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Does Cooking Wine have Alcohol?

Does Cooking Wine have Alcohol?

Jonas Muthoni

Have you ever wondered what the differences between regular wine and cooking wine are? Can we not use regular drinking wine for cooking? Or can we drink the cooking wine? If you have such questions, you will be transparent with all the answers in the following post.

Does Cooking Wine have alcohol?

Yes, it does have! That’s why it is called cooking wine. On average, cooking wine has an alcohol content of around 16% ABV. So you can say that in a 100ml sample, 16ml is pure ethyl alcohol. And to be more precise, cooking wines have higher alcohol content than many drinking wines.

Research from the U.S. Department revealed that alcohol content reduces with cooking time. The more the cooking time, the lesser the alcohol content gets. Say, if you are cooking with cooking wine and the food has been cooking for fifteen minutes, in that case, 40 percent of the alcohol will be retained. If you are cooking for an hour, the alcohol reduces to only 25; however, even after 2.5-3 hours of cooking, five percent of the alcohol will still be there. And obviously, you cannot cook anything for that long. But yes, it is sure that five percent of alcohol is relatively low in an individual serving. But alcohol remains.

Although there are many cooking wines, some of them, like the white ones, contain a relatably lesser level of alcohol than the average, therefore please note to always read the label before using them. 

Cooking Wine vs. Regular Drinking Wine

Cooking wine is rich in alcohol and high preservative-filled liquid. Its only purpose is to add flavor to your food. It has many varieties – it comes in red, white and sherry.

It is a bad idea to taste cooking wine, as it is just not made for drinking and is only for cooking. Filled with lots of preservatives, cooking wine tastes incredibly salty. DO NOT drink cooking wine!

The significant difference between the two wines is that cooking wines are not just rich in alcohol and preservatives; it is also rich in salt. The amount of salt is around 1 ½ times over the RDA of sodium found in an entire 12-ounce bottle of cooking wine. So while preparing food in cooking wine, you are supposed to add any additional salt. And high salt level makes it pretty unhealthy, which you don’t want to go overboard!

Can You Get Drunk Off Cooking Wine?

Drinking cooking wine can get you drunk, as it has a really high alcohol content. Irrespective of what exactly you are consuming, a big amount of alcohol is very much capable of getting someone really high. In fact, it is said that sipping cooking wine is equivalent to drinking a heavier red wine, and it tastes horrible.

The adverse effects of Cooking Wine

People should avoid alcohol for various reasons, and this particular fact is known to everyone, but do we avoid it? 

Talking about cooking wine, it has many adverse health effects. For a pregnant woman cooking wines should not be allowed to take, as there is a significant health risk for both the mother and the baby. 

You must take care to not use cooking wine to guard against alcoholic relapse, protect a fetus, or avoid adverse reactions that certain medications might bring on. 

Therefore, take action to avoid cooking wine at your level. In a restaurant, you can ask if the dish is cooked in wine or spirits before the meal is served. If you are going to visit someone as a guest, you could let the host know in advance that you’re avoiding alcohol in food and drinks. These are some of the best steps to take if one wishes to avoid alcohol.

When Should You Use Cooking Wine?

Having regular wine is good for health, but some people still prefer not to take it. Therefore for some people cooking wine becomes a good alternative.

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If the recipe of your favorite dish demands a small amount of wine, like say a spoon of it or half a cup, people who don’t wish to take regular drinking wine should not skip it and try the recipe with the cooking wine. Having said that, we already know that cooking wine will evaporate most of the alcohol, and therefore it is good to go for a person who avoids wine.

 There are other alternatives of wine for people who don’t usually drink wine, but wish to consume it, as it is equally healthy – they can go for buying a table wine or a boxed wine, many of which come in single servings. In this way, you don’t get the taste of wine but definitely enjoy its flavor.

What Can Be Substituted for Cooking Wine?

  • Table Wine: Table wine instead of cooking wine is the best option even if you do not want to avoid the taste of cooking wine
  • Vinegar or Grape Juice: The finest and healthiest option is red or white grape juice with a dash of vinegar; however, keep in mind that juices are considerably sweeter than wine, so if the recipe asks for a larger amount, this substitution may not work.
  • Chicken and beef: Chicken or beef broth has several flavor components that can take the place of wine in smaller amounts. 
  • Tomato Juice: Another salty and best alternative is tomato juice

 Is there any Red Wine used for cooking?

The finest red wines for cooking are those with mild tannins, such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, and lighter Cabernets. It’s also worth mentioning that dry wine has less residual sugar, making it a superior savory cooking wine.

Because they have mild tannins, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese (the principal grape in Chianti), and lighter-style Cabernets are the ideal red wines for cooking. Heat does not help the defects in bad wine; rather, it emphasizes them.

Hope this post helped you resolve every doubt regarding cooking wine and regular drinking wine!

Also, check about cooking with sherry and its substitutes.

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