dishes like bananas foster, cherries jubilee, and bombe Alaska asks for brandy. 

On the savory side, brandy pairs well with a wide range of meats and shellfish. It’s frequently used to deglaze a pan, make a sauce, or braise meat cut with other liquids.

Taste

The flavor of brandy varies depending on the fruit from which it is made and how old it is. It is typically sweeter than whiskey and has a flowery, fresh, dried fruit and citrus zest flavor.

Recipes That Call for Brandy

Brandy works well in many recipes. However, the dishes that cannot work without brandy are:

Breakfast Crepes. The brandy and vanilla give the crepe its flavor, which can be improved by adding an apple or apricot jelly.

Brandy Creme Brulee. The creamy brandy-flavored custard in these bite-sized nuggets is sweetened with a caramel glaze.

Brandy Snaps: Yummy! Molasses cookies with brandy cream.

Bella Brandy Crème Sauce. A creamy brandy sauce with chicken and mushrooms. 

Steak with a Brandy-Caramel Sauce. Brandy sauce that goes well with meat. 

Nutrition Facts of Brandy 

The USDA provides nutritional information for brandy’s one-shot (42g or 1.5 ounces).

Calories 97
Fat 0g
Sodium 0.42mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Alcohol 14g

Health Benefits of Brandy

There are some health benefits of brandy that are linked to the micronutrients found in certain fruits. There are also some claims that the aging process in brandy has health benefits. However, there is a scarcity of high-quality human research that supports the health benefits of brandy drinking.

  • Stress Reduction: 

Alcohol is widely drunk to relieve stress, and research supports this claim. The moderate use of brandy in recipes has been found to help with stress alleviation. 

  • Antioxidant Potential: 

Like those found in brandy, antioxidants function to rid your cells of free radicals, allowing you to feel good. 

  • May Help Sleep Better: 

In many cultures and places, a nightcap is regarded as traditional to aid in a good night’s sleep. While a tiny amount of whiskey may suffice for some, brandy is also a viable option for sleeping. 

Note: While there’s no denying that brandy can put you out quickly, it’s essential to realize that it’s not a cure.

 

7 Options That Work Best as Brandy Substitutes – Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic

What is the best substitute for brandy? 

In my opinion, whiskey is the best alcoholic substitute for brandy due to its similar flavor profile and alcohol concentration. The fruit extract is the best non-alcoholic substitute for brandy because of its fruity flavor, with apple, grape, apricot, and peach producing the best results. 

But to each, their own. Therefore, I am listing more options to have a variety to choose from. 

If you want to use an alcoholic replacement, read down and select the options that best match your needs. Alternatively, pick a brandy substitute from non-alcoholic options. 

4 Alcoholic Brandy Substitutes – Just Like Brandy

Substitute#1: Rum – The Sweet Substitute

The picture shows a bottle of rum.

Rum is sweet alcohol. It is a good brandy substitute for cookies. Adding it into your recipes may alter the taste of your dish to some extent. However, the difference will be barely discernible and suitable for your desserts. It is because the sweetness of the rum will help balance the flavor of your dish. You can dilute it with water if you want it to be less sweet. You can also use equal amounts of rum.

Nutrition Facts of Rum

The USDA provided nutritional information for rum’s one-shot (42g or 1.5 ounces) is precisely the same as that of brandy.

Calories 97
Fat 0g
Sodium 0.42mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Fiber 0g
Sugar 0g
Protein 0g
Alcohol 14g

Taste

Rum tastes like sugar, but the sweetness is significantly reduced throughout the distillation process. As a result, it’s dry while maintaining a typical nectareous flavor.

Health Benefits of Rum 

  • Good for Heart: 

Regularly drinking rum in moderation will help you maintain a healthy and robust heart. Rum has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment for peripheral artery disease and prevent arterial blockage in the body.

  • Cures a Common Cold:

Rum aids in healing cold and flu quickly as it has anti-bacterial properties. It can also give your relief from a sore throat. 

  • Relief from Sore Muscles:

It aids in the increase of bone minerals in the body, which in turn aids in the treatment of muscle discomfort. People constantly battling muscular pain should rely on rum to entirely alleviate their aches.

 

Substitute#2: Whiskey – Hey! Let’s Keep It to The Cooking.

 The picture shows a glass of whiskey with ice cubes.

Whiskey is produced from the fermentation of grains. One of the most preferred alcoholic substitutes for brandy is whiskey. Whiskey has a different flavor and texture than brandy. Still, it will work well in your recipes if you use it in lesser quantity. 

Taste

It’s smoky, malty, and salty, with deep complexity. 

Nutrition Facts of Whiskey

These nutrients are included in a 30-milliliter serving of 100 proof whiskey.

Calories 123
Fat 0g
Carbohydrates 0g
Fiber 0g
Sugar 0g
Protein 0g

Health Benefits of Whiskey

Here are some health benefits of whiskey.

