9 Best Substitutes For Brandy


Your cousin loves the brandy slush you make. You promised to give him the joy of relishing this sweet drink, but there comes a fault in your stars. 

You don’t have any brandy left in your pantry. That made you wonder what the best substitutes for brandy could be (also why you clicked this article). 

Some of the best substitutes for brandy are whiskey, wine, bourbon, rum, and vodka.

Brandy is an alcoholic beverage that is most popularly enjoyed across the globe as an after-dinner drink. It finds great importance in culinary uses as well as health benefits. It is your cool, perfect companion to end a long, tiring day!

But what can be done if you are out of brandy? You need a bunch of alternatives to keep the brandied spirit going. Read on more to find out about brandy and its best substitutes.

Why Do We Need To Substitute Brandy?

Brandy translates into ‘burned wine’ in Dutch. It is an alcoholic beverage produced typically by the fermentation of grapes. Sometimes, apricots, apples, and cherries are also used.

Brandy is highly alcoholic with 50% ABV. It has a sweet, fruity flavor with a sharp alcoholic taste. The taste becomes more concentrated with time – the more aged the brandy is, the more mellow its flavor is. 

It also sometimes has the flavor of oaks considering the aging process which takes place in oak barrels. Apart from that, brandy comes in different flavors and varieties.

Many often confuse brandy with cognac. Although they can be used interchangeably, both are different. Cognac is actually a variety of brandy produced in the Cognac region of France.

The most popular types of brandy include Cognac, Armagnac, pisco, grappa, calvados, and kirschwasser. 

Besides being a great blend in cocktail recipes, brandy is used as a deglazing agent. (You must be like Rachel Green from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. if you don’t know what deglazing is!) *laugh* 

Brandy is a delicious deglazing agent who takes care of your recipe’s remnants after cooking. Not to mention, it can be added to cakes, sauces, and desserts for a unique, sweet, fruity flavor.

Coming to cocktails, brandy cocktail, sidecar cocktail, metropolitan, and Vieux care are some of the most popular cocktails made using brandy.

Not everything good about brandy is about its taste or flavor. There are a lot of reasons why it is recommended that a controlled intake of brandy is beneficial for health.

With antibacterial components, brandy aids in boosting our immune system. It helps in reducing weight and cholesterol. It is a magical drink loaded with antioxidants that help anti-aging (say no to Botox).

So much for the goodness of brandy, but what do you do when you are out of it, out of time to grab a bottle, or simply are sick of its flavor? Don’t worry. I have a list of the best alcoholic and non-alcoholic substitutes for brandy coming up. 

Alcoholic Substitutes For Brandy

The six best alcoholic substitutes for brandy are detailed in the following scribbles. Here goes the list.

1. Whiskey

Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting grain mash. It has an intense, bitter-sweet, nutty flavor with high alcohol content. 

Whiskey and brandy differ in flavor and texture. Even then, this readily available ingredient is one of the best substitutes for brandy, considering its easy availability. 

2. Wine

Wine is another delicious alcoholic beverage produced as a result of the fermentation of grapes. It has a rich, sweet flavor. You must know that brandy is a distilled type of wine. So, that makes wine another best substitute.

Wines are available in different types. Choose a wine variety that caters to your recipe when opting to replace brandy. Go for white wine if sweetness is what you crave, and choose red wine if you wish for a profound flavor. 

3. Bourbon

Bourbon is the American whiskey produced by distilling a mixture of grains, majorly corn, and aged in oak barrels. This gives the bourbon a distinct sweet and earthy flavor.

You can easily replace brandy with bourbon in cakes, desserts, marinades, and other recipes.

4. Rum 

Rum is a type of liquor distilled from sugarcane or molasses. This makes it a heavily sweetened liquid with 40% A.B.V. You can use rum in place of brandy in sweet and savory recipes considering the sweetness you intend.

If needed, you may dilute rum with water to reduce the intensity of sweetness while substituting for brandy. 

5. Vodka

Obtained from fermenting cereal grains, vodka is a distilled spirit with a strong alcohol content of 55% ABV. Generally, vodka has no distinctive taste or aroma. 

Plain, fruit, and flavored varieties of vodka are available. Any among these can substitute brandy in meat or seafood recipes.

6. Cognac

Cognac is the best substitute for brandy, without a doubt. So why am I mentioning this at the end? It should be your last resort for one simple reason – the cost!

Cognac is a type of French brandy produced under many conditions (Refer to my Substitutes for Cognac article for more!). The taste and flavor of Cognac are similar to that of brandy.

If you don’t mind spending a few bucks, cognac is your ultimate option for substituting brandy. No one will be able to spot the difference, you see!

So, that was about alcoholic substitutes for brandy. If you are abstaining from alcohol for any reason, check out the list of non-alcoholic substitutes for brandy given below.

Non-Alcoholic Substitutes For Brandy

Now, that we mentioned the alcoholic substitutes, let’s see some non-alcoholic ones as well. The three best non-alcoholic substitutes for brandy are as follows:

1. Brandy Extract

Well, don’t think I am crazy to talk about brandy extract under non-alcoholic substitutes. Brandy extracts are usually devoid of alcohol but with concentrated brandy flavor.

But brandy extracts which have alcoholic content are also available. Go for a non-alcoholic version to substitute for brandy in cocktails or baking recipes.

2. Fruit Juices

Fruit juices of grape, apple, peach, pear, or apricot can be used in lieu of brandy in whatever recipes call for it. These juices obviously will have an intensely sweet flavor, and you should be careful about the quantity you add.

If you wish to tone it down and have a balanced flavor, you can add a spoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a variety of vinegar prepared using fermented apple juice. It has a sour taste and a strong smell, making it a versatile alternative for brandy in cocktails or other recipes.


That was all about the substitutes for brandy, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic that you can and must try out in your recipes. 

I hope you continue with the unfinished business of making brandy slush using any one of these substitutes. Make sure you let me know how well it turned out. Get brandied and see you soon!

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