Cognac Substitute: Best Alternatives in Cooking That You Shouldn’t Miss

Cognac is a premium wine that is only made in Cognac, France and has been fermented for two years or more in oak barrels.

Each bottle of the grape-based spirit must have at least 40% alcohol content. 

This alcoholic beverage is highly costly because of the stringent criteria for its production.

What should you do if you can’t find this wine or you don’t want to use alcohol in your recipes? What can be a Cognac substitute

This article will show you both alcohol and non-alcohol alternatives for this wine. Look through and discover the most suitable choice. Let’s dive in!

What Is Cognac? 

Contrary to what its name would imply, Cognac is indeed simpler. It is a specific brandy created in the western French commune that bears its name.

Like the most outstanding wines, it is associated with a specific geographic location and must be produced using a fixed number of grapes.

This alcoholic beverage has fermenting and blending criteria similar to an Italian wine from the Chianti region or a Bordeaux.

Furthermore, the proper technique to drink this wine is using a particular type of cognac glass. Take a look around, smell it, and enjoy it.

Within the realm of Cognac, there are four main subcategories that essentially specify and explain the aging process.

Here is a brief description of what you may probably notice on the label:


This name for young brandy is an abbreviation for “very special.”

Along with having three stars on its label, it must have been fermented for at least two years.


It stands for “very superior old pale,” where the blend’s youngest type is four years old or more.


A blend with the youngest wine, six years old or older, is eligible for this classification.


This name means “extra old.” It must be fermented at least ten years old to boast this name.


The minimum age for wine aging is 14 in this classification, which goes one step further.

Hors d’Age

It alludes to a brandy created very similarly to D.O., but with considerable leeway because manufacturers might go well beyond those specifications.

These wines have frequently been fermented for several decades.

Cognac Substitute 

Several different alcoholic drinks might make a respectable cognac replacement.

You may need to adjust how much of each substitute you apply, but you will undoubtedly get fantastic results.

Let’s check the list below!

Alcohol Substitutes

Many different alcoholic liquids might make a good substitute for this alcoholic beverage. Let’s scroll down to discover more!

#1. Brandy

Since this aholic beverage is a kind of brandy, it makes Brandy a fantastic substitute.

Although brandy is sometimes mistaken for burnt wine, it is a fine, well-aged beverage.

It is an excellent alternative to its brother for cooking drinks and meals with steak or meat.

Similar to its relative, this alcohol boasts a fruity, somewhat sweet flavor.

Thus, nobody can tell that you swapped the beverage when you put it into a drink, boiled it off in sauces, or poured it into a pastry for extra flavor.

#2. Armagnac

Are you trying to find a digestif to take the place of Cognac? Look no further than Armagnac. 

You may substitute Armagnac for its relative in any case since they share the same component.

You may expect a well-balanced and full-bodied flavor enhanced by an intense spiciness and fruitiness.

Although it is somewhat comparable to Cognac, distillation creates the distinction.

Compared to its brother, this spirit often has less alcohol by volume. However, it usually tastes drier and has a more nuanced flavor.

Creating marinades and gravies, spicing up sauces, or increasing the fruitiness of desserts are just a few examples of how you might use this option in cooking.

#3. Sherry

It would be best if you continued with caution because Sherry may be sweeter while yet sharing some of the same flavors as its relative.

Sherry works well as a replacement for dessert dishes because a small quantity of richness won’t significantly affect them.

You can also add Sherry to several savory recipes, particularly those where a touch of sweetness would help to balance out the acidity.

#4. Wine

When this aholic beverage isn’t available, you can swap it for white wine in the sauce and other stew recipes.

A budget-friendly bottle of Sauvignon Blanc may be beneficial. You might also use a somewhat full-bodied, non-overly sweet wine.

Avoid intense wines like Shiraz since they will substantially change the taste of your dish.

#5. Scotch Whiskey

Consider Scotch if you want to enjoy some exquisite spirits and do not want to spend a lot of money on the expensive alcoholic beverage.

It has a deep, smokey, spicy, earthy taste with a hint of sweetness. Therefore, it’s not an ideal alternative to use in cocktails. 

Yet, it works well with several popular dishes like seafood recipes with a kick.

#6. Calvados

Pear or apple is the primary component of calvados with minimal connection to the flavor of the alcoholic beverage.

You may anticipate a well-balanced mixture of acid and richness with a bit of pear or apple flavor.

The key takeaway is that you may partially replace its relative with its fruity flavor in a particular situation.

Calvados works well in savory poultry or beef meals with an added umami flavor and sweet recipes like apple pie and pancakes.

If you want to learn more about this wine, you can watch this video:

#7. Rum

A decent alternative to Cognac is dark rum. Given its potency, starting with a small amount will be the best strategy.

Also, dark rum is richer than its brother, so it is suitable for dessert recipes.

However, it may significantly change the flavor of a savory food when used in that recipe.

#8. Bourbon

Bourbon has a strong taste, so it is an excellent substitute for Cognac. It’s simple to buy this alternative, but it’s best to opt for an unflavored kind.

This wine has an overtly sweet aroma of wood, vanilla, and caramel. This flavor will be helpful in recipes for savory sauces.

#9. Coffee Liqueur

Although coffee liqueur and Cognac are very different and have distinct flavors, both are black spirits.

If the coffee taste isn’t a matter, coffee liqueur works well as a replacement in desserts calling for Cognac.

Non-Alcohol Cognac Substitutes

There are still methods to get the Cognac taste if you don’t want any alcohol in your recipe.

You might need to try a few different things, but you’ll come up with something special.

#1. Fruit Juice

Compared to Cognac, fruit juices are much more readily available, inexpensive, and come in a wide range.

Although you may choose any taste, pear, apricot, apple, and peach juices perform the best to replace Cognac.

Fruit juice’s sweet flavor may require you to reduce the necessary volume of the alcoholic beverage by half.

Fruit juice works perfectly as a Cognac alternative in deglazing, sweets, sauces, and stews.

Adding some cooking vinegar or wine may give the meal a slight acidity.

#2. Brandy Extract

Although brandy extract is entirely alcohol-free, it has a similar flavor to brandy. Hence, it makes for the ideal non-alcoholic replacement in recipes.

You can use this replacement in recipes like mocktails, desserts, and baked dishes. 

The brandy extract may also appear in recipes calling for brown stews and soups with red meat.

#3. Wine-Sugar Mixture

When heated, alcoholic wines will lose their alcohol content. 

Cooking wine works well as a replacement for Cognac in dishes like gravy, deglazing, steak au poivre, and desserts.

Despite having a tart flavor, cooking wine can sometimes seem too sweet. 

Therefore, if you find the wine sufficiently sweet, you may skip the sugar.

To give the taste a chance to bloom, you may want to cook your dish for longer.

#4. Soy Sauce

Although soy sauce may not even come to mind when thinking of a Cognac alternative, it will also be effective in some recipes.

When flavoring your cuisine, remember that it undoubtedly has a saltier flavor than Cognac.

Thus, you won’t need as much of this sauce in your dish, so that you might substitute a dash for Cognac.

Final Thoughts

We’ve gone through the Cognac substitute list in cooking, including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.

Although there isn’t a perfect replacement for everything, if you determine what to put in various recipes, you’ll get what you want.

If you know other alternatives, you can leave a comment below. Thanks for taking the time to follow this post!