Desserts alcohol – 5 desserts to avoid if  you are alcohol free

So it was a Saturday and we decided to go for an Italian rustic meal. I love the passion of Italian food and as someone who avoids alcohol because of health full stop I always think it’s a win win.

Avoid any of the sauces that maybe have alcohol in them and if some does creep in I hope that heat has burned off if not all the alcohol in the cooking itself.

Science tells us that is mainly the case but I am always wary and ask for no sauce if possible if there is a risk.

Most places are very happy to do this. With food because of the allergy issue more people are accommodating than with drink in my experience.

Now it’s been a while since I have eaten Italian food. It has been more of a Sunday roast, Thai, Spanish and Chinese where the alcohol dessert is very limited mainly.

I am talking ice cream at best which since giving up alcohol I seem to have developed a craving for it!  I checked with a dietitian and she said of course in moderation it’s fine. Thank goodness for that.

However, here I was presented in this Italian restaurant with a sweet board, like a special dessert board. My heart started to sing its mass listing of everything that was good about dessert, cream pastries, sauces and the like. I could actually feel my much watering with the thought. You know when you create that picture in your head and there is no going back!

I did what we all do, which was imagine the spoon going into my mouth with the dessert and getting that fuzzy buzz that dessert gives you. To add to that there coffee type desserts going if you want that extra kick of caffeine.

Of course then reality kicked in. I discovered there was only one on the list that did not have alcohol and that was ice cream the rest were pre made and ready to go.

So here it my top 5 desserts if you want to avoid alcohol

Number Five – Profiteroles

These are truly amazing things to look at and sometimes they come with extra cream poured over! It is a small puffed hollowed out pastry generally made into what looks like a ball. It has the usual ingredients such as flour, chocolate and sugar and is French in origin.

Although there is now a trend and it is a big one to pump the cream with some vanilla alcohol, brandy or even whiskey. Now it might not be massive amounts but here in the UK supermarket war broke out over it.

It happened when a family innocently bought a pack of profiterole desserts from a supermarket aisle. As a family treat.

Now it seems that it had a lot of alcohol in them and the family who don’t drink suddenly noticed the child get a bit tipsy and the daughter said it definitely had alcohol in them.

When they checked the label it had very little information.

They complained to the supermarket got no response apparently and so went to the local press and the story got widespread coverage. The family actually got a great deal of criticism and it reminded me of how hard it is sometimes to be accepted in an alcohol dominated world.

I would defend the family on these counts:

  • They are the consumer and have a right to know what is in the food
  • It should have been better labeled
  • They may have zero tolerance to alcohol
  • They may have an issue with alcohol and don’t want to be reminded of it.
  • They may choose, not or want to have alcohol as part of the system.

It’s a bit like when you order an alcohol free beer and the barman tuts and say what’s the point.

What was interesting is that the supermarket responded and now have improved the labeling. I know I go and check and they really have, maybe a new range of alcohol free profiteroles is on the way.

If you are in a restaurant just ask and with the growing awareness of allergies most are very keen to give you an honest answer and quickly. I will just keep dreaming of them or make them fresh for now.

It does however show there is a real trend to desserts alcohol and until this weekend I haven’t clocked it!

Chantilly cream

Now Chantilly cream is amazing if you have never tried it. So close your eyes and imagine rich whipped cream infused with vanilla extract, it is a classic to the French pastry table. I know this was all in an Italian restaurant. It can be added to all sorts of pasties and cakes.

It’s sweetened whipped cream with vanilla thrown in and some chefs love recipes with liqueurs in place of vanilla. Brandy is popular with this one.

However, here in the thing and in the states this was a massive story.

According to the  Food and Drugs administration a pure vanilla extract which is often used has to maintain a minimum of 35 percent alcohol so you are talking the same as rum. Yet it’s not really sold in liquor stores but grocery stores. There were stories of students getting drunk on it.

Not even at the so extreme level vanilla extract can have some alcohol content. Who would have known my mum’s pantry as a kid was really a well stocked bar!

Again it seems alcohol has crept into the traditional recipes and awareness is key. Anyway for my Saturday lunch that was off the menu!

