To many, brandy can be a comforting drink to sip on after an exhausting day. To others, it might be just the thing to enhance the flavors in their recipes. There isn’t a limit to what you can create by adding a dash of brandy to your recipes.
What Is Brandy?
Brandy is a distilled spirit that is mostly made of highly fermented grapes. Although other starchy vegetables and fruits may also be distilled to make brandy, grapes are the preferred choice.
Different distilleries use different processes to produce brandy. However, there are four standard procedures employed in the making of this alcohol. The first step is to mash grapes with starchy products. They are then left to ferment. Soon after that, the fermented grapes are distilled into alcohol and left to age. The aging process is what defines the quality of the spirit. The longer the spirit ages, the higher the quality.
Brandy is available in different styles. Cognac is one of the most expensive available brandies. It is distilled only in the region of Cognac, France. Cognac is known for its unique taste because the grapes used to make Cognac have a low alcohol and high acid content.
Armagnac is also a brandy produced in France, specifically in the Armagnac region of Southwest France. Similar to Cognac, Armagnac too has specifications regarding the types of grapes used and the production processes.
Apart from these, there are many other varieties available such as the Spanish brandy, American brandy, flavored brandy, and Pisco. Each of them has unique flavors and differs from each other in several aspects.
Brandy Nutrition Facts
According to the nutrition information provided by the USDA, one shot of brandy (1.5 ounces or 42 g) consists of 97 kcal, 0 g of fat, 0 g of carbohydrates, 0 g of fiber, 0 g of sugar, 0 g of protein, 0.42 mg of sodium, and 14 g of alcohol.
Brandy contains trace micronutrients and, when consumed in limited amounts, also offers a few health benefits such as stress reduction and potential antioxidant benefits.
7 Substitutes For Brandy in Cooking
If you feel like cooking brandy sauce or baking a brandy cake but don’t have a bottle of brandy at home, you still have a lot of options. So, what else can you use in place of brandy? Here is a list of substitutes for brandy.
Whiskey is very similar to brandy, making it a perfect substitute. Although whiskey gives you a stronger flavor than brandy, you might not notice much of a difference between the two. There are various varieties of whisky that give you different flavors, so you can choose the one that is best suited for your recipe. When substituting whiskey for brandy in your cooking, make sure to use the same amounts to ensure great taste.
Gin might not be the perfect choice for a substitute in all brandy recipes. However, if you are working with poultry or meat, gin could work the best. Gin has a herbal, crispy flavor that is perfect for cooking game meat. You can also use gin if cooking pasta or making baked products at home.
Since brandy and wine fall under the same category, you cannot go wrong with substituting wine for brandy. Wine has a lower alcohol content and is an excellent choice if you are looking to enhance flavoring in your food.
Different wines have varying levels of sweetness, and you will have to choose the one that best fits your recipe. If you are using a sweeter wine, you will have to add a pinch of vinegar to balance out the flavors. And if you are planning on making cream sauces, stick with white wine as it does not discolor your food. Red wines have a more complex flavor.
#4. Natural Juices
Brandy itself has a hint of fruitiness to it. So what is better than natural fruit juices as a substitute? Try choosing a fruit juice that matches the flavor you are looking for. You can choose apple, peach, cherry, or even apricot-flavored juices as substitutes for brandy. Although you can use the same amount as brandy, you will have to mix it with water if you need a larger quantity.
Bourbon has an earthy taste that is perfect for cooking dairy products and eggs. It also has a slightly sweet taste similar to brandy. Use the same quantity if you want a smokey flavor to your recipe.
Rum is a great substitute for brandy if you’re about to bake cakes or desserts. It’s sweeter than brandy, but it will not alter the taste of your recipe if used wisely. Make sure you dilute it with water if you do not want a strong sweet flavor.
Water might not have any flavor, but it is sure to bring in a moist element similar to brandy. If you do not have any other substitute, you can work with water as well.
Are Sherry and Brandy the Same Thing?
No, sherry and brandy are not the same things. Sherry is basically a fortified wine that’s made in Spain. Brandy is a liquor that is produced by fermenting sugar and starchy products and later distilled from wine.
What Are the Substitutes for Brandy in Baking?
If you do not have brandy at home for baking purposes, you need not worry. You can substitute any alcohol with a similar alcohol percentage as brandy. If you want to bake a fruitcake, you can use any flavored natural juice or flavored extracts as alternatives.
You might find it hard to get the right consistency in a fruitcake, so it is best to use an alcoholic substitute like wine or rum. However, be prepared to experiment a little to get your recipe right.
A Few Parting Words
Brandy is one of the best alcoholic beverages that is widely used for cooking purposes. But even with no brandy at hand, you can still salvage your recipe. Hopefully, this list of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages that you can use as substitutes for brandy will help with your cooking or baking.