Cooking Wine Vs. Regular Wine

A Fundamental Cooking Wine Vs. Regular Wine Comparison

While one would assume that you should use cooking wine for cooking, why is there still a debate about using cooking wine vs. regular wine? Let's find out here.
Tastessence Staff
Last Updated: Feb 23, 2018
Whether added as an ingredient in food or consumed alongside, wine has always been termed as an elegant drink that enhances the flavors of a meal. However, the type of wine and how it is used is very important so that it serves this purpose. This brings us to understanding how and when to use cooking wine or regular wine.

Difference

Cooking wine is made of grapes of a lower quality; these are not used to prepare the regular wine. Apart from this, this type of wine consists of salt, that is not present in drinking wine. Salt functions as a preservative so that the wine can be stored and reused at a later stage. With regular wine, once opened and stored, the taste is likely to change and turn sour. This is due to its exposure to oxygen. However, if stored in an airtight corked bottle in the refrigerator, it can be stored up to a month. The shelf life of cooking wine is definitely longer than this because of the presence of salt.

But is cooking wine actually used for cooking? The answer is, 'rarely'. Though there are popular varieties such as the popular Marsala cooking wine, the thumb rule followed by professionals and chefs is, 'do not cook with wine you would not serve'. Obviously, cooking wine cannot be drunk as it is. Further, the quality of grapes that are used in such wine is another reason chefs do not like using it to prepare gourmet meals. One may consider it a cheaper alternative to regular wine.

The conclusion here is that, when it comes to preparing a variety of meals, opting for regular wine is a better idea. If you must use wine and are worried about finishing off the expensive variety in preparing a meal, you may use a less expensive variety of regular drinking wine that resembles its texture and quality.

Cooking with Different Types of Wine

As mentioned earlier, using a less expensive (but not very cheap) variety of wine for cooking is a good idea to enhance the flavor and aroma of your food. Here are some choices for you, and some foods in which you can use these varieties.
  • Red Wine: Red wine is recommended by chefs to be used in sauces, as it increases their volume and adds a unique texture to it.
  • White Wine: White wine is considered to be of a more delicate variety and is recommended as an addition to enhance the flavors of various types of fish and other white meats. This is recommended for use in the preparation of white sauces.
  • Rose Wine: Rose wine is suggested as an addition to varieties of desserts, as it adds just the right amount of sweetness and flavor to it without altering the flavor of the dessert or the fruit used in it.
Knowing about the right amount of wine to use while cooking comes only with time and experience. Wine is always suggested as the last addition in the preparation of a meal so as to retain its flavors. The alcohol content evaporates in the process of cooking.

Avoid using cooking wine as much as you can, because it can never match up to the real flavors that regular wine has to offer. With the information provided in this piece, you will hopefully be able to use a variety of wines to enhance your meals.
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