I am making a recipe for an icebox cake which calls for 2/3 cups sweet Marsala wine or other fortified wine, in which 1 tbsp gelatin is dissolved, and then mixed with cream cheese, pumpkin, whipped cream and sugar. It is poured into the cookie crust and sets in the fridge. I would like to replace the Marsala wine with bourbon, but I am afraid the higher alcohol content will affect the gelatin in some way, such as preventing it from setting.

Do you think bourbon would be an ok substitution? Would you suggest adding more sugar also to make up for the loss of the sweet wine? I typically lean toward cutting back sugar, rather than making something sweeter, though.

  • Posted by: Krysten
  • November 21, 2016


Nancy November 21, 2016
As the others have suggested, I would not add sugar to the recipe when making the bourbon replacement.
If you are worried about using that much (2/3 cup) strong spirits, maybe use 1/3 cup bourbon and 1/3 cup black coffee (cooled).
Liz D. November 21, 2016
People make jello shots with vodka, so I think it gels just fine--I found 2 articles on Google that said gelatin can gel liquids that contain up to 40 percent alcohol with no adverse effects and no ratio modifications. So 80-proof bourbon should be fine, but your dessert will be more alcoholic with 2/3 c. bourbon vs Marsala. You might want to cut the bourbon with another liquid. I doubt the loss of the amount of sugar in the wine would make a huge difference in the sweetness of the overall dish, I think it's less than a tablespoon in 2/3 cup
ChefJune November 21, 2016
Bourbon is a fairly sweet spirit. I wouldn't add any sugar. I have never supped bourbon for wine. Have no idea how differently it would work.
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