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People drink alcohol for several reasons, including enjoyment of the taste and social interaction. But if you can’t indulge, does that mean you must say goodbye to alcohol and partying with friends? Thankfully, the non-alcoholic beverage industry is thriving and changing the bar scene forever.
This blog post has compiled the best non-alcoholic spirit brands in distilling and blending curated botanicals and spices. Other frontrunners specialize in alternatives for gin, whiskey, tequila, rum, vodka, and more!
Our Top Picks
1. Best Overall: Seedlip
Seedlip is made from the essences of two spices, two barks, and two citrus peels to create its iconic spirit trio. We appreciate this company’s effort to source high-quality ingredients from around the globe, such as Argentina, Guatemala, Turkey, and Jamaica.
To capture the genuine essence of nature, Seedlip uses only the finest ingredients, which are carefully gathered, macerated cold, distilled, and finally blended. We like how the spirit flavors are present but not overwhelming, making them a fantastic base for mocktails.
Furthermore, Seedlip has been widely acknowledged as a leader in its field. It has also been recognized as the #1 Trending Non-Alcoholic Spirit and the #1 Best Selling Non-Alcoholic Spirit by Drinks International in 2021.
Country of Origin: England | ABV: <0.5% | Calories: 0 | Other: No sweeteners, no artificial flavors, and allergy-friendly
Related: The Best Mocktails of All Time
It is believed that Ritual is America’s first non-alcoholic spirits company to use natural botanicals to make their drinks. We salute this company for undergoing multiple trials and errors with the help of bartenders and beverage experts to settle on high-quality recipes.
Their non-alcoholic spirits are each distilled separately to preserve the most authentic flavor possible. Then the resulting complex profiles are achieved by meticulous blending. In 2019, they launched two flagship products: non-alcoholic gin and whiskey.
In 2020, they produced a tequila alternative, then a rum option the following year. Their products are designed to have flavors as close to the real thing as possible, with the same ratio as their alcoholic counterparts.
Country of Origin: United States | ABV: 0% | Calories: 0-10 | Other: Zero gluten, zero peanuts or tree-nuts
GNISTA is the Swedish term for “spark.” Throughout the company’s venture into the non-alcoholic business, they wanted to be the spark in the evolution of spirits.
What we admire most about GNISTA is their decision to create something original instead of mimicking flavors from existing spirits. While their products may look like whiskey, they’re different as their unique blend includes juniper, star anise, wormwood, and more.
GNISTA’s non-alcoholic spirits have a signature herbal, oak, and strong flavor. This is achieved through maceration of the ingredients and botanicals, steam distillation, smoking, and filtering. Not to mention, their spirits are crafted in small batches by hand.
Country of Origin: Sweden | ABV: <0.5% | Calories: 30-61
Related: Learn About the Swedish Startup GNISTA
Spiritless is a women-led brand that’s setting standards in the non-alcoholic beverage industry. The company won a gold medal for Best Non-Alcoholic Award in the 2021 LA Spirits Awards.
Their spirits collection includes whiskey (Kentucky 74), and tequila (Jalisco 55), with the former being their first product. We love the bourbon-style spirit for being silky smooth and oaky and the reposado-inspired spirit for its sweet agave, mint, and cinnamon profile.
Moreover, the non-alcoholic spirits are all produced by a process known as reverse distillation. This method involves distilling the spirit twice to remove the alcohol content while maintaining the same flavor and body as the original.
Country of Origin: United States | ABV: <0.5% | Calories: 10-15 | Other: Vegan-friendly, non-GMO, allergen-free
Related: How is Non-Alcoholic Wine Made?
Optimist Drinks offers a trio of alcohol-free botanical spirits called Bright, Fresh, and Smokey. These variants’ complexity and richness capture the cultures, landscapes, and personalities of Los Angeles, where the brand’s master distiller originated.
We commend how these unique botanical drinks are crafted using various extraction methods. The processes include steam, vacuum, and CO2 extraction, before being painstakingly distilled and blended by hand by master distillers, chefs, and beverage connoisseurs.
Country of Origin: United States | ABV: 0% | Calories: 0 | Other: Vegan-friendly, no sugar and additives
6. Best Variety: ArKay
Arkay has various non-alcoholic products, emphasizing high-quality drinks without intoxication, such as core spirits, liqueurs, and pre-made mocktails. We recommend their best-selling tequila, dark rum, and vodka.
