Substitutions for Alcoholic Ingredients

Baby back ribs, chicken, or seafood tenderized in a beer marinade, a touch of distilled spirits to enhance the flavor of cooking juices, light biscuits or bread made with beer, chicken braised in wine. Wine, beer, and distilled spirits can add to the flavor, tenderness, and texture of your culinary creations.

If you choose to avoid wine, beer, or distilled spirits, it’s easy to make a quick, flavorful substitution. To equal the amount of liquid from the alcoholic ingredient, you may need to add water, broth, or apple or white grape juice. (Note: Extracts may have small amounts of alcohol.

Start with a nonalcoholic beverage. Satisfy your thirst first. Then enjoy your alcoholic beverage more slowly.  Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eating a little food helps slow the absorption of alcohol. Decide ahead to limit drinks, preferably no more than one per day if you’re a female or two per day if you’re a male. If you choose to drink more, pace yourself.

On average, the body can detoxify only one standard-size drink (about 1⁄2 ounce of alcohol per hour. The rest continues to circulate until it’s finally broken down.  To slow your drinking pace, put your drink down. Socialize instead.  If you have one alcoholic drink, make the next one nonalcoholic. When you do this, you consume less alcohol and give your body a chance to process the alcohol you’ve consumed already. Measure liquor for mixed drinks with a jigger.

Use a 1-ounce jigger, not the 11⁄2-ounce size. You’ll likely use less with a jigger than if you pour from the bottle right into the glass.  Make an alcoholic drink last longer; you’ll less likely order another. Learn to sip, not gulp; perhaps use a straw for mixed drinks. Dilute drinks with water, ice, club soda, or juice to increase the volume. Tip: Frozen drinks often take longer to sip.  If you feel thirsty, drink bottled water or a soft drink instead of another alcoholic beverage.

Remember: Alcohol actually has a diuretic effect.  Prefer a wine cooler? Instead of commercial drinks, mix your own using less wine. For mixers, try sparkling water or fruit juice. Lighten up! Order low-alcohol beer, light wine, or a light distilled spirit instead. Each has less alcohol. Or try nonalcoholic beer. At the table, have a glass of water by your plate, too.

You’ll probably drink less alcoholic drinks.  Skip the last round before the bar closes! And, as a host, don’t feel a need to refresh your guests’ drinks. Order a “virgin” cocktail: nonalcoholic mixers without the liquor.

Mix in juice, carbonated water, or a soft drink instead. Remember the garnish! See “Kitchen Nutrition: Super Sippers” for more ideas. Bring bottled water or soft drinks to a picnic or a sports event to be sure you have a nonalcoholic option.

F LUIDSTH E POWER OF WATER 177 Kitchen Nutrition Super Sippers Hot-weather thirst quenchers: For a subtle citrus flavor in ice water, add slices of lemon, lime, or orange. Or add fruited or floral ice cubes: freeze fruit juice or edible flowers in your ice cube trays.

To learn about edible flowers, see “Please Don’t Eat the Daffodils” in chapter 13.  Combine one 6-ounce can of grapefruit juice or cranberry-mango cocktail concentrate with two 12- ounce bottles of chilled club soda. Serve with a sprig of fresh mint. Serves four.

Last word

Make a fruit smoothie. In a blender, puree berries, sliced kiwifruit, mango, or pineapple chunks, and frozen limeade concentrate. Perhaps add a little fresh mint. For convenience, try canned and frozen fruit for smoothies! Create your own shakes.

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