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The recipes for fruitcake that I've looked at say to soak the dried fruit in brandy, rum, etc., i.e., something with a high alcohol content. I've been using liqueur which works well.

I was wondering if using a sweet wine would work; has anyone tried this?

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    What do you mean by "work"? You can reconstitute dried fruit in any sort of (potable) water-based liquid... including water... but the point of using booze is to add flavor and ... booze. – Catija Dec 7 '15 at 20:22
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A good quality ($20 or so) sweet Port, Madeira, or Sherry could be lovely, and add a delicious flavor note of its own. Make sure it's something that tastes good by itself, with a flavor that appeals to you, complimenting a piece of cake.

Note that these are so-called "fortified wines" — they are distilled to a higher alcohol content. Historically, this was done to achieve a long shelf-life without preservatives, so they're more like spirits. Unlike regular "corked" wines, an opened bottle of fortified wine can last a long time, so the cork is made as a stopper that can be easily resealed.

I don't think you'd get good results with a moscato or such. I also wouldn't skimp and buy a cheap (e.g.: Taylor) bottle of Port — that would be like using cheap, imitation vanilla extract! Spending $30 to get a high-quality flavor that you enjoy, is money well spent.

This kind of wine typically comes in both sweet and dry variants. If you're making an entrée sauce, you probably want a dry wine. For fruitcake, be sure to select a sweet variety. Sometimes, they're not specifically labeled "dry" or "sweet", so you need to read how it's described the label, or ask your vintner for a recommendation.

  • I so completely agree... The old adage holds... Don't cook with anything that you couldn't tolerate to drink. – Adrian Hum Dec 9 '15 at 5:45
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You can, but it will have a very different effect to your fruitcake. The booziness of liquor is what makes the fruitcake taste the way it does.

The fruitcake will probably still taste great, but it won't be what people expect from a fruitcake, which is the boozy mouth and nose feel of the cake.

  • I would think that the amount of booze added by soaking the fruit is insignificant compared to the amount of booze you add after the fruitcake is baked. (Well, assuming you make the good kind of fruitcake, i.e. after baking it you put it in a tin, sprinkle it with a shot or two of brandy, wait a few days, and repeat ad libitum.) – Marti Dec 11 '15 at 3:21

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