Despite being completely free from alcohol, these spirits will still lend drinkers that euphoric feeling, which can be attributed to a molecule added to the blends. This ingredient is extracted from capsaicin, a compound from chili peppers that make them hot.
Once this molecule meets the tongue, it stimulates the brain, creating an illusion that affects the smell and taste and makes the drinker think they’re consuming alcohol.
Country of Origin: Mexico | ABV: 0% | Calories: 0 | Other: No carbs, sugar, and sweeteners, vegan and gluten-free
Related: Christmas Mocktails
Three Spirit offers three different flavors, each giving off a distinctive sensation in its own right. It took a team of herbalists, bartenders, artists, and plant scientists to concoct the Three Spirit blends successfully.
The company used natural plants with curative, energizing, and euphoric effects that help lift moods while drinking and socializing without the hangover.
The innovators behind the spirit brand focused on replicating the essence of alcohol by blending adaptogens, herbs, nootropics, and more. Then they are transformed using time-consuming and complex processes, which they collectively call Botanical Alchemy.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom | ABV: 0% | Calories: 25-40 | Other: Gluten-free, vegan-friendly, sustainable ingredients, no artificial colors
The name of this spirit brand was inspired by the Australian lyrebird, which is popular for being the best mimic in the world. In the same way, Lyre’s non-alcoholic spirits successfully emulate their alcoholic counterparts.
The company offers a wide selection of non-alcoholic drinks, including spirits, liqueurs, and aperitifs. In addition, much research and science went into getting these flavors as accurate as possible to the originals.
Unsurprisingly, some of their offerings have earned awards from different competitions. Their Aperitif Rosso and Dark Cane Spirit won Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2020.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom | ABV: <0.5% | Calories: <20 | Other: Vegan and gluten-free
9. Best Tropical: Caleño
Caleño draws its flavor profile from the sun-kissed spirit of Colombia, which is why its bottles feature such vivid and brilliant graphics. And when it comes to their spirits, it took them well over a year to develop and polish their own blends of ingredients.
They have two offerings that we adore – Light & Zesty and Dark & Spicy. The former is a spirited distillation of citrus, tropical, and spice botanicals. In contrast, the latter is a spicy concoction bursting with the tropical flavors of coconuts and pineapples.
Country of Origin: Colombia | ABV: 0.5% | Calories: 39-45 kcal per 100ml | Other: Zero sugar and gluten, vegan
Related: The Best Tropical Sunset Cocktails
10. Best for Health-Conscious: Monday
Drink Monday was established in 2019 to provide sober individuals with a more amicable spirit. But we’re even more impressed how their drinks are a great fit for a wide range of health-conscious lifestyles.
The company only uses the highest quality ingredients to ensure that its award-winning distiller receives the best taste profiles.
Their signature bottles include whiskey, gin, and tequila, also available in their cocktail kit offerings. These non-alcoholic alternatives are remarkably similar to their alcoholic counterparts in appearance, texture, and flavor.
Country of Origin: United States | ABV: 0% | Calories: 0 | Other: Free from carbohydrates, sugar, gluten, and Big-8 allergen
Related: The Best Cocktail Making Kits
11. Best Spirit-Inspired: CleanCo
CleanCo was established in 2019 and is one of the leading independent brands in the UK. Their first offering is Clean G, which is their version of London Dry Gin.
This must-try product is produced by distilling a perfect blend of delicate botanicals, including natural juniper. This results in a naturally hazy look due to the botanical’s high concentration.
Soon after, the company quickly expanded its product line with Clean R, Clean T, and Clean V, which are non-alcoholic alternatives for rum, tequila, and vodka. All of them retain the intricacy, beauty, and quality of their alcoholic counterparts.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom | ABV: <0.5% | Calories: 10 | Other: Sugar-free and gluten-free
Master distillers have teamed up to develop Salcombe’s non-alcoholic line, New London Light, which features spirits and aperitifs. They only have one non-alcoholic spirit, First Light, crafted using their expertise in making different kinds of gin.
First Light has a pronounced juniper flavor, complemented with sage, orange, and ginger. This drink took home the Gold medal from the Beverage Testing Institute for “Conscious Spirits” and the People’s Choice Spirits Award for “Mindful Drinking” in 2021.
