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Recovering alcoholic frustrated foodie....

There are so many awesome recipes out there that don't include alcohol, I shouldn't be frustrated, BUT - I know from personal experience (mainly in restaurants) and from hearing from other foodies what wonderful flavors cooking with wines and other spirits can add to food.

Does anyone have any suggestions for really awesome substitutions? Keeping a partial bottle of any spirits in the house isn't a good idea for a recovering alcoholic, and I don't really want to buy a whole bottle of something and then dump the rest down the drain after using the 1/2 cup or whatever my recipe of the day calls for. I've even thought of inviting friends who drink over for the meal, and sending the rest of the bottle home with them, but then I'm encouraging someone to drive with open alcohol in the car, not my idea of being a good friend!

Any ideas?

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  1. If you really want to cook with wine, you can buy mini bottles that is usually enough for cooking so you won't be wasting any. Also I believe there is non-alcohlic wine for cooking.

    1 Reply
    1. re: paprkutr

      At least twice, after at least three years each, those little bottles of wine have seduced me. I live near wine country, and have to deal with it a lot, and do, without batting an eye, I can keep one of the little bottles for years, and then one day...

      I hope I don't try THAT again! These are some great ideas,

    2. You can often substitute with stock or juice. I do occasionally just because I don't want to open a bottle of wine for the half cup I might need. I've used cranberry or pomegranate (100% juice versions) in place of red wine. Both are tart enough to impart a bit of that dryness that red wine gives. I've also used chicken stock in place of white wine. They may not be perfect, but they're much better than the dreck that cooking wine is.

      1. I've gotten to the point in my recovery that it doesn't bother me to have some wine around the house and I never liked beer anyway so I don't mind having it around. There are just some flavors you can't achieve in cooking without using wine or beer. Make sure to cook your food long enough for the majority of the alcohol to cook out. You can never cook it all out, but then you get minute amounts of alcohol when you put vanilla flavoring in food. If the amount is minuscule, the average body won't even register the alcohol with any effect. I do avoid keeping stronger spirits around, however, and I will send them home with people (have them put the opened bottle in the trunk of the car to avoid open container violations).
        In early recovery I found the small 1-glass bottles of wine were great to use. You can buy them one at a time and pour out leftovers. The same applies to stronger spirits, for example Cooks Illustrated has started adding vodka to pie crusts and it really makes for a flaky crust and you don't taste the vodka at all. I buy those tiny airline bottles, which are available at some liquor stores and pour out anything I have that's leftover.
        It's really up to you what you can tolerate having around and you have to be brutally honest with yourself about that. If there's any doubt at all, pour it out because losing your sobriety would be much more of a shame than pouring out a bottle of good wine, no matter how expensive it is.

        1. A different idea is picking up some regional cuisines that really almost never involve alcohol? Indian/South Asian food, or Thai/Vietnamese/SE Asian, for example, or Mexican?

          1. you may want to check out this post from an underaged college student who had a similar situation:

            1. Are you communicating with your sponser? I haven't had a drink since Aug 1986 and feel very comfortable these days. I am more diligent about cooking off the alcohol. I asked my sponser years ago about cooking with wine and his reply was "its a dangerous slope" but I haven't been tempted to drink any of the wine even though I think it'd be nice to enjoy the joys of grape with friends. I will admit to sniffing a strong spirit occasionally and thinking oooo that smells so good. My wife likes a bit of a wet wine and I don't have any issues with friends drinking. It's a long road but has to be constantly in your mind.
              It's a dedicated life style not only for alcohol but other stimulates. I very rarely ever do caffeine, and I never smoke. You have to know if you feel like you're cheating, you need to address it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: spinblue

                I don't have a sponsor anymore, don't do meetings or any of that. I've been sober since Sept 1984, and feel comfortable for the most part. Although the last time I did my turkey (basted with white wine and melted butter) was the first time in a long time I felt like drinking, and I called my husband into the kitchen until I had the melted butter mixed in to the wine, and had contaminated it with the brush used on the raw turkey! LOL So, it could be this post thread is going to push me towards the substitutes and away from the alcohol.
                I don't smoke (anymore), or do anything harder than Tylenol, even try to not do too much of that, so drinking again is definitely NOT something I want to flirt with. Thanks for the sage advice, friend.

