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7 Awesome Cognac Substitutes That Will Get You Smoother Drinks At Home

Cognac is a type of brandy that is a little more expensive than your average brandy. When you find out that it needs to be aged for a minimum of two years.

7 Cognac Substitutes For Cooking & Drinking

They are aged in France in oak caskets. This expensive brandy may be delicious but it certainly costs a lot of money. 

So, what do you do when you need a good splash of Cognac in your dessert or other dish? Why, you use a substitute of course.

That is what we are going to discuss in this article. We are going to talk about seven Cognac substitutes that you can use for cooking or drinking. 

So, let’s get started!

Nutritional Value Table

In this section we are going to quickly take a look at the calories per serving for each of these substitutes. So, without further ado, let us get started!

Brandy220 Calories Per 100ml
Armagnac227 Calories Per 100ml
Sherry110 Calories Per 100ml
Wine81 Calories Per 100ml
Scotch Whiskey235 Calories Per 100ml
Brandy Extract207 Calories Per 100ml
Fruit Juice57 Calories Per 100ml

Cognac Substitutes

In this section we are going to take a look at each of the seven Cognac substitutes below. So, without further ado, let us dive right in and get started!

1. Brandy

In the world of alcohol, Cognac and brandy are almost the same.

They are akin to sparkling wine and champagne, both alcohols are basically identical, but one is higher value and more expensive than the other. 

This is often because there are a series of restrictions on where it is made and how it is made.

So, Cognac may be a fantastic tactile experience for people with well-trained pallets. But the average person may not necessarily notice the difference between the two. 

However, when you are cooking and substituting your Cognac for Brandy, nobody will notice.

Regardless of whether you are using it in a cocktail or using it for a cooked off sauce, it will be a rare person indeed that actually noticed that you have switched the Cognac for Brandy. 

The main thing to consider when you are substituting is what is included in the brandy.

There are some that may include apple brandy, peach and other fruity flavors which may not taste good with certain foods or cocktails.

So, make sure to read the label in order to check what is included in your brandy. 

Domestic brandy is often used as a substitute for Cognac. You should remember that if you would not drink the alcohol then you should not use it for cooking.

We recommend Korbel’s Brandy if you are looking for a cheap brandy to use for cooking. 

If you are looking for a tasty and good quality brandy to drink then perhaps you should try Brandy de Jerez.

This alcohol has a heavier body than Cognac. It is also a little sweeter than Cognac. This is because a different type of grape was used. 

How To Substitute

To substitute Cognac with brandy, use the same amount of brandy as you would. The brandy you need depends on how many ounces of Cognac you are replacing.

2. Armagnac

If you are trying to find a Cognac substitute that is digestif then Armagnac may be the best bet for you. This variety of brandy is made in Southwest France.

It comes from the Armagnac region in Gascony. Hence, the name of this tasty beverage. Armagnac tends to have a relatively low alcohol content in comparison to Cognac.

Despite this fact, the flavor is drier and more complex than Cognac. 

If you are cooking with this alcohol we recommend that you use a more inexpensive brandy. This is because a lot of the flavor is lost when you cook with this alcohol.

However, when you are looking for a tasty substitute to Cognac, Armagnac is a deliciously robust drink that will certainly make you delighted to serve to guests or enjoy yourself. 

How To Substitute

If you love the French aperitif cognac, but are trying to watch your alcohol intake, consider switching to Armagnac. It is a brandy made in Armagnac, France, and is one of the world’s most appreciated brands.

3. Sherry

Sherry is an alcoholic beverage that originated in Spain. It is a variety of fortified wide that has a nutty and fruity flavor.

This flavoring is designed to try and mimic the flavors of Cognac. We recommend that you attempt to find a good quality dry Sherry as opposed to a cream Sherry.

This option is excellent for those of you that want to add to your coq au vin or beef stroganoff.

When you use Sherry for cooking the alcohol cooks off beautifully, leaving a mild flavor that is certainly reminiscent of Cognac. Your food is bound to be delicious with this Cognac substitute. 

How To Substitute

If you have a bottle of Sherry in your liquor cabinet, you can use it in place of Cognac in various recipes and drinks. For your next cocktail, try substituting Cognac for Sherry in your glass. Sherry has a rich, dry flavor and is excellent in cocktails like manhattans and other classic drinks.

4. Wine

Wine is a pretty good substitute for Cognac. It can work especially well in gravies and a wide variety of other sauces.

If we were to recommend a few types of wine, it would be Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio as both options work especially well for both gravy and sauces. 

It is suggested that you use full-bodied or use medium wine that is not too sweet for cooking or drinking. If you are looking for a wine that is similar to Cognac you should avoid chardonnays.

This is because they can easily become overly astringent and bitter when it is reduced. Other wines to stay clear of include Shiraz as they can alter the taste of your dessert, main meal, or cocktail a little too much. 

How To Substitute

With Cognac, you’re in for a bold and spicy experience. Wine, on the other hand, is much more subtle and mellow. With this substitution, you can still enjoy the cognac flavor without harshness.

RELATED: The Best Alternatives For Cooking Sherry

5. Scotch Whiskey

Are you looking for an alcoholic beverage that is tasty? But you are looking for a less expensive option than Cognac. You may want to consider getting yourself a Scotch, Bourbon or perhaps even Rum. 