  • May Help Reduce Cancer Risk: 

Whiskey includes ellagic acid, killing malignant cells. The acid suppresses tumor cell proliferation, promotes apoptosis, and disrupts the DNA-carcinogen bond. It also prevents virus infection and interferes with inflammation and other necessary processes for tumor formation.

  • May Improve Blood Sugar Levels: 

Whiskey has a lower glycaemic index than other spirits. According to a study, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may assist in lowering the incidence of type 2 diabetes (6). Binge drinking, on the other hand, has the opposite impact.

  • May Benefit Your Heart Health: 

According to various studies, a whiskey drink per day may benefit your heart health. It lowers your heart disease and heart failure chances. According to Harvard research, a moderate amount of alcohol increases the amount of “good cholesterol” in your blood. It’s is a natural way to protect yourself from heart disease.

 

Substitute#3: Wine – White or Red?

Wine

Taste 

The taste of a wine is divided into three categories: sweetness, acidity, and tannin. Sweetness and acidity are well-known flavors linked to the wine’s dryness.

Nutrition Facts of Wine

A 150-milliliter serving of red wine has the following ingredients:

Calories 125
Fat 0g
Sodium 0.42mg
Carbohydrates 4g
Fiber 0g
Sugar 1g
Protein 0g
Alcohol 14g

Health Benefits of Wine

Here are some health benefits of wine.

  • Reduces the Risk of Cancer: 

The regular and moderate use of red wine can effectively reduce the incidence of diseases such as basal cell carcinoma, colon cancer, prostate carcinoma, ovarian cancer, and others. 

  • Keeps memory sharp: 

According to studies, the antioxidant resveratrol found in red wines inhibits the production of beta-amyloid protein, a crucial component of Alzheimer’s plaque.

  • Reduces the risk of depression:

According to a study conducted on middle-aged to elderly persons, drinking a moderate amount of alcohol keeps depression at bay. Red wine drinkers are less prone to suffer from depression than those who do not.

 

Substitute#4: Gin – The Alcoholic Bloom

The picture shows a bottle of gin.

Gin is produced from grain or malt and undergoes a distillation process. Gin has a crisp and harsh herbaceous flavor, which is quite distinct from the fruity fermented flavors of brandy. It is not a suitable replacement for brandy in all recipes, but it goes great with meat, especially chicken or game meat.

Taste 

Gin has a strong alcohol “bloom” or fragrance because it is neither aged nor barrelled. Because citrus peels are frequently utilized in the gin-making process, gin usually has a pronounced citrus scent and flavor.

Nutrition Facts of Gin

The US Department of Agriculture provides nutritional information for one-shot (42g or 1.5 ounces) of 80 proof gin (40 percent alcohol by volume).

Calories 97
Fat 0g
Sodium 0.42mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Fiber 0g
Sugar 0g
Protein 0g
Alcohol 14g

Health Benefits of Gin

Here are some health benefits of gin

  • Helps you live longer: 

Juniper berries are high in flavonoids, which can help prevent heart disease and improve blood circulation as you age.

  • Best for your bones: 

Gin’s composition reduces achy joints and gout, and its alcohol concentration, when combined with the juniper berries, can be an excellent treatment for chronic pain and inflammations like arthritis.

  • Fight off coughs: 

Coughs can be reduced by the oils found in juniper berries, which help clear mucus from the throat and ease congestion in the lungs. Gin can be blended with various herbs and substances, including ginger, to help reduce a sore throat.

 

3 Non-Alcoholic Brandy Substitutes – Similar Taste Without Alcohol

Substitute#5: Apple Juice – Somewhat Sweet, Somewhat Sour

The picture shows a glass full of fresh apple juice with fresh apples.

Even though the taste profile is slightly different, Apple juice is one of the best brandy alcohol-free substitutes. Although many fruit juices must be diluted before being used in a recipe, apple juice is OK. You may use the same 1:1 ratio to measure the amount of apple juice used in place of brandy.

Taste 

Much of the taste in apple juice comes from fresh apples. It has a sweet taste with a bit of piquancy or sourness.  To replace it with brandy, choose apple juice that is not too concentrated to taste like candy.

Nutrition Facts of Apple Juice

The nutrients in one medium 7-ounce (200-gram) apple are as follows:

Calories 104
Carbs 28g
Fiber 5g
Vitamin C 10% of the DV
Copper 6% of the DV

Health Benefits of Apple Juice

Here are some health benefits of apple juice:

  • Lowers the risk of dementia: 

Several studies have shown that drinking apple juice regularly reduces the risk of dementia in the elderly. Apple juice also helps slow down the brain’s aging and keeps it sharp for a longer time.

  • Improves vision: 

Apple juice is high in vitamin A, good for your eyes. Vitamin A maintains your vision bright and protects your eyes from disorders.

  • Provides Energy: 

Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, and folate are just a few of the critical components found in apple juice. Because they are high in all of these nutrients, they help provide your body with a lot of energy.