                That said, after reading about using grape juice, cranberry juice, and apple juice (sparkling) for white and red wines, what would I use as a substitute for dry sherry, port, and burgundy? (isn't burgundy basically a red wine?)

                Happy living!

                1. re: teric762

                  Some of the flavours in sherry and port can be replaced with their top note counterparts: walnut oil, raisins, prunes, cherries, figs, caramel (use hot water over dried fruits, cover and let soak for up to an hour, and use the flavoured liquid; this can also be done with low simmer, but it evaporates quickly and burnt dried fruit smells awful and is difficult to clean). Flavoured vinagres, pomegranate molasses--actually most molasses (I prefer blackstrap, as it's slighly less sweet and is a good source of iron and calcium). Then there are fruit juice concentrates such as blueberry, cranberry, and cherry, found in most health food stores. Jams and preserves, which can be thinned out with hot water and used as a glaze.

              2. My next door neighbor is recovering, and when she needs alcohol to cook, she borrows from me. I don't mind a bit, because she's really good about taking a bit of whatever I have opened at the time.

                1. For use in slow roasts/braising, a good alternative for wine is to throw in some fruit (a handful of cranberries, or some thinly sliced or ground up pear or apple), along with maybe a splash of vinegar. It helps to make meat nice and tender, and cranberries have the added advantage of thickening the sauce a bit.

                  1. Another possibility, at least for wine, is to reduce it immediately upon opening and then freeze the reduction in an ice cube tray. That gives you concentrated chunks of something that will impart wine flavor but is largely alcohol-free.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      this is exactly what I was going to recommend.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        Are you saying freezing renders wine largely alchohol free?

                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                          No, reducing - that is, boiling for an extended period of time - renders wine largely alcohol free.

                          1. re: alanbarnes

                            Mario has a recipe in 'Spain on the road again' for a grape syrup, made by reducing something like 3 cup of red wine, a cup of apple juice (or hard cider), and some sugar (I think), till is down to a cup or so.

                      2. I haven't explored it in great detail, but check out The Sober Kitchen, by Liz Scott. A whole cookbook with different techniques and alternatives to wine and spirits used in your cooking. For me, having wine around would be dangerous ;-) And the alcohol never really cooks off, not entirely, anyway. But it's a personal thing--I guess it depends on your own recovery.

                        1. The above are very good suggestions. The only one I have misgivings about is the non-alcoholic wines for cooking, as they have preservatives, often contain salt and other 'seasonings', and have never tasted quite right to my palate. Graham Kerr, the former Galloping Gourmet, developed a drinking problem, I believe, and after sobering up produced a number of cookbooks that used no alcohol. I wasn't a great fan of his last series, but the books might offer up some wisdom on this question. As well, of late I've been experimenting a great deal with North African and Mid-Eastern cuisine - flavourful and no alcohol. Bets of luck!

                          1. You might look into some varietal grape juices that have been coming on the market recently. They are reported to be very good and becareful, some can be very pricy.

                              1. re: wolfe

                                Verjus is going to deliver quite a bit more acid and a little more sugar than wine, but it's a great ingredient. Another option is saba. Neither is a direct substitute for wine, but either one will bring some extra flavor and complexity to the party.

                                1. re: wolfe

                                  A friend who's in recovery comes to stay with me a couple of times a year and I always stock up on verjus, both for cooking and for drinking. I think it's an excellent substitute and it's worked in every dish I've made with it, many of which have been fish and shellfish dishes for which it has a real affinity. It's also a lovely substitute for wine at the table as well since it really does look like wine. Sometimes my friend will put a spritz of club soda in it, but he likes it straight, too. The only down side is that, at least here in Manhattan, it's every bit as expensive as wine.

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    I've never heard of verjus - what is it, and where can I find it? I am in Port Orchard, WA (small town), but I am very close to some good markets in Tacoma, Federal Way, and Seattle, WA. It sounds wonderful, whatever it is!

                                    1. re: teric762

                                      Not that big a deal really. Very expensive for drinking.
                                      Probably not something that a person in recovery would want to start playing with anyway since it may be skating a little close to the edge.
                                      Go get some iced tea and be grateful.

                                      1. re: teric762

                                        Some good information about it here from the woman in Australia who repopularized it, although I believe there are now a number of companies in California who make it also. This is the brand I find at Zabar’s in Manhattan.


