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Aug 16, 2005 02:38 AM

Pleas from a non-wine drinker

  • m

ok, we don't drink wine. So, when a recipe says 1 cup of dry red for the stew or a cup of white for that shell fish or mushroom soup etc...can I substitute? Is the final product relegated to mediocre if I don't use wine? I don't mind putting the wine in but I don't know what wine to buy and I am usually an impromtu cook so I like to have what I need in my pantry. Is there a wine that I can keep in my pantry to use for these recipes? Sounds dumb but I feel like I'm missin something here. The conventional wisdom is to use wine that you'll be willing to drink...what do non drinkers do? Throw me some ideas here! Thanks!


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  1. You can't keep a bottle of open wine sittting around indefinitely, it will go bad. But I always keep a bottle each of Regina brand cooking wines and sherries for emergencies, they don't taste half bad. Definitely better than nothing at all!

    2 Replies
    1. re: coll

      Oh yes they are. Nasty stuff and salty.

      1. re: Candy

        That's why I said Regina brand, all the others ARE pretty bad.

    2. You can keep a bottle of vermouth open for a long time without problems, it is inexpensive, and extra dry white vermouth is a good substitute for white wine.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Coyote

        Use Noilly Pratt, not Italian vermouth, btw....

      2. stay far away from "cooking wines". You can get inexpensive wines "in the bag"ie franzia etc very cheap and will hold well.

        Or grab a small single portion wine or 6 when you go to the store-comes in a small screw top bottle; vendage is found everywhere in my area. I'm not talking a fortified wino wine like t-bird etc...

        Then again, if your cooking with the wine, why not try a glass of the same along with your meal(unless health/diet/religious restricitons do not permit).

        5 Replies
        1. re: dano

          The single-serving bottles are a great idea. They usually sell them in four packs. The wine will be mildly better than cooking wine and you don't have to worry about the bottle turning after you open it.(In case you don't know, a bottle will only stay good for a couple of days after you open it.)

          1. re: nc213

            Sure, wine will only keep a few days for DRINKING, but I often keep a stoppered (vac-u-vin) bottle out on the counter for weeks to use for cooking wine. Seems fine, and hasn't killed anyone yet. I think the rule about cooking with something you would drink refers to something you wouldn't spit out, not something you would particularly enjoy drinking.

            1. re: danna

              might be surprised how long stor-n-pours full of vino sit on the line at some restaurants....

              1. re: dano

                yeah, I've been served glasses of stuff that tasted like it would be more suited to being used in poaching liquid .

          2. re: dano

            i drink plenty of wine, so it's generally not a problem. i do, however, keep a 4-pack of each (red & white) of those single serve bottles for emergencies (like when i get on a tequila kick and let my wine stock dwindle). they're adequate to the task, and keep well if unopened. biggest problem is variety. flavor concentrates when the liquid is reduced, so fruity wines can become too jammy/sweet. i usually keep a cab & a chardonney in the single servings.

          3. Buy a full bottle of each white and red wine - moderately priced ok wine (ask a friend to recommend something). Divide both bottles into 1-cup containers and freeze them. You'll have decent wine to use in cooking whenever you need it.

            1. Vermouth is a good substitute, but not if the recipe calls for a lot of wine. No more than a cup, I would think. You can also add more broth and then add a little wine vinegar at the end.