Is there a reason you prefer alcohol based over oil based? I don't really have a reason to prefer oil, it's just what I always used in other woodworking and it's what I am used to. I mostly hand stain and I get even coverage using wood conditioner first and then using an almost too dry rag and multiple coats. If I get a liitle too much I go back over it with mineral spirits on a clean rag and take some back up (this will only go a shade lighter; it will not remove stain completely). My biggest trick (if you would call it that) is to always start lighter than I want and put a little more on. Remember - all stain is black; it's just a matter of how many coats it takes. (not completely true, but you get my drift).
"First you master your instrument, then you master the music, then you forget about all that ... and just play"
Charlie "Bird" Parker