7 Substitutes for Bourbon – Top Alternatives to Use Instead

There are a lot of bourbon substitutes out there. But what are the best bourbon substitutes? And how do you make them taste the same as bourbon?

In this article, we’ll answer those questions and more. We’ll provide a list of substitutes for bourbon, along with the ratios you need to use to make them taste the same.

So, this article is for you whether you’re looking for a bourbon substitute because you’re out of bourbon or just want to try something new.

Let’s get started!

Substitutes for Bourbon

  1. Scotch
  2. Cognac
  3. Brandy
  4. Rum
  5. Water
  6. Apple Cider Vinegar and Peach Nectar Mixture
  7. Bourbon Vanilla Extract


When bourbon is called for in a recipe, complex and rich scotch can be used as a replacement.

Usually drunk straight, scotch can also hold its own in cocktails. To substitute scotch for bourbon, use 2 tablespoons of scotch for every 1 tablespoon of bourbon called for in the recipe.

Other substitutions for bourbon include rum and brandy. Scotch has a complex and rich flavor, so it pairs well with complex ingredients like chocolate.

When making a substitution, keep in mind that the final product may be slightly sweeter than if you had used bourbon.


Cognac is a type of brandy that is made from grapes grown in the Cognac region. It is a suitable substitute for bourbon in many cases.

Cognac is aged in oak barrels, which imparts a similar flavor profile to bourbon.

It can be used in sweet and savory dishes, and the recommended ratio is 2 tablespoons cognac to 1 tablespoon bourbon.

Cognac is also a good substitute for whiskey in cocktails. It has a similar flavor profile to bourbon, but it is less smoky.

When substituting cognac for bourbon, it is important to keep in mind that it is sweeter than bourbon, so you may need to adjust the recipe accordingly.

Cognac is also a bit more expensive than bourbon, so it’s not always the best option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly substitute.

However, if you’re looking for an alternative that will give your dish a similar flavor profile to bourbon, cognac is a great option.


When making desserts that call for bourbon, you can use brandy as a substitute. This is because brandy has a similar brown color and sweetness.

Brandy is also the best option if you’re looking for something sweet and affordable.

Use the same amount of brandy as the measurement of bourbon in your recipe.

Brandy is also a good substitute for bourbon in other recipes where you want to add a bit of sweetness. Examples include sauces, marinades, and glazes.

When using brandy as a substitute for bourbon, keep in mind that it is a bit sweeter than bourbon.

As a result, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe slightly. You may also want to increase the amount of brandy if you find the flavor too weak.


As an experienced chef knows, finding the right ingredient can be the difference between a dish that falls flat and one that exceeds expectations. When it comes to bourbon, rum is a well-known substitute that can add a touch of spice and sweetness to a variety of recipes.

Unlike bourbon, which is made from corn, rum is typically made from molasses. As a result, it has a smooth, warm taste that can enhance the flavor of many dishes.

When substituting rum for bourbon, it is important to use a 2:2 ratio. This means that for every two parts of bourbon, you will need two parts of rum.

This ratio will ensure that the flavor of the dish is not overpowered by the rum.

Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that rum is not a perfect substitute for bourbon.

While rum can add a unique flavor to a dish, it may also change the overall consistency.

As such, it is important to experiment with small quantities before committing to using rum in a recipe.


When substituting water for bourbon in a recipe, it is important to keep a few things in mind.

First, water will not add any flavor to the dish, so be sure to use a high-quality bourbon that will keep its moisture and flavor.

Second, you may need to use a little bit more water than bourbon to balance the texture and moisture of the dish.

Additionally, if you are thinking of using both bourbon and water together, then it is important to make sure that the water is at room temperature or slightly warmer. This will help to prevent the bourbon from curdling.

Finally, keep in mind that some recipes may require a different ratio of water to bourbon, so be sure to adjust accordingly.

Overall, water is a suitable substitute for bourbon and can be used in many recipes without affecting the flavor or texture of the dish.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Peach Nectar Mixture

Bourbon is a popular ingredient in cooking, especially when it comes to chicken. However, not everyone enjoys the taste of bourbon, or may not have any on hand when they need it.

In these cases, apple cider vinegar and peach nectar make for excellent substitutes.

Both of these fruits have a sweetness to them that helps to offset the savoriness of the chicken, and the vinegar helps to tenderize the meat.

To use this substitution, simply mix 1/3 cup each of apple cider vinegar and peach nectar. This can be used in any recipe that calls for bourbon and will result in a delicious dish that everyone will enjoy.

The apple cider vinegar and peach nectar mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

When compared to other substitutes such as white wine or sherry, this mixture has a more distinct flavor that can enhance the flavor of the dish.

However, it is important to note that the apple cider vinegar and peach nectar mixture may change the color of the dish.

Bourbon Vanilla Extract

Bourbon vanilla extract is a great baking substitution for bourbon. It provides the same flavor with a vanilla hint. The only difference is that it is not alcoholic, so it will not add the same depth of flavor to a recipe.

I would recommend using the same amount of bourbon vanilla extract as you would bourbon.

Bourbon vanilla extract as a baking substitution is also suitable to be used in other things like frosting and glazes.

The flavor won’t be exactly the same as if you used bourbon, but it will be close enough that nobody will be able to tell the difference.

And, because it is a baking substitution, it won’t change the consistency or texture of your recipe.

Overall, bourbon vanilla extract is a great all-purpose baking substitution that every baker should keep in their pantry.

Some friendly reminders when choosing a substitute for bourbon

Choosing a substitute for bourbon can be tricky. There are a lot of different flavors and ingredients that can be used as a replacement, but not all of them will taste the same.

That is why when it comes to finding a substitute for bourbon in your recipes, there are a few things you’ll want to take into consideration.

  • First, what is the flavor profile of the bourbon you’re looking to replace? Is it a light, delicate flavor or a bolder, smokier one? You should try to find a substitute that has a similar flavor profile so that it will blend well with the other ingredients in your recipe.
  • Second, what other ingredients are in the recipe? If you’re looking for a replacement for a small amount of bourbon in a complex dish, you may be able to get away with using another type of alcohol that has similar flavors. However, if the bourbon is a major player in the dish, you’ll want to be sure to choose a replacement that won’t completely change the flavor. If not, you may end up with a dish that tastes nothing like what you were going for.
  • Thirdly, how will the substitution affect the final product? You need to make sure that the substitution you choose will not change the consistency or texture of the dish. For example, using water as a bourbon replacement in a sauce may thin it out too much and change the overall texture.
  • Finally, what is the cooking method? If you’re simply substituting bourbon in a recipe that calls for it to be added at the end, any type of alcohol will work. However, if the recipe calls for the bourbon to be cooked or reduced, you’ll want to choose alcohol that can stand up to heat without evaporating completely.


No matter what your reason for looking for a bourbon substitute, we hope that one of the substitutes listed in this article will work well for you. All of these substitutes are easy to find and can be used in many different recipes without altering the flavor or texture too much. So, next time you’re in a pinch and don’t have bourbon on hand, be sure to give one of these substitutes a try.

Happy cooking!