If you are not a fan of Cognacs flavors then these are all alternatives that may work well for you.

Perhaps you even need a little something different. If so then a stiff Scotch Whiskey may be the answer to your prayers. 

You can use Scotch for cooking, but it can be a little pricey. For that reason we recommend that you use a cheaper alternative for cooking and simply enjoy this tasty beverage to drink. 

How To Substitute

One should substitute Scotch Whiskey for Cognac for the perfect cognac cocktail. Suppose you’re not a fan of Scotch, substitute brandy. If you want to make it a whiskey cocktail, use bourbon if you want a cheaper choice.

6. Brandy Extract

If you are looking for an alcohol-free substitute for Cognac we recommend using Brandy Extract.

This is a great option if you want to make mocktails, bake, make desserts or cook delicious meals. It is a good way to add a little more flavor to your meals without any alcohol.

When you are using Brandy Extract we recommend that you use one teaspoon of Brandy Extract for Every tablespoon of Cognac you are going to use.

This may be an issue for some baking recipes as you will be required to add a bit of extra liquid in order to compensate. So make sure to bear that in mind when you are using this Cognac substitute. 

How To Substitute

Cognac, made from wine and distilled, is often found in various drinks, including cocktails and shooters. Substituting Brandy Extract for Cognac will allow you to create the same type of drink. In addition, brandy Extract is a perfect way to bring out the flavors of your favorite dish without adding alcohol.

7. Fruit Juice

If you need another non-alcoholic option then we recommend using a simplistic fruit juice. You can use whatever variety you like.

But, we recommend peach, apple, apricot, or pear. You can use this fruit juice in equal quantities as the Cognac. 

One thing to keep in mind with this substitute is the fact that you should not use juices that have added sugar in them.

This could alter the flavor of your food too much and will make it overly sweet.

If you are making a sauce we recommend that you use a little extra water so that the fruit juice does not overpower the flavors you are trying to achieve. 

How To Substitute

To replace Cognac in a cocktail, one can use fruit juice. Fruit juices contain natural sugars that are essential to creating a cocktail that is balanced and sweet. One can also use other juices like grapefruit juice or orange juice.

Using Cognac Substitutes

When you are using substitutes for Cognac, it is important to bear in mind that there are no hard core rules.

There are no substitutes that are better or worse than another, It all depends on what flavors you are going for in your dish or dessert. 

Below we have a brief listing of suggestions on which substitutes you can use for what kind of food.

While these rules are not hard and fast, they may help you get an idea of which substitutes should be used for various types of food. 

So, let’s take a look at that

  • Desserts  – Try Using Sherry or Brandy
  • Cocktails  – Try Using Brandy Extract or Fruit Juice
  • Alcohol-Free – Try Using Armagnac or Any High-end Brandy
  • Drink – Try Drinking Sherry or Brandy
  • Chicken – Try Using Sherry or Brandy
  • Beef Stroganoff – Try Using Sherry or Brandy
  • French Onion Soup –  Try Using Sherry or Brandy
  • Tiramisu – Try Using Brandy, Coffee Liqueur, or Rum
  • Steak au Poivre – Try Using Sherry or Brandy
  •  Gravy –  Try Using White Wine

Fun Facts

  • The older your Cognac is the more complex their flavor gets. These flavors develop and become stronger and more aromatic. Similar to leather, chocolate or toffee.
  • While the Cognac is aging, the oak barrels it is stored in can play a huge role in adding flavor to this tasty beverage over time. 
  • Cognac tends to have a complex taste which often creates a citrusy, spicy, or even fruity note. You can experience other flavors like apricots, vine flowers, vanilla, toasted bread, or even cinnamon. 

Final Thoughts

Cognac is quite expensive, and once you get a taste of this tasty French Brandy you are going to understand why.

If your food needs just a little bit of liquor in the recipe then you may want to consider using an alternative. It will not waste a bottle of Cognac.

So, maybe consider using an alcohol-free option or another cheaper alcohol like sherry, wine or whiskey

We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and learning about these amazing Cognac substitutes for cooking and drinking.

There are a ton of amazing options out there but it depends on what flavors you need for your dish. So, consider carefully. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Replace Cognac With Whiskey?

It depends on what you’re trying to make. Cognac is made from distilled grape juice, while whiskey is distilled from fermented grain. So, if you’re trying to make a sauce, use Cognac. If you’re trying to make a cocktail, try using whiskey.

Is Cognac Similar To Rum?

Cognac is a brandy made from grapes and aged in wood barrels. The process is similar to rum, but the two are very different in terms of the ingredients.

The rum is usually clear, sweet, and very strong. Cognac is made from fermented wine distilled twice, giving it a much smoother taste.

Is Cognac A Brandy Or Bourbon?

Cognac is a brandy made from fermented grape juice, which is distilled to create the spirit. Bourbon is a type of whiskey made from fermented grain, which is distilled to create the spirit.

7 Cognac Substitutes For Cooking & Drinking

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If you are looking for substitutes for Cognac for both cooking and drinking then make sure to read this article to learn everything you need to know about seven of the best ones.


  • Brandy

  • Armagnac

  • Sherry

  • Wine

  • Scotch Whiskey

  • Brandy Extract

  • Fruit Juice


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith