12 Best Brandy Substitutes That You Can Use

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You are desperately searching for the best brandy substitutes, aren’t you? I get it. You might have wanted to relish brandy slush, but 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.

Brandy and Its Role In The Culinary World

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. It 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. 

Uses of Brandy

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*It 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.

Brandy On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

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).

Why Should We Substitute Brandy?

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? You need the help of some of the best substitutes of brandy.

Also, if you are abstaining from consuming alcohol for various reasons and still want to relish the flavor of brandy, these substitutes would help you. Let us look at the list of the best alcoholic and non-alcoholic substitutes for brandy. 

Other Best Food Substitutes You Can Try

Alcoholic Substitutes For Brandy

The nine 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. Barley, corn, rye, and wheat are also sometimes used to make various varieties. Whiskey and brandy differ in flavor and texture. Even then, whiskey is a readily available ingredient and is one of the best substitutes for brandy, considering its easy availability.

2. Wine

Wine is another delicious alcoholic beverage produced due to the fermentation of grapes. It has a rich, sweet flavor. You must know that brandy is a distilled type of wine, making wine another best brandy 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. You can use bourbon in an equal ratio to substitute for brandy. Bourbon helps combat weight loss and diabetes and enhances the immune system.

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 it for brandy. Rum gives you a great aroma and is sweeter than brandy. 

5. Vodka

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

Plain, fruit, and flavored varieties of vodka are available, and any of these can substitute brandy in meat or seafood recipes. Vodka gives no color or odor to your recipes and thus can easily replace brandy without any changes.

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 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!

7. Gin


Made using fermented grains such as wheat, barley or juniper berries, and other botanicals, gin is a distilled spirit. For a spirit to be qualified as a gin, it must have juniper and at least 40% alcohol. 

Gins mostly have a juniper flavor, but the usage of botanicals makes every gin unique in flavor. These have an intense citrus flavor and aroma. Gin is a good brandy substitutes as they are easily available at a low cost and have nice herbal flavors. 

8. Sherry


Coming to us from the land of Spain, sherry is a fortified wine made using grapes. The name ‘sherry’ is the anglicization of Jerez, based on the region Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia in Spain. It has an alcoholic volume ranging between 18% and 20%.

Sherry is often considered a sweet dessert wine due to its rich, sweet flavor. Dry sherry is a suitable alternative for brandy because its flavor lessens when cooked. Opting for sweetened sherries to replace brandy might give you intense sweet flavor in recipes. 

9. Tequila


Tequila is a type of distilled spirit made only using the blue agave plant grown in Mexico. It is a prominent ingredient in margaritas and is popularly enjoyed as tequila shots. It has 35 to 40 percent alcohol by volume.

Tequila has a fruity, earthy flavor making it one of the last resorts that are a substitute for brandy. Its flavor is dependent on the area in which the plant is grown. There are different varieties of tequila available, and you can choose a variety to replace brandy in recipes. 

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. Brandy extracts give you the brandy flavor without actually using brandy. 

2. Fruit Juices

Fruit juices of grape, apple, peach, pear, or apricot can be used instead 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. You may dilute the fruit juices if the required quantity to replace brandy is more than a few tablespoons.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a variety of vinegar prepared using fermented apple juice. Traditionally used as a medicine, it is now a popular ingredient in salad dressings and cooking. It has acetic acid and nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin C.

Apple cider vinegar has a sour taste and a strong smell, making it a versatile alternative for brandy in cocktails or other recipes. You can use the same amount of apple cider vinegar as brandy for substitution. 

Short Recap Of Best Brandy Substitutes

That must have been an exhaustive read on the best brandy substitutes, right? Let me make it easy for you to remember the details with the help of some points.

Best Brandy Substitutes That Are Alcoholic-

  1. Whiskey
  2. Wine
  3. Bourbon
  4. Rum
  5. Vodka
  6. Cognac
  7. Gin
  8. Sherry
  9. Tequila

Best Brandy Substitutes That Are Non-Alcoholic-

  1. Brandy extract
  2. Fruit Juices
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Final Musings

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 with another article!

How To Use Brandy Substitutes In A Recipe


Brandy Substitutes

Looking forward to enjoy some brandy slush without brandy? Seek the help of some substitutes for brandy. Some of the best substitutes for brandy are whiskey, wine, bourbon, rum, and vodka.
5 from 2 votes


  • Whiskey
  • Wine
  • Bourbon
  • Rum
  • Vodka
  • Cognac
  • Gin
  • Sherry
  • Tequila
  • Brandy Extract
  • Fruit Juices
  • Apple Cider Vinegar


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions

What liquor is closest to brandy?

Sherry, Whiskey, Wine and Bourbon are closest to brandy.

What is the substitute for Brandy in cooking?

Wine and Gin are good substitutes for Brandy in cooking.

What is the substitute for Brandy In peppercorn sauce?

Fruit juices or apple cider vinegar are good substitutes for Brandy in peppercorn sauce.

What is the substitute for brandy in sangria?

Triple Sec and Grand Marnier are good substitutes for Brandy in sangria.

What is the substitute for Brandy in coq au vin?

Whiskey, Bourbon and Gin are suitable substitutes for Brandy in coq au vin.

What is the substitute for Brandy in fruitcake?

Bourbon or rum are great substitutes for Brandy in fruitcake.

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