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Enhance Cooking: 5 BEST Substitutes for Bourbon

Okay, so you’re in the kitchen, ready to whip up something delicious.

You reach for the bourbon, and oh no – the bottle’s empty! Been there, right? No sweat.

We’ve all had that moment where a key ingredient plays hide and seek.

Lucky for you, I’ve got the perfect list of bourbon substitutes that’ll keep your cooking game strong.

From the sweet and smokey to the unexpectedly perfect, we’re about to save dinner (or dessert).

Buckle up, because your dishes are about to get a flavor upgrade they never saw coming!

The 5 Best Substitutes for Bourbon for Cooking

If you don’t keep Bourbon on hand, you can use one of these five substitutes for Bourbon in your cooking.

1 – Brandy

If you’re a fan of Bourbon but looking to mix things up, why not give Brandy a try? Although the two spirits have different origins, they share many similarities in terms of taste and appearance.

Brandy is made by distilling wine, which gives it a fruity flavor with notes of oak.

It is also typically aged in wooden barrels, which adds to its complex flavor profile.

When substituting Brandy for Bourbon in cocktails, it’s important to keep the ratio of spirits to mixers in mind.

Because Brandy is more potent than Bourbon, you’ll want to use less of it in your drink.

But because it also has a sweeter flavor, you may need to adjust the number of mixers as well.

With a little trial and error, you’re sure to find the perfect Brandy-based cocktail to suit your taste.

2 – Rum

Rum is made from sugarcane and has a sweet, slightly tropical flavor.

It is often used in cocktails that also include fruit juice or other sweet ingredients.

While rum can be enjoyed on its own, it is also a popular mixer.

Substituting rum for Bourbon in a cocktail can add a unique twist to the flavor.

When substituting rum for Bourbon, it is important to keep the ratio of rum to other ingredients the same as the ratio of Bourbon to other ingredients.

This will help to ensure that the flavor of the cocktail is not too sweet or overpowering.

Experimenting with different rums can be a great way to add new flavors to your favorite cocktails.

3 – Scotch Whisky

Scotch whisky is a smooth, rich spirit with a distinctively peaty flavor.

It is made from malted barley and aged in oak casks, which imparts a deep amber color and complex flavor profile.

Scotch whisky is typically enjoyed neat or on the rocks, but it can also be used as a substitute for Bourbon in cocktails.

When substituting scotch for Bourbon, it is important to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Look for a scotch with a similar flavor profile to the Bourbon you are substituting. If you want a sweeter cocktail, choose a scotch with a hint of honey; for a smokier drink, opt for a peaty scotch.
  • Use club soda or seltzer instead of water to avoid diluting the scotch too much.
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten up the flavors.

4 – Cognac

Cognac is a type of brandy that originates from the Cognac region of France.

It is made from white grapes that are fermented and then distilled.

Cognac has a distinctively smooth, rich taste that is often enjoyed neat or on the rocks.

It can also be used as a substitute for Bourbon in cocktails such as the Old Fashioned or the Manhattan.

When substituting Cognac for Bourbon, it is important to keep the proportions the same, as Bourbon is a much heavier drink.

This will ensure that your cocktail retains its balance and flavor.

With its smooth taste and versatility, cognac is a great choice for any occasion.

5 – Apple Cider Vinegar + Brown Sugar

Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from apple cider that has undergone fermentation to become alcoholic, and then bacteria have been added to turn the alcohol into acetic acid.

It’s used in salad dressings, as a preservative, and for its sour flavor.

In comparison, brown sugar is a type of sugar that’s been molasses.

It’s often used in baking or as a sweetener.

The combination of the two flavors is not something you would expect to be delicious, but it is.

The slight tartness of the apple cider vinegar is offset by the sweetness of the brown sugar, and the result is a delicious syrup that can be used in cocktails or as a glaze on meats.

The cooked-down mixture also makes an excellent bourbon substitute in cooking.

So, if you’re looking for something new to try, give this combination a go.

You might just be surprised by how good it is.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Bourbon for Cooking

Searching for the perfect bourbon substitute in your cooking? Your quest ends here! Discover the top 5 alternatives that seamlessly replace bourbon, ensuring your dishes maintain rich and flavorful profiles without compromising on taste.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Brandy
  • Rum
  • Scotch Whisky
  • Cognac
  • Apple Cider Vinegar + Brown Sugar


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Bourbon for Cooking
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