So many readers have written us asking what to substitute for wine in various recipes that we've collected some ideas and suggestions that may be helpful. If the recipe calls for a large amount of wine such as a cup or more, it is usually better to forget it, and find another recipe. If wine is a major ingredient, the flavor of the substitute would change the dish into something different that might not be enjoyable.
But if it is one you want very much to try and the wine is a small part of it there are some substitutes that are successful.
Lemon or lime juice is the most commonly used substitute. But common sense in all substitutes is necessary. Consider the other ingredients and also the taste preferences of your own family. Here are some other ideas.
For sherry and light wines: Use equal quantities of lemon juice of chicken bouillon, or equal amounts of lemon juice combined with celery water, made by boiling leaves and coarse celery stalks.
In Chinese and other recipes requiring small amounts of light wine such as one or two tablespoons, use plain water or omit wine and use no substitute if the liquid is not necessary to produce a gravy or sauce.
For white wines with fish: Recipes for fish poached or cooked in white wine require too large an amount of wine to substitute. The result would be completely different in flavor and not worth the risk.
However, if you have a fish recipe requiring several cups of white wine and you want to use the recipe because of the cooking method or some other reason, substitute an equal amount of bottled clam juice or fish stock.
For red wines: Keeping in mind the flavor combinations of other ingredients, try substituting apple juice, grape juice or cranberry juice.
All the citrus juices -- orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime are good when a tart flavor will blend with other seasonings used. Orange juice with an added bit of grated orange rind is better in mincemeat than rum, one reader writes.
Cranberry juice, diluted slightly, is good in marinating and barbecue recipes. It can also be combind with lemon juice. Cranberry juice has been recommended as excellent for pot roasts and stews, with the idea that the acid content helps tenderize the meat.
For desserts: Ginger ale is fine over fruit cocktail or drained fruit in place of champagne and other sparkling wines. Other carbonated beverages are also used for fresh or canned fruit desserts in place of wi ne.