In addition to its appeal as an alcoholic beverage, Cognac is also used to add a rich flavor to a number of sweet and savory recipes. But if you don’t have any in your liquor cabinet, there are also a few other ingredients that you can use as a Cognac substitute.
Whether you’re baking a black forest cake or whipping up some homemade gravy, you might encounter the need for a Cognac substitute. With these tips, you might even find that a suitable alternative is already in your cupboard.
What is Cognac?
Before we reveal the best Cognac substitute options, we should first explain a bit more about this beverage and how it’s made. Cognac is a kind of wine grape brandy that is made exclusively in the Cognac region of France. There are strict regulations regarding the production of the spirit, and only certain types of grapes are allowed to be used.
After Cognac is made into brandy, it must be aged for at least two years in oak barrels. Different types of Cognac are defined based on how long they are aged. As you might expect, the longer that the spirit is aged, the deeper and richer it tastes. Many people describe the flavor of Cognac as robust and spicy, with notes of leather, citrus, and full-bodied.
What can you use as a Cognac substitute?
There are several reasons why you might need a Cognac substitute in the kitchen. It has many applications in both sweet and savory dishes.
This rich alcohol is often used in the production of bakery items like chocolate cake, truffles, and ganache. It’s also used in fruity desserts since it pairs well with sweet flavors like apple, pear, and peach.
At the same time, Cognac is also used to make non-dessert recipes. It’s typically added to meat and meaty sauces, like steak, wings, and gravy.
If you’re making one of these items and can’t seem to find any Cognac, there’s no need to worry. Instead, grab one of these Cognac substitute options and get to work.
Other types of brandy
Since Cognac is a type of brandy, you can pretty easily swap out other types of brandy in your food. When using brandy as a replacement for Cognac in cooking, you won’t really be able to taste a huge difference. You can also try using sherry.
Other types of alcohol
If you can’t get your hands on either Cognac or brandy, you can also try different alcoholic spirits. Rum, whiskey, and bourbon can all be used to some degree of success, but be aware that it will change the flavor of your end product.
As we mentioned above, Cognac goes nicely with fresh and fruity flavors. If you need to replace this spirit in your recipe with a non-alcoholic option, try a peach, pear, or apricot-flavored drink.
While Cognac certainly has a distinct flavor, it is still possible to use an alternative ingredient without compromising the taste of your food. Experiment with these substitutes to find the right one for your dish.
For more cooking tips and ideas, check out the Tastessence blog.