                                        If you can’t find it locally, you can mail order it:


                                        As I said, it’s not cheap. But my friend likes it a great deal and I’ve been very happy with all the dishes I’ve made using it. It’s certainly worth trying at least once to see if you like it as well.

                                  2. Some possible subs to consider, depending on the particular recipe:

                                    for red wine :Beef broth with either Worcestershire or Balsamic Vinegar added

                                    for white wine: Chicken or vegetable broth, perhaps with a splash of white vinegar

                                    for sherry or marsala: Chicken broth with some sugar added. If your grocery stocks Mirin in the Asian food area, that can also work with maybe a little balsamic vinegar added

                                    For rum: Either broth with some of that rum flavoring you get in the spice section

                                    For bourbon, vodka, gin, scotch, etc...forget it

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                      Also for white wine in seafood or chicken dishes - try orange juice.

                                      I have a friend who regularly subs this and his dishes come out delish!

                                    2. This discusses a few "recipes" for substtiutions for specific types of wine in cooking: http://www.chow.com/home_cooking_dige...

                                      1. Two possible answers:
                                        I have neighbors who grow grapes for wine and a friend is trying making grape juice from them, and pressure canning the juices.
                                        The other has been suggested: find a neighbor who's simpatica and who loves to cook. Explain your predicament.
                                        Only a cad wouldn't help. I admire what you're doing and how you're doing this for yourself and your friends and family.

                                        1. There are plenty of people in the USA, who for largely religious reasons do not have any wine or beer in the house. In fact most of what could be called 'traditional' American cooking does not use these - it's only when you start following French and Italian recipes that you have serious need for wine. Coq au vin just isn't going to be 'au vin' with out wine. That doesn't mean, though that you can't make a good chicken stew without wine.

                                          Rather than learning a pat set of substitutions, I'd suggest focusing on cooking basics, learning to properly season your food (salt, pepper, various acids, etc), making your own stock, etc. The better handle you have on the basics, the easier it will be to think of substitutions when you encounter a recipe that uses wine. In many cases the wine has a minor role, and can easily be omitted. Sometimes a bit of vinegar or tomato juice will contribute a simlar acidity. On the other hand if the wine is an important part of the dish, you will recognize this, and pass on to other recipes that don't use any.

                                          Recently I bought a chuck roast, and an oxtail. The chuck was cooked with red wine (nearly a full bottle) following a Boef Bourguignon recipe. The oxtail ended up in a chili stew with black beans. Both were good, but frankly I was happier with how the chili turned out.

                                          Just because some cooks and cookbook authors extole the virtues of cooking with wine (or beer), or talk about how to pair food and wine, it does not mean that wine is required in good food and cooking. It is just another ingredient that you can use, or omit if you so choose.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: paulj

                                            Paulj is correct. Many times the wine really does play a minor role and only serves to contribute a note of fruit or acid.
                                            I have a great number of friends in recovery, some of whom struggle, and there is no way that I'm going to jeopardize their sobriety by what I serve when they eat at my home. I don't use alcohol in my food when they're coming to dinner. Period.
                                            It's been so easy to switch that I rarely use it at all any more even when I'm not entertaining the Friends of Bill.

                                            I use pure fruit juices and high quality fruit vinegars. A little good quality apple or grape juice and some excellent vinegar give a similar note to using wine. I keep things like sherry vinegar, as well as fig, banyuls, sugar cane, port wine, and several other kinds.
                                            Even those little kiddie juice boxes will do for a shot of fruit juice. Use a few ounces and pitch the rest.
                                            My kids, who are now adults, tell me that they prefer the recipes using the "fake wine" to the original versions because they seem lighter and fresher tasting. I can no longer tell the difference.
                                            As Paulj says, it ain't a "coq au vin," but it's still a damned good stewed chicken. So who cares?

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              I was thinking about this very issue while cooking dinner tonight. The party included my daughter and her husband, neither of whom drink for religious reasons, and that includes wine in cooking. My SIL loves seafood of all types and since I made a Costco run today that definitely meant a seafood dinner (Costco has the best seafood in my town, literally, so my dinner the night I go to Costco is always seafood).

                                              Anyway, they had great mussels so the appetizer was set. Since I had also been to the farmer's market I had great cherry tomatoes and basil, so decided to make the mussels in a type of provencale sauce....started in on my prep, and then remembered: I couldn't put white wine in the dish! A mussels dish without white wine? Would it work?

