The 7 Best Substitutes For Non-Alcoholic Bourbon

What can I use instead of non-alcoholic bourbon? The best substitutes for non-alcoholic bourbon flavor are bourbon, vanilla, and almond extract. For beverages and cooking, use apple cider vinegar, ginger beer, fruit juice, or non-alcoholic spirits as alternatives.

Bourbon is an American barrel-aged whiskey made from corn. It is used in cocktails to add smokiness, nuttiness, and caramel flavor to desserts, jams, marinades, glazes, and meaty dishes. Alcohol-free bourbon is a delicious choice as a beverage, but there are other options for cooking and sipping.

Let’s look at the seven best substitutes for non-alcoholic bourbon.   

The Seven Best Substitutes For Non-Alcoholic Bourbon


Bourbon Extract

The best substitute for non-alcoholic bourbon is bourbon extract.

Bourbon extract is a flavoring agent and enhancer that will add the flavor nuances of bourbon to a dish. Although some bourbon extract contains alcohol, most are alcohol-free, containing only artificial flavors. Check the ingredients to make sure.

There are also varieties of bourbon extract which contain vanilla, making them ideal for baked goods.

Replace non-alcoholic bourbon with bourbon extract in cakes, pies, cookies, coffee, eggnog, or mocktails. The sweet caramelized oakiness will come to the fore.

Because bourbon extract is much more potent than non-alcoholic bourbon, you will only need a few drops, around ¼ to ½ a teaspoon, for the same flavor as ¼ cup. Make up the rest of the liquid with water.

Vanilla Extract

Another excellent alternative to non-alcoholic bourbon is vanilla extract.

A staple in the bakers’ pantry, vanilla extract is the ultimate flavor enhancer for desserts, cakes, pies, and cookies.

The best quality vanilla extract is made from the tiny black seeds of the vanilla pod rather than artificial chemicals and colorants (as in cheaper vanilla essence).

Use vanilla extract instead of non-alcoholic bourbon when you want to add depth and aroma rather than the specific flavor of bourbon. It’s great for frosting in desserts like tiramisu or trifle, sweet sauces, mocktails, and hot toddies. Use a vanilla pod as a cocktail stirrer for an elegant faux Manhattan.

Being an extract with concentrated flavor, a teaspoon of vanilla extract can replace ¼ cup of non-alcoholic bourbon. Add water to make up additional liquid and adjust according to taste, remembering that vanilla has a sweeter flavor profile.

Almond Extract

Almond extract makes a delicious replacement for non-alcoholic bourbon.

Like vanilla extract, the almond extract provides a concentrated punch of marzipan-like flavor to baked goods. The best quality almond extract comes from nuts rather than artificially flavored ones.

Use almond extract instead of non-alcoholic bourbon in bakes containing nuts, like pecan pie or walnut coffee cake. It’s also delicious in dessert cream, frosting, coffee, and hot chocolate.

Almond extract has a very intense flavor, so you need to use only a teaspoon of almond extract diluted with water to replace ¼ cup of non-alcoholic bourbon. Add brown sugar if you want a sweeter flavor and vanilla extract for a more nuanced profile.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar sugar can substitute for non-alcoholic bourbon.

Made from fermented apple juice and yeast, apple cider vinegar is touted for its health benefits.

Apple cider vinegar may seem an odd replacement for non-alcoholic bourbon. However, it has a similar sweetness and acidity that can tenderize meat.

This substitute works well for BBQ sauce, marinades, rubs for ribs and pulled pork, sticky chicken wings, glazes for roast veggies, and pecan pie. It also tastes terrific in eggnog.

If you find apple cider vinegar too harsh, combine ½ tablespoon of vinegar with 1/3 teaspoon of brown sugar for every tablespoon of non-alcoholic bourbon.

When making mocktails or fruit punch, combine peach juice and cider vinegar in a 3:1 ratio, adding more cider to taste. Replace non-alcoholic bourbon with equal amounts of this mixture.

Ginger Beer

Replace non-alcoholic bourbon with ginger beer.

Ginger beer is a non-alcoholic beverage, originally made by fermenting sugar, ginger, and water with a ginger beer plant (GBP) or yeast starter. (It differs from brewed ginger beer, an English alcoholic drink.) Most commercially produced ginger beer is a sweetened, carbonated, and artificially flavored soda.

Homemade or craft ginger beer is an excellent substitute for non-alcoholic bourbon. However, good quality soda flavored with natural ginger is also delicious. You can use ginger ale, noting that it has a higher sugar content.

Use ginger beer instead of non-alcoholic bourbon in spicy, savory dishes, like chili, glazes for pork and chicken, pan sauces, and fruity desserts. The fizz will cook off, leaving a tangy taste and underlying sweetness.

Try ginger beer as a substitute for non-alcoholic bourbon in mocktails and punch. Although the flavor differs, the ginger provides the “burn” that characterizes bourbon.

You can replace non-alcoholic bourbon 1:1 with ginger beer in beverages. It is best to simmer the soda to intensify the flavor and use that reduced liquid for cooking.

Fruit Juice

The most convenient substitute for non-alcoholic bourbon is fruit juice.

Apple juice or cider, orange, grape, or lemon juice are all handy alternatives to non-alcoholic bourbon, depending on the recipe. However, to get an authentic flavor, you must use pure fruit juice, not artificially flavored, colored, or sweetened juice.

For example, apple, orange, or grape juice is used for fruit desserts. Choose orange or lemon juice for BBQ sauce, meat marinade, or deglazing a pan.

To add depth, combine fruit juice with a teaspoon of vanilla or bourbon extract when making mocktails or punch.

Replace non-alcoholic bourbon with equal measures of the fruit juice of your choice – there is no need to dilute it.

Non-alcoholic Spirits

Enjoy non-alcoholic spirits as an alternative to non-alcoholic bourbon.

Non-alcoholic spirits are made in various ways, but one of the most interesting is removing the alcohol from full-strength spirits. Distillation can add and decrease alcohol content, so you retain the intense flavor without alcohol. This process is used mainly for rum and whiskey.

Another process is used to make gin and other botanical elixirs. During maceration, juniper berries and herbs soak in the liquid to infuse it with flavor.

If you want a sipping beverage or mocktail ingredient to replace non-alcoholic bourbon, try non-alcohol-free rum, gin, or brandy.