For my review of alcohol free fizz there is more here

Sherry trifle

Now this is often on the menu especially in big carveries and Sunday lunches but also Italian Restaurants and Spain tapas bars as it originates in Andalusia in Spain.

It’s often claimed the selling point is that the sherry is low in calories but it can be anything up to 16-18 per cent alcohol so let’s now not worry about the calories if you are watching your alcohol intake.

In Spain, it can often come at the end of the tapas selection, and nice it is too. In Italian restaurants it can often be a more lavish affair. Notice how it jumps many country borders including British.

Now the thing is trifle per se seems to be fine but with sherry trifle you know there is going to be some alcohol in it. My mum once tripped and put half a bottle in hers and boy could you taste it. However, when you are eating out many trifles are not labeled so it may say just trifle but in fact it is has sherry or a brandy in it as a main component.

My best advice is stay away or double check with the restaurant. It is now serving you a triple dose of alcohol!

Liquor time deserts

Now these are the new kid on the block and are normally clear to see in terms of labeling however when you are eating out they may come as part a dessert selection.

So I have seen

  • Baileys Cheesecake
  • Cherry liquor bombs
  • Afogato with a liquor poured over such as lemon liquor.
  • Brandy snap
  • Raspberry liquor short bread.
  • Cheesecake with a special flavor.
  • Extra alcohol tiramisu! ( I forgot to mention that one, let’s call that number six)

You sort of get the idea so keep your eyes peeled for a selection of desserts that’s delivered to the table as there maybe a few of these in there.

Number One Cheese Board with liquor

Now this is a new one but some restaurants are bringing out cheese, biscuit and the rest but then include a free small port or liquor to go with it. It can be slightly off-putting and before you realize you don’t touch alcohol, you could “down” the side drink without thinking!

They then bring the bottle and tip you up. This is done by lots of restaurants to build trust with the diners and say thank you.

Of course, it’s a lovely thing to do but I have seen people down it only to then realize they are drinking alcohol and should not have that level of alcohol in their blood because they are driving.

In some cases they actually leave the bottle on the table for you to help yourself. So before you realize you have been alcohol free all through the meal then you are downing the most alcohol steeped content there is.

So the best advice is been aware of desserts alcohol and if you don’t care of course enjoy!

How to get around it ?

Before I depress you about desserts’ alcohol remember there are plenty out there that are fine to eat from pancakes, ice cream and or course apple pie. As you may know fruit based desserts’ may have a trace of alcohol but then again so does orange juice.

There is however a trend to make more desserts’ alcohol orientated and with that comes the feeling of being more lavish. As my story proves, it can be the wrong call especially if it is not probably labeled in food stores.

There is some good news: alcohol free essence is now available online and it is becoming a bit easy to get hold of.

Heilala Alcohol Free Vanilla with Vanilla Bean Seeds – Hand-Selected & Ethically Sourced in The South Pacific is getting great reviews and is a good alternative for desserts’ and also additions to coffee. All-natural so glycerin mixed with Vanilla Bean Extractions, Water, Vanilla Bean Seeds. Its ideal for adding to desserts and a vegan and vegetarian friendly option



Have you ever eaten desserts’ alcohol without knowing and do you find alcohol taking over the dessert menu? I would love to hear your stories and of course any alternatives that you want t0 suggest. Its the community here that makes the blog. Leave a message below and I always respond.

Know your limit at the drink aware website

I eat a big alcohol free cream cake after writing this and had a big portion of ice cream in the restaurant. Although the waiter still asked me if I would like a liqueur to go with it!

Still desserts alcohol which was do you wish to avoid?


2 thoughts on “Desserts alcohol – Avoid”

  1. Wow! Great article on 5 desserts to avoid if your alcohol free! It is definitely hard to eat out nowadays with allergies but I feel like it’s getting a little easier! I didn’t know that about vanilla extract either. Thanks for this great info!

    • Thanks so much Alyse, its amazing what you find out on this journey. I am discovering all sorts as I go! It is interesting how allergies and awareness is moving forward although not so much with alcohol it appears. I really appreciate you taking time out to comment on desserts to avoid if your alcohol free. I really appreciate it, Phil


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