19 Substitutes for Kirsch in Cocktails and Cooking

Substitutes for Kirsch
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There are many different substitutes for kirsch if you don’t know. Kirsch, or kirschwasser, is a type of brandy distilled from cherries.

It’s most often used as a liqueur in mixed drinks or to add a cherry flavor to dishes in place of maraschino cherries or cherry juice concentrate. 

However, genuine kirsch can be difficult to find and is expensive if you do find it. So, several convenient substitutes for kirsch are readily available at most liquor stores and supermarkets.

Here are some tips for finding the substitutes for kirsch you need in your cooking routine.

1. Rum

The first thing to remember is that the flavor of kirsh is usually very subtle. This means that you can substitute it with something else, such as rum, and still have a lovely drink. 

The exception to this is if you are making an apple pie where the apple juice needs to be reduced to make syrup. In this case, you will need the more intense flavor of kirsh. Rum is the first on our list of substitutes for kirsch in this guide.

2. Cherry Preserve

Cherry Preserve is one of the fantastic substitutes for Kirsch in your cooking. This preserve has a similar tart cherry flavor but does not have the alcohol that kirsch does. 

Also, it has less sugar than kirsch and is made with natural ingredients. Use it to make your cake or pie as tangy and delicious as ever!

3. Grappa

Kirsch is a distilled fruit brandy popularly used to make liqueurs. Grappa is an Italian grape brandy that can be used as one of the substitutes for kirsch when cooking.

Some of the dishes that grappa can be used instead of kirsch are apple pie, peach pie, cherry pie, and strawberry shortcake. 

Furthermore, the flavor difference between the two drinks is negligible, but their alcohol content differs significantly.

If substituting grappa for kirsch, make sure you cut down on its use by at least half or one-third, depending on your preference.

4. Țuică or Pălincă

Țuică and pălincă are alcoholic beverages commonly made in Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine. They are distilled from plums, apricots, blackberries, or other fruits to produce a plum brandy of about 40% ABV. 

The name țuică is derived from the Romanian word for plum, while the word pălincă comes from the Ukrainian word for apricot.

Țuica can be used as a substitute for kirsch when making traditional German fruit cake recipes such as Kuchen.

5. Apple Cider, Apple Juice, Or Lemon Juice

Apple cider, apple juice, or lemon juice are all great substitutes for kirsch in cooking. Apple cider is the best substitute if you want to use something that is already on hand and not have to go out and buy a new ingredient. 

It’s light, fruity, and tart–just like kirsch. However, do not use apple cider when making a dish with a lot of sugar. If you want your dish to be sweet, then use apple juice or lemon juice instead.

6. Vermouth

Vermouth is often used as one of the substitutes for kirsch. Mixing vermouth with other ingredients is the best way to use vermouth as a substitute. 

For example, you can mix it with cherry juice or grapefruit juice to create a variation of the classic kir royale. Vermouth also goes well with apple cider, ginger beer, and fruit juices like pineapple, cranberry, and raspberry.

7. Fondue

Fondue is a popular Swiss dish with a cheese-based sauce served over bread cubes. There are so many fondue variations, but the most common one involves mixing kirsch and white wine

If you don’t have any kirsch on hand or don’t want to use it due to its high alcohol content, there are other great substitutes for kirsch that you can use instead. Bourbon, brandy, or cognac are all great additions for fondue as a substitute for kirsch.

8. Fruit-based Eau de Vie

Kirsch is a type of eau de vie produced from cherries. The color ranges from pale to dark red, and the flavor can range from sweet to dry.

This delicious drink can be used as a substitute for other types of alcohol, such as whiskey or rum, but it is especially popular in cherry desserts. 

A typical dessert includes baking the cherries with sugar and kirsch and then topping the dish with whipped cream.

A good substitute for kirsch is fruit-based eau de vie, which has a similar taste and color. Fruit-based Eau de vies are made by infusing fruits into distilled spirits rather than using wine like traditional Eaux de vie.

9. Good Ole White Wine and a Spritz of Lemon Juice

Kirsch is typically used to flavor dishes such as sauces and desserts. It is a type of liquor made from fruit, specifically cherries. If you don’t have any kirsch on hand, these are also substitutes for kirsch you can use.

Good ole white wine and a spritz of lemon juice will work if you want to add just a little bit of that cherry taste. It won’t be the same as using kirsch, but it will get the job done if needed!

10. Kriek Lambic (aka Cherry Beer)

Substitutes for kirsch? Kriek Lambic is one! Also known as cherry beer, this is a type of Belgian beer that tastes similar to kirsch. It is a slightly sweet but sour beverage with an alcoholic content of 2-6%. 

The sweetness balances the tartness of the cherries. Kriek Lambic can be found in specialty grocery stores or ordered online. 

11. Calvados

The first time I tried Calvados was when I was younger, and my dad put some over ice cream. It’s a taste that has stuck with me. 

But now that it’s fall and apple season is coming up, I wondered what could be better than a rich, thick apple pie.

