Nonalcoholic Substitutes for Bourbon Whiskey

By Christopher Godwin

Bourbon is made from a mash of at least 51 % corn, malted barley, and rye or wheat grain. It is then stored in charred white oak barrels for a minimum of two years. Bourbon cocktails are fairly common, and the liquor is sometimes used in cooking to add flavor. For those who choose not to or cannot have alcohol, there are some worthy substitutes...

Pour whiskey into a glass of ice on a wooden plate in a vintage style.
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Nonalcoholic Vanilla Extract and Water

For certain cocktails like a Manhattan or hot toddy, use 1 part non-alcoholic vanilla extract and 2 parts water as a substitute for bourbon. For added pizzazz, use a vanilla pod as a stirrer instead of a traditional plastic one.

Fruit-Based Cocktails

Blackberry mojito  cocktail  with lime, and mint
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Fruit-based cocktails or recipes that use bourbon as their base, can be prepared by replacing bourbon with fruit juice and nonalcoholic vanilla extract mixed at a 4:1 ratio. For example, the classic Kentucky sidecar, normally made with tangerine juice, lemon juice, Cointreau and bourbon, can be substituted with added fruit juice and non-alcoholic vanilla extract to replace the bourbon. This mixture of fruit juice and vanilla extract is also suited for fizzes that have fruit flavor.

Peach Nectar and Cider Vinegar

Peach nectar and cider vinegar can be used in cocktails that have fruity flavors and include bourbon. To make the bourbon substitute combine 3 parts peach nectar to 1 part cider vinegar. This bourbon substitute is well suited for punches and drinks where large amounts of the cocktail are prepared ahead of time and served over ice.

In Food Recipes

When food recipes call for bourbon or whiskey, a mixture of nonalcoholic vanilla extract and nonalcoholic almond extract can be used in place of bourbon in equal quantities. If the recipe only calls for a tiny amount of bourbon, you can simply omit the bourbon altogether, using slightly more of a liquid ingredient to replace the water content.