The brand is dedicated to ensuring coastal vitality, so they’ve partnered with the Marine Conservation Society to give one percent of sales to seagrass regeneration. We can assure you that your purchase is helping restore our marine ecosystem.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom | ABV: 0% | Calories: ≈24 | Other: Allergen-free and vegan
13. Most Eco-Friendly: Amass
Amass is a botany-focused brand that produces a range of botanical-infused goods, including their alcohol-free Amass Riverine spirit. It’s worth noting that this is not a gin substitute despite the presence of typical gin ingredients like juniper, coriander, and orris root.
Instead, Amass recognizes it as a refined spirit in its own category. With its impressive flavor profile, drinkers may enjoy it on the rocks or as mocktails.
Another thing to love about this non-alcoholic spirit brand is its environmental awareness. They made sure that all of their packing materials were made to be recycled. For instance, the bottles they use for their spirits, sanitizers, and more are made from recycled PET plastic.
Country of Origin: Denmark | ABV: 0% | Calories: 0 | Other: Vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free
Free Spirits produces alcohol-free versions of bourbon, gin, and tequila using a distillate reconstruction technique. This process involves recreating the flavor profile of each liquor by distilling the main ingredients and extracting the natural flavors and botanicals.
The company uses American White Oak, European Juniper, and Mexican Blue Agave. These components are then infused with various vitamins and amino that help improve the overall mood of the drinker.
We appreciate how their products have that bite and burn similar to liquor so drinkers can enjoy them straight or in mixed drinks. They also boast balanced flavors, which is why they prefer the term “cocktails” over “mocktails” since the latter reminds them of overly sweet drinks.
Country of Origin: United States | ABV: <0.5% | Calories: 5 | Other: Gluten-free, vegan-friendly
Bax Botanics was established in response to the increasing demand for “clean drinking.” They follow traditional methods of distillation in beaten copper stills to create award-winning beverages that are authentic, natural, and refreshing.
The non-alcoholic brand currently has two botanical spirits, Sea Buckthorn and Verbena, best enjoyed with tonic water. Following carefully guarded recipes, they use herbs, roots, berries, and flowers in their drinks.
The company also has impressive environmental credentials in the industry. We appreciate that their ingredients are organic and sourced in an ethical manner, and the packaging materials can be recycled or composted.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom | ABV: 0% | Calories: 1 | Other: Vegan-friendly and gluten-free
Related: The Best Tonic Water
16. Most Complex Flavors: Wilderton
Wilderton offers rich, non-alcoholic spirits masterfully created from raw botanicals obtained from various locations on the globe, capturing the true essence of alcohol very well.
The company takes these natural botanicals and uses ancient tea-making, perfume manufacturing, and spirit distillation techniques. These processes result in non-alcoholic expressions that are robust, complex, and delectable.
Wilderton has two spirit offerings, called Lustre and Earthen. The former boasts a fascinating combination of citrus and herbs that is tangy and refreshing, while the latter is a blend of pine, spices, and smoke, resulting in a warm and full-bodied flavor profile.
Country of Origin: United States | ABV: <0.1^ | Calories: 0 | Other: Gluten-free, sugar-free, caffeine-free
17. Best Hemp-Infused: Aplós
In 2020, Aplós debuted its non-alcoholic spirit that contains an infusion of organically cultivated full-spectrum hemp from New York’s Hudson Valley.
There is virtually no THC in hemp, so this spirit will not get you high. It only has cannabidiol, the nonintoxicating compound of the cannabis plant. This chemical is believed to be great for mood regulation, stress relief, focus enhancement, inflammation reduction, and better sleep.
Flavor-wise, this non-alcoholic spirit is herbal and citrus-forward with hints of yuzu, cucumber, and rosemary. We love how it’s refreshing, unique, and versatile enough to be drunk straight, on the rocks, or in cocktails.
Country of Origin: United States | ABV: 0% | Calories: 15 | Other: Vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO
18. Best Aperitif: Ghia
The aperitivo style inspired the creation of Ghia, which is bitter, herbal, and typically dry. You can closely compare it to Campari, vermouth, or Aperol, among others.
Ghia’s primary components are extracts of nervines, which are herbal tonics produced from plants like chamomile and valerian. These are said to promote nervous system health and help reduce anxiety.