                                              butter to the rescue: used some olive oil, LOTS of butter, garlic, shallots, the cherry tomatoes, basil, lemon juice, and just a bit of vegetable broth that I had for another dish. Added a bit of parsley, chili flakes and salt and pepper. Not exactly what I planned, but delicious and got lots of raves....it can be done.

                                            2. 1. it depends on the recipe what works as an ideal substitute

                                              2. wine and spirits don't generally add *that* much to a dish, as paulJ, mellicita and others have mentioned

                                              what exactly are you thinking about making?

                                              1. Some excellent suggestions already!

                                                Maybe this is a ree-diculous suggestion ...sort of understand where you're coming from:

                                                Could you boil off (most) of the alcohol and re-decant and store in fridge?

                                                Maybe only do this when you're having a big cooking week so you could plan your menus around using the total amount on hand?

                                                If you'd feel more confident (and don't live alone) lock it up and give SO the key?

                                                There are some decent non-alcoholic wines available, too.

                                                Sometimes we just have to let it go...

                                                1. Okay, if this shows up twice, I'm going to be ticked! But the original has not shown up here nor is it in my "all Activity" file, so at the risk of being redundant...

                                                  Teric762, you can use really good wine vinegars and get much the same result you would if you were using wine, just use less. How much less will vary from wine vinegar to wine vinegar, so add and taste until you get the result you're looking for.

                                                  Someone somewhere has turned every good to great wine into a good to great wine vinegar, but you may not find them in your local supermarket. Banyul's is world famous, and great in some dishes but not all. There are great sherry vinegars, port vinegars, champagne vinegars, and just about ever wine grape varietal known to man. But they will cost more than a bottle of Heinze apple cider vinegar, so be prepared.

                                                  The advantage to cooking with great wine vinegars instead of great wine is that you will get nearly identical results, the wine vinegar will remain pretty stable when you have half a bottle left over, and it takes one hell of a lot of self punishing determination to drink enough wine vinegar to get a buzz on.

                                                  Happy cooking! '-)

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Caroline1


                                                    ROFL at your last full paragraph - I never was much into self punishment, so I don't think I could go that far. I did hear stories from some diehards that drank Sterno and perfume back in the day, and I never understood that. Shudder. (Not being judgemental, BTW, just sympathizing with their livers.

                                                    I also had no idea you could substitute a wine vinegar for wine, so that is good to know.

                                                    Some of you have suggested just avoiding recipes that include wine; I have done this for years, and have quite a collection of excellent recipes that are alcohol-free. I am rather bored with this line of cooking, and I am steady enough in my sobriety that I think I can at least explore the possibilities, and I KNOW that if I get the least bit shaky, this whole think is kicked to the curb ASAP. NOTHING is worth my sobriety, because without it, I have - you guessed it - NOTHING!

                                                    At any rate, my biggest problem is that I don't think I am necessarily a good cook, although my friends disagree. I think a good cook is one who understands cooking well enough to tweak recipes, and/or make up their own, and end up with something edible. What I am good at is recognizing a good recipe and following it. And since I've never cooked with wine or alcohol, I didn't know about the acidity playing as much of a role as the flavor, so this is truly a learning experience. SO, if I can learn to improvise, and then, also know what wine is supposed to do for a dish, I could then get through most any recipe. If someone has any ideas for cookbooks that teach how to improvise, that would be great.

                                                    You guys are the best! Thanks for all your suggestions!!

                                                    1. re: teric762

                                                      Teric, there's no reason why you, by your own definition, cannot become a "good cook." Think of your kitchen as a great big chemistry set. Don't know if you got chemistry sets for Christmas when you were a kid, but I did, and my joy was ignoring the instruction manual and the set predetermined experiments with the known results. I wanted to be an alchemist! I wanted to turn lead into gold! So I experimented. Got in some good ones too, before I created such an abominable odor that it took weeks and weeks to get it out of the house. So Santa was told that if he brought me one more chemistry set, the chimney would be locked off forever. <sigh>

                                                      But you CAN experiment with food! You've already got a healthy knowledge base to strike out from based on all those favorite recipes you have. So what happens if you substitute lamb for chicken in a coq au vin? Or pack globs of butter and your newest favorite herb under the skin of a chicken before roasting? Or flavor sugar cookies with orange flower water instead of vanilla? TONS of fun things to try just waiting for you to trust your imagination! And in the end, what is the worst possible thing that can happen? You feed your experiment to the dog or the garbage disposal while you and the family have an impromptu night out, or feast on peanut butter and jelly in front of the TV. But meanwhile, there is still a big bonus there: You will have learned something! And that's exactly how I learned that I hate the taste of fresh tarragon and fresh garlic in the same dish.... As they say, "Live and learn."

