A substitute for wine?

I was running through a great recipe from Rouxbe yesterday, Chicken Saltimbocca, and ran into an all too familiar situation. The recipe called for 4oz of white wine which left…well…almost an open full bottle of wine which left me no option but to be consumed. Faced with the option of polishing off a bottle of wine after every cooking experiment or figure out a solution to my problem, I turned to my office full of foodies for advice.

So what are the substitutes for wine in cooking? Our collective thoughts so far…

1) Check out this list of substitutes for alcohol and use appropriately. PROS: Non alcoholic options for cooking. CON: concoctions are often complex with varied ingredients.

2) Freeze wine ice cube trays and reheat as necessary. PROS: Using the real thing! CONS: Freezing the wine will undoubtedly alter the taste.

What other solutions do people have?


8 Responses to “A substitute for wine?”

  1. Posted on November 20th, 2008

    This is a tough question. My solution used to be to keep a bottle of plonk in the fridge to mix into recipes as needed. However, as most of us know, crappy wine makes for crappy cooking.

    If more wine makers would make 1/2 bottles, this problem would be solved – it’s a perfect amount for a recipe and a drink or two while it’s cooking!

  2. Posted on November 21st, 2008

    I think while nice to use only wine you would drink in your cooking (a great approach), the amount of wine as a percentage of the rest of ingredients should also be considered. Using 4 tbsp of red wine in something with many other ingredients is very different than for something like coq au vin that you are emptying an entire bottle into. A stash of inexpensive demi or mini bottles is another good option. Dry vermouth is also a good substitute for white wine and keeps in the cupboard.

  3. Posted on November 21st, 2008

    Yes! I use vermouth more often than not in risottos, etc.

  4. Posted on November 21st, 2008

    All I gotta say is…is that YOUR fridge Steve?!? No wonder you’re so slim. Where’s the FOOD??? ;)

  5. Posted on November 28th, 2008

    No, that wasn’t my fridge. I try to only keep one bottle of wine open at a time. All be it, not for that long!

  6. Posted on January 1st, 2009

    Freezing wine is fine for cooking. Works brilliantly. I usually divvy up 1 cup servings into ziplock bags. Of course, the only issue is having the discipline to relegate that last glass of the night to your freezer and not your stomach :)

  7. Posted on January 2nd, 2009

    Interestingly, I just read a small article in the last Cooks Illustrated about this – they found through testing that red wine lasts about 3 days until the phenols start to interfere with the recipes. White wine lasts a bit longer – 5 days.

    Good idea on the freezing, Kevin! I have done something similar in the past with large batches of stock.

  8. Posted on April 19th, 2009

    I’ve been buying small 250ml bottles of wine at the liquor store. The fine isn’t fancy (Ernest & Julio Galla Cab Sauv and Chardonnay) and probably stuff I wouldn’t drink, but at $3 / 250ml it’s nice cooking wine and not the end of the world of you waste a bit. Always nice to have a few of these in the cupboard!

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