This aperitif has just the right amount of bitterness to complement its zesty sweetness. It is perfect for those who enjoy Campari or prefer orange peel with a bittersweet flavor. This non-alcoholic spirit would be great over ice with a citrus twist or a soda splash.
Country of Origin: United States | ABV: 0% | Calories: 15 | Other: Vegan, kosher, and no added sugar, caffeine, and artificial flavor
Related: What is an Aperitif?
“Out of the Pacific Northwest, the Pathfinder is hemp-distilled and winter spiced, rich with wormwood and ginger – perfect in a hot toddy or with an orange peel. It is reminiscent of that German bitter liqueur, but you don’t have to drink this one with Red Bull,” says Laura Unterberg, head bartender of The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club.
This best non-alcoholic spirit starts with meticulous fermentation and distillation. The mixture then undergoes “alchemy” that blends it with angelic root, sage, orange peel, and other herbs and spices to produce their complex characteristics.
Furthermore, it has a smooth, oily mouthfeel and a delightful bitterness likened to Amaro and Campari.
Country of Origin: United States | ABV: 0% | Calories: 35 | Other: Contains antioxidants and vitamin E
Related: What is Amaro?
Abstinence was launched in 2020 and took inspiration from South Africa’s floral kingdom. This non-alcoholic spirit brand has already branched out to 13 countries, with a product range including six alcohol-free beverages (four spirits and two aperitifs).
Their signature products are the spirit trio Cape Citrus, Cape Floral, and Cape Spice, collectively known as the Cape Spirits. Moreover, they use hydro-distillation to extract the oils from botanicals.
Each bottle features carefully blended botanicals, spices, and flowers that pay homage to the indigenous flora, culture, and history of The Cape. The non-alcoholic spirit brand also contributes at least 1% of its sales to preserve the Cape Floral Kingdom by protecting honeybees.
Country of Origin: South Africa | ABV: 0% | Calories: 0.5 | Other: Sugar-free and vegan-friendly
21. Best Sea-Inspired: Pentire
Pentire’s founder, Alistair Frost, used to surf at the Pentire peninsula, located off the coast of Cornwall. Because morning hangovers ruined his surf sessions, he experimented with non-alcoholic beverages.
The brand offers two types of spirits: Pentire Adrift and Pentire Seaward. While they aren’t specifically advertised as a gin substitute, they contain some of the spirit’s attributes.
The Pentire Adrift is a refreshing, herbal, and light beverage with rounded citrus undertones and an herbal aftertaste from sage, rock samphire, and sea salt. On the other hand, the grapefruit citrus, sea rosemary, and buckthorn notes of Pentire Seaward are revitalizing.
Country of Origin: England | ABV: <0.5% | Calories: 2 | Other: Allergen and gluten-free and vegan-friendly
22. Best Award-Winning: ISH
Morten Sørensen, a resident of Copenhagen, launched ISH in 2018 after abstaining from alcohol for 100 days. We admire the company’s dedication to mindful drinking, allowing people to socialize while maintaining sensibility.
ISH specializes in healthier alternatives to tequila, gin, and rum. They combine different botanicals and plants and utilize various methods to extract, distill, and steam them. These processes create well-known flavors from the spirits they are based on.
The brand’s lineup is one of the most awarded non-alcoholic spirits, which received prestige from numerous events and contests, like The Beverage Testing Institute, International Wine and Spirit Competition, and International Spirits Challenge, just to name a few.
Country of Origin: Denmark | ABV: <0.5% | Calories: 6-12 | Other: Vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and sugar-free
Evolution is inevitable, and it includes the alcohol industry. Non-alcoholic spirits allow anyone to have a good time with their favorite liquor without suffering the consequences.
Seedlip is our best overall pick because it explores unique flavors that don’t make it a mere imitation of any liquor; rather, it is a category of its own.
So, which best non-alcoholic spirit brand has piqued your interest? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Best Non-Alcoholic Spirit Brands Buying Guide
If you’re a novice in non-alcoholic spirits, allow these factors to guide you in choosing the best brand.
Spirits have different flavor profiles that cause people to have preferences. So, knowing what type of spirit you enjoy will be a great starting point when buying non-alcoholic spirits.
While there are brands offering alternatives for whiskey, rum, vodka, and tequila, the most prominent spirit is gin.