                                                      Go ahead and try your wings. '-)

                                                      1. re: teric762

                                                        One of the best cooks I know is a Muslim who cannot drink or consume alcohol uses wine vinegars to replace wine in his recipes. I'm sure he avoids making things such as Coq au Vin, in which wine is the prominent, integral ingredient, but I've found that I've never suffered in the least (or even noticed!!) from his inability to use wine in his other cooking. And, as Caroline1 points out below, you CAN absolutely be a great cook even if you don't use alcohol.

                                                    2. I would suggest you buy a bottle of wine, use what you need for the recipe and freeze the remainder in, say, 1/2 cup portions to use another time. I realize I'm not an alcoholic, but I would imagine that frozen wine would hold little or no allure for drinking, but at least allows you to have it in the house for when you need it. Or is that still too dangerous?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                        1. re: wolfe

                                                          I have been on medications that restricted alcohol and was told by both pharmacists and doctors that the alcohol often does NOT entirely "cook off" and that that is somewhat of a myth. In my case, it would have made me horribly ill or counteracted the drug and I didn't risk it. Same thing with children eating food made with alcohol. I'm told some in treatment or AA are advised against using even mouthwash. I do not judge, nor do I know first hand, just FYI.

                                                          I can think of few recipes where it's imperative and if it is, I'd just make something else. Or, you could always substitute non-alcoholic wine or beer.

                                                      1. I'd just use stock. That's what I do for risottos and stuff from time to time, and I'm hugely obsessed with cooking and good food. I'm not recovering anything, but I don't always have wine around. If you were recovering I would definitely not use any wine. It's just not worth it.

                                                        1. I've used Perrier as a sub for white wine- the lemony/ limey flavor and the zest from the carbonation make it a good substitute in everything I've tried it in.

                                                          1. I use fresh lemon juice as a sub for white wine - I always have them around, so it's an easy option for me. I just use lemon for small increments, but lemon/stock mixtures for larger proportions.

                                                            Also, try pomegranate juice or cranberry for red wines. Obviously this will work better in smaller increments than say a boeuf bourginnon - but you could probably use a stock/juice mix for that.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: jazzy77

                                                              or pomegranate molasses, which is just the juice reduced to syrup consistency. It has a sweet-sour quality that works much like a balsamic glaze. I haven't used it as a wine substitute, but have used it on salads where a slightly fruity touch seemed appropriate, and as an accent in savory dishes. Of course you need to keep its dark color in mind.

                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                A very old European tradition is using black currant preserves in sauces and gravies. It adds a richness and under taste that is very satisfying, but used in the proper proportion doesn't noticeably sweeten the sauces. It's the same principle as adding a pinch of salt to fudge, or a pinch of sugar to a vinaigrette. It underscores.

                                                            2. This is a great topic. I have rosacea, so I can't use strong alcohols at all, and at most can have 1 beer or a small glass of wine on occasion. I wouldn't want to try using a liqueur or any other strongly alcoholic beverage, and I don't have the money to waste on a bottle of wine for just 1/2 cup or something like that. The recipe of the day today is for a "almost summer pudding" that calls for orange liqueur. Could I just substitute orange juice or orange juice concentrate for that? It's only 3 tablespoons!

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: NadaCook

                                                                Orange liqueur adds several flavor components to the dish: orange, sweet, and alcohol. If you want to substitute, you need to consider each of these things.

                                                                The orange flavor in a liqueur typically comes from essential oils, not juice. So you're probably better off using orange zest than OJ. You'll have to experiment to figure out how much.

                                                                As far as the sweetness, most liqueurs use similar quantities of alcohol and sugar. And since the molecules fit together like popcorn and sand, the final volume of the mixture is about equal to the initial volume of alcohol. So figure 3 tablespoons of sugar.

                                                                If you skip the alcohol, you're not going to get that part of the flavor profile. But you still need the moisture, so I'd dissolve the sugar in 3 tablespoons of water.

