1. White Wine A simple alternative is lemon juice, providing the necessary clean, crisp acidity to create balance in the dish and enhance flavour. You can also try white grape juice with reduced sugar. Delicious with halal chicken.
2. Red Wine Try grape or pomegranate juice. Mixing in a small amount of red wine vinegar adds a dimension of tartness that sets off other flavours in the dish. (Despite the appellation, we follow halal food certification bodies on the fact that ‘wine vinegars’ like other vinegars including ‘cider vinegars’ do not contain alcohol.) Add to halal lamb and beef dishes.
3. Champagne Being a more luxury product than a lot of wine whites, champagne is thought to taste better because it comes from superior grapes. The bubbles evaporate in the cooking anyway, and many recipes tell you flat champagne is fine too. Therefore, many non-alcoholic champagne substitutes in cooking (sparkling apple or grape juice, or ginger ale (again, sounds like an alcohol, and of course isn’t)) can simply be substituted in the same way as white wine.
4. Beer Carbonated water is great for making a ‘beer batter’: perfect for fish ‘n’ chips at home, or onion rings. Try it with halal chicken too. The bubbles do have a function here of course, unlike in champagne, as above.
5. Cider This one’s pretty obvious. Buy a nice, cloudy or clear apple juice. Sparkling if you’re making batter.
6. Whiskey Whiskey is used in winter foods, from rich meat dishes to puddings and pudding sauces. It is possibly the hardest to substitute because of the many unique flavours that form is distinctive taste during production. We’d be inclined here to recommend a good non-alcoholic whiskey, if you’re making something special. There are companies that produce the malty flavour minus the alcohol, with halal companies among them. If that sounds a bit much for a simple dessert, you can try prune juice, which has a dark sweetness that intensifies flavour.
7. Sake This is simple … rice vinegar. Like sake, it’s made from, well, rice! It’s an effective back-up for Japanese dishes.
8. Brandy (including Cognac & Calvados) Instead of cognac, try pear nectar. Though cognac is made from white grapes, the textured, fresh quality of these juices mimics the original flavour brilliantly. For calvados, try apple juice. These tastes are particularly effective with halal chicken or other poultry.
9. Tequila For Mexican recipes try cactus juice and a drop or two of rose water.
10. Rum Many Caribbean recipes as well as puddings include rum. Sugarcane juice with blackstrap molasses (the dark, viscous molasses produced after extraction of sugar from raw sugarcane) and/or almond syrup will do the trick.
11. Vodka Vodka is added to pasta sauces and risottos, not for its flavour but as an enhancer of other flavours. Another clean, clear and acidic addition, use lemon juice in the same way you’d substitute white wine.
12. Sambuca The Italians add this aniseed liqueur to myriad dishes from meat to puddings. Pure anise oil is the way to go. But just a drop!
13. Cointreau Cointreau is the orange liqueur famously used crepes suzettes as well as other desserts. Simply replace with orange-flavoured sugar syrup.
14. Extracts Watch out for extracts used in baking, these can have a very high alcohol content. Instead opt for baking emulsions with the same flavours. A baking emulsion is a flavour suspended in a base containing mostly water, versus alcohol as is the case for extracts. For vanilla extract, try the bean seeds instead.