When cooking with wine, it’s important to use a wine that you enjoy the taste of, as it will contribute to the overall flavor of the dish. It’s also important to choose a wine that is specifically labeled as a cooking wine, as these wines are formulated to work well in recipes and may be higher in salt than regular drinking wines.
What Is Cooking Wine?
Cooking wine is a type of wine that is made specifically for use in cooking, rather than for drinking. It is usually a low-quality wine that has been salted, and sometimes has added herbs or other flavorings. The salt helps to preserve the wine and prevent it from spoiling, while the herbs and flavorings can add extra depth and complexity to the dish being prepared.
Cooking wine is commonly used in recipes that require a small amount of wine for flavor, such as sauces, stews, and marinades. It is often sold in the grocery store near the vinegar and other condiments, and is available in both red and white varieties. Some common examples of cooking wine include Marsala, Sherry, and Vermouth. It is important to note that cooking wine should not be substituted for drinking wine in recipes, as it is typically much higher in salt and can alter the flavor of the dish.
Type Of Cooking Wine
There are several types of cooking wine, each with its own unique flavor and characteristics. Here are some of the most commonly used cooking wines:
- Red wine: Red wine is commonly used in hearty meat dishes like stews and roasts. Some popular red cooking wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.
- White wine: White wine is used in many recipes, including seafood dishes, cream sauces, and chicken dishes. Popular dry white wines for cooking include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio.
- Sherry: Sherry is a fortified wine that is often used in sauces and marinades. It has a nutty flavor and is available in both dry and sweet varieties.
- Marsala: Marsala is a fortified wine from Sicily that is commonly used in Italian cuisine. It has a rich, sweet flavor and is often used in sauces and desserts.
- Vermouth: Vermouth is an aromatized wine that is commonly used in cocktails, but it is also used in cooking. It has a slightly bitter flavor and is often used in seafood dishes and sauces.
- Madeira: A fortified wine from Portugal that is often used in sauces and desserts. It has a rich, nutty flavor.
- Port: A fortified wine from Portugal that is often used in desserts and sauces. It has a sweet, fruity flavor.
- Sake: A Japanese rice wine that is used in many Asian recipes. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
It is important to note that cooking wine should be of a lower quality and salted to prevent it from being consumed as a beverage, and not to be confused with regular drinking wines.
How To Choose Cooking Wine?
When choosing a cooking wine, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you select the right type for your recipe. Here are some tips on how to choose cooking wine:
Consider the recipe: Different recipes call for different types of wine, so it’s important to choose a wine that complements the other ingredients in your recipe. For example, a red wine might be suitable for a beef stew, while a white wine might be better for a seafood dish.
Look for a wine that you enjoy the taste of: While cooking wine is not intended to be consumed as a beverage, it is still important to choose a wine that you enjoy the taste of. This will help to ensure that the finished dish has a flavor that you find pleasing.
Choose a wine that is labeled as “cooking wine”: Cooking wines are specifically formulated for use in cooking, and are often lower in quality and higher in salt than regular drinking wines. Look for a wine that is labeled specifically as a cooking wine to ensure that it will work well in your recipe.
Don’t use wine that has gone bad: It’s important to use fresh wine when cooking, as wine that has gone bad can spoil the flavor of your dish. Make sure to check the expiration date on the bottle and look for any signs of spoilage, such as a vinegary smell or a cloudy appearance.
Experiment: Cooking is all about experimentation, so don’t be afraid to try different types of wine in your recipes to see what works best. Over time, you’ll develop a sense of which wines work well with different types of dishes, and you’ll be able to choose the perfect wine for each recipe.
Substitute For Cooking Wine
If you don’t have cooking wine on hand, there are several substitutes that you can use in your recipe. Here are some of the most common substitutes for cooking wine:
- Chicken or vegetable broth: For recipes that call for white wine, you can use chicken or vegetable broth as a substitute. This will add a similar depth of flavor to your dish.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can be used as a substitute for red wine in recipes. It has a similar acidity and can help to tenderize meat.
- Grape juice: For a non-alcoholic substitute, you can use grape juice in place of wine. This will add a similar sweetness to your dish.
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice can be used as a substitute for white wine in recipes. It adds acidity and brightness to the dish.
Keep in mind that using a substitute may alter the flavor of your dish slightly, so it’s important to use your judgement and adjust the other ingredients as needed.
Cooking Wine Brands Rarely Known
There are many cooking wine brands that may not be as well-known as others, but are still worth considering. Here are a few examples:
Holland House produces a range of cooking wines, including sherry, marsala, and red and white cooking wines. They are widely available in grocery stores across the United States.
Goya is a popular brand for many Latin American ingredients, and they also produce cooking wines, including white and red varieties.
Roland is a brand that specializes in gourmet ingredients, including cooking wines. Their selection includes sherry, marsala, and white and red cooking wines.
Colavita is known for their high-quality olive oil, but they also produce a line of cooking wines, including sherry and marsala.
Mount Hope is a smaller brand that produces a variety of cooking wines, including white, red, and marsala. They are available online and in some specialty stores.
It’s important to note that not all cooking wines are created equal, and some are not suitable for cooking due to their high sodium content or other additives. Always read the label and choose a brand that is specifically labeled as a cooking wine.