 

Substitute#6: Brandy Extract – Just a Wee Bit of Alcohol

Brandy Extract

If you desire a non-alcoholic brandy flavor, alcohol-free brandy extract is the closest thing you’ll get. It’s widely used to replace the fragrant and sweet characteristics brandy provides, especially in dessert dishes.

You can dilute one-part extract with four parts water and use it the same way you use brandy in a sauce or marinade.

Taste 

This fantastic flavor includes no alcohol, but it tastes like fresh-from-the-bottle brandy. 

Nutrition Facts of Brandy Extract

An ounce of brandy can have 65 calories, whereas flavored brandy can have over 80. A single drink is equal to 1.25 ounces of brandy. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, women should limit themselves to one drink per day. At the same time, males should restrict themselves to two drinks per day.

Energy 231
Water 66.6
Iron, Fe 0.04mg
Potassium, k 2mg

Health Benefits of Brandy Extract

Brandy extract, although alcohol-free, has the same health benefits as Brandy. 

  • Might Boost Immune System: 

Brandy is a popular and tasty liquor that may help to strengthen the immune system. It has been used to treat a common cold or flu for hundreds of years. It contains natural warming characteristics and a soothing quality that helps you have a good night’s sleep. It also has antimicrobial properties.

  • Can Aid in Improving Heart Health: 

Brandy’s antioxidant properties may aid in lowering the quantity of bad cholesterol in the heart. It helps to keep cholesterol levels in check and prevent plaque build-up. Furthermore, the polyphenolic components may help reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system, which eases blood vessel strain and lowers blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.

  • Might Have Anti-Aging Properties: 

Brandy’s antioxidant properties may help prevent wrinkles on the skin, cognitive difficulties, poor vision, and other chronic ailments that emerge as we age.

 

Substitute#7: White Grape Juice – Not So White Actually

It’s a glass of white grape juice and a bowl and glass filled with fresh white grapes.

Consider white grape juice if you need another non-alcoholic option to replace brandy in recipes. Contradictory to its name, white grapes are actually green in color. White grape juice can be utilized in savory and sweet recipes and used in both cooking and baking. Its sweetness pairs nicely with meat meals like chicken or pork. 

Taste 

White grapes have a much lighter, crisper flavor than red or purple grapes in general. Therefore, white grapes juice has an herbaceous flavor and a refreshing taste. 

Nutrition Facts of White Grape Juice

A 12-cup serving of unsweetened grape juice comprises the following ingredients:

Calories 76
Fat 0g
Carbohydrates 19g
Fiber 0g
Sugar 18g
Protein 1g

Health Benefits of White Grape Juice

The benefits of drinking white grape juice are:

  • Reduce Risk of Disease: 

Grape juice is abundant in antioxidants, which can help the body protect itself from free radicals. Free radicals are hazardous elements found in the environment or processed foods. They can lead to the development of heart disease, cancer, and other disorders by causing harm to cells.

  • Improve Heart Health: 

Grape juices may have the same benefits as red wine regarding cardiovascular health. Protecting blood vessels, lowering the danger of blood clots, and maintaining good blood pressure and cholesterol levels are all advantages of red wine and grape juice.

  • Lower Blood Pressure: 

Grape juice contains potassium, which can assist persons with high blood pressure get rid of extra sodium in their bodies. By relaxing the blood vessel walls, potassium can also reduce blood pressure.

Note: The result may be altered when you use a non-alcoholic replacement for a recipe that calls for alcohol. Alcohol helps create texture, flavor, and consistency in some dishes. However, if you still want a non-alcoholic substitute such as apple juice, lower the juice’s sweetness by diluting it with water.

 

FAQ’s Related to Brandy Substitutes

What can I use instead of brandy?
We have many other options for brandy substitutes like alcoholic and non-alcoholic substitutes:
Alcoholic Substitutes: Wine, gin, rum, whiskey, and vodka are the best alcoholic substitutes for brandy.
Non-Alcoholic Substitutes: Apple juice, white grape juice, brandy extract, and fruit extract are the best non-alcoholic substitutes for brandy.
What can I replace brandy within sangria?
Rum is the best brandy substitute in sangria. It makes a well-balanced drink that sweetens the overall taste.
Can you use whiskey instead of brandy?
Yes, you can replace the brandy with the exact amount of whisky.
What can I substitute for brandy in French onion soup?
Vinegar is a suitable alternative for brandy in soups. It shouldn’t matter which type of vinegar you use as long as you’re using it with grape juice. However, for Brandy’s substitute in French onion soup, red wine vinegar is the best option as the alcohol it formerly contained has been converted into acetic acid.

 

Conclusion

Brandy is frequently used in the kitchen for cooking and baking. It boosts the taste of meat and desserts. However, if we don’t have brandy, we can replace it with other alcoholic drinks such as whiskey, rum, gin, and wine. Or we can also replace brandy with non-alcoholic substitutes, for instance, apple, white grapes juice, or brandy extract. 

We hope you find our brandy substitutes helpful and convenient. Please inform us about your opinions in the comments. 

Thanks for reading.

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