The answer: an apple pie with a bit of Calvados mixed in! Trust me; it’s one of the best substitutes for kirsch you don’t want to miss out on.

12. Chambord

Are you looking for substitutes for kirsch? Why not try Chambord? Chambord is a delicious raspberry liqueur that can be used as a substitute for kirsch. Chambord tastes like an intense raspberry flavor with a little bit of sweetness and acidity. 

Thus, this makes it perfect to use as an ingredient in cocktails, sauces, or anywhere you would normally use kirsch. Chambord can also be used to replace the alcohol in your favorite desserts that call for kirsch. 

13. Framboise or Cherry Liqueur

The most common substitutes for kirsch are framboise or cherry liqueur. Framboise is a raspberry-flavored liqueur that tastes like blackberry and will give your dish a sweet and fruity flavor.

Additionally, it is another type of Belgian beer made from raspberries and comes at an ABV of 3%.

Plus, this drink has a more syrupy texture than kirsch and is not quite as sweet as it is. Framboise can be found at most specialty grocery stores or ordered online.

On the other hand, Cherry liqueur is made with cherries and has a tart, fruity flavor. To substitute kirsch for framboise, use two tablespoons of framboise to one tablespoon of kirsch.

To substitute kirsch for a cherry liqueur, use two tablespoons of cherry liqueur to one tablespoon of kirsch.

14. Liqueur de Mirabelle

Kirschwasser, also known as kirsch or cherry brandy, is a distilled fruit spirit made from double distillation of fermented cherries. It is produced mostly in the Alsace region of France and Germany.

This delicious liqueur can be used as a substitute for another ingredient with similar qualities, like Mirabelle. If you need sumptuous substitutes for kirsch, Liqueur de Mirabelle is an excellent option!

15. Amaretto

Amaretto is a sweet, almond-flavored liqueur that is one of the substitutes for kirsch. In Italy, amaretto is called amaro almande. Amaretto’s flavor has been described as similar to almonds, often used to flavor desserts. 

Furthermore, the almond flavor comes from the pits of apricot kernels which are soaked in spirits. Amaretto can also be substituted for other alcoholic beverages, such as cherry brandy or sherry.

16. Hazelnut Liqueur

Hazelnut liqueur is not left out of the various substitutes for kirsch in your cooking. It is made with roasted hazelnuts, sugar syrup, and alcohol.

If you want to make a recipe that calls for kirsch but doesn’t have any on hand, try substituting hazelnut liqueur instead.

The flavor of the hazelnut liqueur will add a sweet, nutty taste to your dish. Also, you can substitute half of the amount called for if the recipe only asks for a little bit of the liqueur.

Hazelnut liqueur is not as strong as other types of alcohol, like vodka or rum, so it will not change the flavor profile too much. It just might give you enough flavor to make up for what was missing from kirsch.

17. Cherry Schnapps

Kirsch is a type of cherry liqueur that can be found in many cocktails. If you’re not a fan of this particular liqueur, there are several substitutes for kirsch to choose from. One great substitute is cherry schnapps. 

Specifically, this liquor has the same flavor and sweetness as kirsch, but it’s less expensive than the original alcohol and easier to find.

Simply replace the kirsch with an equal amount of schnapps. Then you’ll have a tasty drink without spending an arm and leg on bottles of fancy booze.

18. Cassis

If you’re looking to substitute kirsch, the best option is to use cassis liqueur. It has a similar flavor profile and is a lot more inexpensive.

Cassis is made from blackcurrants and is popular in cocktails like Kir Royales. It can be substituted as an ingredient in many different recipes that call for kirsch or other cherry-flavored liqueurs. 

One example would be adding blackcurrant juice instead of kirsch when making apricot pie or cake. Mix equal parts cassis with vodka (or any other clear liquor) for a cocktail and strain into martini glasses before serving.

19. Cherry and Vodka or Cherry Essence & Vodka/Cherry Juice

Lastly, Cherries are naturally sweet, making them ideal substitutes for kirsch. One option is to use store-bought cherry syrup or juice. Also, you can add a little vodka and make your own cherry-flavored liquor. 

To prepare this delectable: combine cherries, water, and sugar. Let the mixture sit overnight, and then strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the solids. Finally, bottle the liquid and refrigerate it.


Kirsch, or kirschwasser in German, is a clear distilled alcoholic beverage that has been flavored with morello cherries.

Kirsch is a type of cherry brandy that is most often used to make Cherries Jubilee, but it can also be used to flavor things like cake, ice cream, and cocktails.

If you don’t have any kirsch on hand but still want to make Cherries Jubilee, use those aforementioned substitutes for kirsch instead.

Kirsch is the key ingredient in some classic recipes, including Böhmischer Hochzeitstorte and Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte.

Also, it can be used as an ingredient in sauces, cakes, and other sweet dishes. If you’re looking for substitutes for kirsch but still want to enjoy its distinctive cherry flavor, consider using one of those alternatives instead of kirsch in your favorite recipes!

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