Some spirits don’t belong to a specific category. Seedlip, for example, is only described as a non-alcoholic spirit, which adds uniqueness and intrigues drinkers.
The taste may initially seem unusual when you’re new to non-alcoholic spirits. This is because you’re comparing the taste to what you’re used to with alcoholic drinks. But in time, you’ll adjust and appreciate the complexities these drinks offer.
According to Mike Murphy, founder of Fluent In Coffee, “Many alternatives have some fruit flavor, so you need to be ready for the enhanced sweetness. However, they still need to resemble the original alcoholic drinks to some degree.”
You can conduct a taste test of several bottles to determine what you like. If not, you can always read customer reviews online.
“Finding the right balance between the sweetness and the sharpness of non-alcoholic spirit brands is important. If you find the right match, you won’t even feel the difference between alcoholic and non-alcoholic spirits,” Murphy adds.
Non-alcoholic beverages are usually viewed as inclusive drinks and healthy alternatives to alcohol. Aside from having less than 0.5% alcohol by volume, they are generally low in calories and sugar.
Nevertheless, we recommend reading the labels thoroughly rather than assuming things. Some brands may contain adaptogens, nootropics, and even hemp that may harm some people, like pregnant and breastfeeding women and those with health conditions.
Consult your doctor or nutritionist before drinking non-alcoholic spirits. If you’re monitoring your weight, you can set the number of calories or sugar you can tolerate, then choose a bottle that meets those numbers.
Brands develop their spirits to be sipped straight, as cocktail bases, or both. The spirits’ use depends on their flavor profile and whether they can complement other ingredients.
In cocktail recipes, you can use spirit alternatives like gin, whiskey, rum, vodka, and tequila. But, depending on the brand, you may need to adjust the flavors with other mixers.
For those not designated as one of the main spirit types, you need to assess their taste first to understand better which drink recipes to use them. Some may be inherently sweet so you might need some balancing flavors from bitters, juices, or sparkling water.
Hard liquors have a longer shelf life than any other alcohol because they virtually have no sugars that allow microorganisms to grow and their high alcohol content acts as a preservative. However, the same can’t be said for their non-alcoholic counterparts.
Some brands use other preservatives to make their products shelf-stable. While alcoholic liquors can last indefinitely if unopened, non-alcoholic spirits have a best-by date on their bottles that can reach up to two years.
Once these bottles are opened, they are only good for three to six months. So, if you don’t drink frequently, look for a brand that has a longer shelf life. Store them in the fridge or a cool place and seal the bottle properly.
Despite having no alcohol, non-alcoholic spirits can still cost a lot. So, it’s important to have a budget to navigate your buying decisions properly. You can take advantage of sets, which generally cost lower than buying individual bottles.
Non-Alcoholic Spirit Brands FAQ
1. How are non-alcohol spirits made?
There are two methods for making non-alcoholic spirits: distillation and maceration. The first method involves distilling botanicals individually with alcohol to extract their nuanced flavors.
The mixture is distilled again to remove the alcohol, leaving only the concentrated flavors.
The extraction process can also be executed through steam distillation. In this method, steam passes through the botanicals to release the oils, which are then condensed into liquid form.
The second method, maceration, skips the distillation and instead mixes the extracts, acids, herbs, preservatives, and other ingredients with a liquid base to replicate the taste of spirits.
2. What is the difference between non-alcoholic, alcohol-free, and low-alcohol spirits?
Technically, they all refer to spirits with little to no alcohol content. Non-alcoholic contains no more than 0.5% ABV, alcohol-free has no more than 0.05% ABV, and low-alcohol must have no more than 1.2% ABV.
3. Are non-alcoholic spirits okay for recovering alcoholics?
Non-alcoholic spirits still contain a tiny amount of alcohol, but they won’t get a person drunk after consuming a glass. However, because a non-alcoholic spirit tastes, smells, and looks similar to the real thing, it may trigger a euphoric recall.
A euphoric recall is a psychological process wherein a person remembers only the good parts of a situation while neglecting the negative ones. For an alcoholic, it may be the joy of drinking with friends but leaving out the consequences of alcoholism.
It is also believed to be a cause of relapse. So if you are in recovery or know someone who is, it’s best not to indulge in non-alcoholic spirits.
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