                                                                On the other hand, if you can drink a beer, why not just use orange liqueur here? You don't need to buy it in quantity; a 50ml "airplane bottle" is the perfect amount for this recipe. And it contains the same amount of alcohol as a 12-ounce bottle of 5.6 ABV beer, so if you can tolerate a single beer, you should be able to eat a slice or two of the pudding.

                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                  Thanks Alan, I appreciate the info. I was thinking of my grandchild as well as myself - strawberries and blueberries are his favorite, so I was going to make it for him and me to share this weekend.
                                                                  But as you say, it's doubtful that the alcohol content would make much difference to me - although if you've ever had an alcohol-related rosacea breakout, you might think differently! Imagine having your face literally burning for 2 weeks after drinking a couple of glasses of champagne - oooowwwww! Or after having a single sip of a margarita. Hmmm, not likely to repeat those mistakes again!

                                                                  Do you think I could do a decoction of orange zest in sugar water as a substitute? Cooking it would bring out a richer orange flavor, wouldn't it? I can do without the alcohol element, I think. As my name implies, I'm not much of a cook, but I love to experiment and try different things together.

                                                                  1. re: NadaCook

                                                                    I suspect that since it's only 3 tbsp. of liqueur, it's not there to contribute any appreciable amount of liquid. So I'd really just add some orange zest or a shot of orange oil (a concentrated natural flavouring). Either one would boost the citrus flavour without adding any alcohol. This doesn't seem like a make-or-break ingredient in the recipe.

                                                                    1. re: Nyleve

                                                                      I would just go ahead and use a combination of zest and orange juice, and not make it to complicated. I'm sure it will still taste wonderful, and no one will be any wiser. And, as one recently diagnosed with rosacea, well, I hope mine does come to this, but do sympathize!

                                                                      I would not use orange concentrate though.

                                                                    2. re: NadaCook

                                                                      Orange oil isn't water soluble, so it would be difficult to get the flavor of the zest into the syrup. Nyleve has a good point - orange oil (or maybe natural orange flavoring or orange extract) might do the trick for you. Otherwise, zest will deliver what you're looking for.

                                                                      As far as the rosacea goes, you have my sympathies. My mom has it, too, although it's not strictly alcohol-related (she's pretty much a teetotaler, and still has periodic outbreaks). No fun.

                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                        Rosacea's four main triggers:

                                                                        Spicy Food - love it, can't live without it
                                                                        Sun - I live in Texas - 'nuff said
                                                                        Stress - well, we all know how "easy" it is to avoid that one!

                                                                        So, since the last 3 are hard to avoid, I mainly try to avoid the alcohol, and use very high SPF sunscreen! Thanks for all the ideas y'all, I plan to make this this weekend.

                                                                2. I just saw this thread. I would getr a full bottle of OK wine, pour it into a pot, crank up the heat, and reduce it down to a fairly thick syrup. You don't even have to watch it. Wine will reduce down without sticking. Then place it all in a little bottle with a tight lid/top and store in the ref. Keeps for a long time and has virtually no alcohol. It becomes just another handy ingredient in the ref.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                    "and has virtually no alcohol."

                                                                    Are you sure about that? That's not what I remember. May not mean much with regard to rosacea ( I am not well versed in that) , but it might still be a problem for some in recovery.

                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                      Alcohol retention is a function of time, temperature, and surface area. Mixed with other ingredients and simmered or baked for an hour at a simmer, 75% of the alcohol evaporates. After 2.5 hours, 95%. Presumably a full rolling boil would increase these numbers significantly.

                                                                  2. Just wondering.....could you make your own "cooking wine" by adding enough salt to a "decent" wine to render it unpalatable? Or is it undesirable to have uncooked alcohol around, period?

                                                                    It could get tricky in terms of making sure your finished dish has the right amount of salt, but I'm sure you could work it out if it's an acceptable option.....

                                                                    Best wishes for your continued sobriety!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: 4Snisl

                                                                      Please banish that thought. Even with salt, the alcohol itself could trigger a craving in someone battling an abuse problem. It's not worth doing that to yourself if you have an alcohol problem or to friends who do. Alcoholism is a tricky disease and it kills people. Why risk it?
                                                                      There is life without alcohol, hard though that may be to believe for those who have no difficulty with it. Once you get used to accommodating family and friends - because you care about them - it's not that hard to adjust recipes or skip them altogether and prepare something else.
                                                                      Playing around the edges is a form of denial.