Your 2023 Guide to Non-Alcoholic Spirits
Reading time: 10 minutes
As the quality and accessibility of non-alcoholic spirits rise so does its popularity. You can now find NA spirits in bars, restaurants, bottle shops, grocery stores, and in people’s homes. This is a direct result of people seeking a healthier lifestyle but still wanting to enjoy their favorite cocktails, they can now do so with alcohol-free alternatives. With growing awareness of the health and social consequences of excessive drinking, they provide a way to enjoy the taste and rituals of a night out without the alcohol. Non-alcoholic spirits like non-alcoholic Gin, non-alcoholic Whiskey or non-alcoholic Tequila are right at the top of the list of alternative drinking, right after non-alcoholic wines (our 2023 guide is available here) and beers.
In this article, we will explore the world of non-alcoholic spirits and liquor, how they are made, what they taste like, and what makes them different from traditional alcoholic beverages. We will also provide a guide to the best non-alcoholic spirits in 2023, including gins, whiskeys, tequila and mezcal, rums, and unique options that don’t fit into these traditional categories.
Let's discover the summary:
- What are non-alcoholic spirits?
- How are non-alcoholic spirits made?
- Is there alcoholic in non-alcoholic spirits?
- Which non-alcoholic spirits have 0.0% alcohol?
- What is the point of non-alcoholic spirits?
- What do non-alcoholic spirits taste like?
- Is it possible to find a non-alcoholic spirit that tastes like the real thing?
- Do non-alcoholic spirits burn?
- Can non-alcoholic drinks give you a buzz?
- How do you use non-alcoholic spirits?
- Can you drink non-alcoholic spirits neat?
- Why are non-alcoholic spirits expensive?
- What are the best brands of non-alcoholic spirits in 2023
- The best non-alcoholic spirits in 2023
- What is the best non-alcoholic Gin in 2023?
- What is the best non-alcoholic Whiskey in 2023?
- What is the best non-alcoholic Tequila and Mezcal in 2023?
- What is the best non-alcoholic Rum in 2023?
- What is the best speciality non-alcoholic spirit in 2023?
- What is the best non-alcoholic apéritivo in 2023?
- Can I drink non-alcoholic spirits if I am pregnant, taking medication, driving or sober?
What are non-alcoholic spirits?
Non-alcoholic spirits can emulate traditional alcoholic spirits such as gin, whiskey, vodka and tequila; brands like Ritual or Lyres use this approach. They can also be non-traditional and totally unique spirits like Three Spirit or Tenneyson, or fall somewhere in the middle such as Pentire & Caleño.
NA spirits can be made in a variety of ways but will always contain less than 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume). Anything under 0.5% ABV is considered non-alcoholic in the United States.
How are non-alcoholic spirits made?
The process of creating non-alcoholic spirits will vary depending on each non-alcoholic producer but there are typically two methods of distillation that are used. Some of them are made similarly to regular alcohol, for instance Spiritless Kentucky 74. Their non-alcoholic bottled whiskey is made with a full proof neutral grain spirit, the alcohol is later removed using a technique called “reverse distillation” which brings this non-alcoholic spirit to less than 0.5% ABV. Other producers use a distillation process that does not include high proof alcohol to start with, meaning during the entire process it never reaches over 0.5% ABV. Producers like Bax Botanics start with botanical flavors which are distilled individually then carefully blended to create a sophisticated taste profile. Both methods have proven to craft incredibly complex and delicious non-alcoholic spirits.
Is there alcohol in non-alcoholic spirits?
There are very small traces of alcohol in NA beverages which are safe for consumption. These trace amounts of alcohol will never reach over 0.5% ABV. The amounts are similar to the traces of alcohol you can find in everyday household items like a banana, soy sauce, orange juice and even bread.
Non-alcoholic spirits will be classified as either ”non-alcoholic” or “alcohol-free.” The difference between the two distinctions is small but may be significant depending on what you are looking for. As mentioned non-alcoholic labeled spirits will always contain less than 0.5% ABV but “alcohol-free” labeled spirits will contain less than 0.05% which is virtually nothing. When looking for products without alcohol, this is the lowest that you will be able to find because small traces of alcohol are present in almost everything, it is extremely difficult for a non-alcoholic spirit to contain literally no alcohol.
Which non-alcoholic spirits have 0.0% alcohol?
If you can’t or are not comfortable with drinking non-alcoholic spirits at 0.5% ABV we recommend alcohol-free spirits that contain less than 0.05% ABV like Bax Botanics (botanical spirit similar to Gin) or Ritual Zero Proof (Tequila, Gin, Whisky, Rum).
What is the point of non-alcoholic spirits?
At No & Low, we truly believe that the point of non-alcoholic spirits and non-alcoholic drinks more generally, is to provide a way for people to enjoy the taste and ritual of drinking without the negative consequences of alcohol. We believe that alcohol-free spirits are a healthy alternative to traditional alcoholic drinks and we even dedicated a full article to the subject.
Besides that, there are a lot of other reasons to drink NA beverages, this can range from health reasons to religion to being the designated driver to personal goals but also because you don’t want to. No one has to justify their reason for choosing non-alcoholic drinks, a delicious mocktail with non-alcoholic Gin or non-alcoholic Rum will make you enjoy the ritual of socializing, sharing a drink, and relaxing as much as a full-strength cocktail.
Looking for something else? Discover also our 2023 Guide to Non-Alcoholic Wine.
What do non-alcoholic spirits taste like?
Non-alcoholic spirits will either attempt to replicate the flavor of traditional alcoholic spirits or will be created has something completely unique with its very own flavored profile. The first category of NA spirits which emulate the real thing may not taste exactly the same as full strength spirits since it does not contain ethanol, but instead the flavors, aromas, texture and sometimes even the burn is produced very well. For instance non-alcoholic whisky like Spiritless Kentucky 74 or Lyre’s American Malt will have flavors of oak, caramel, vanilla and spice. Non-alcoholic gins like Sobrii 0-Gin or Monday Gin will be fruity, heavy on the juniper and really lean into the traditional flavor profile of gin which could even be more herbal like the cucumber-forward Ritual Gin. This is the same for other spirits like Tequila, Rum, and Mezcal.
The second category, which is often recognized as “botanical spirits,” does not try to fit into any existing spirit style and have created their own exciting flavor experiences. Examples of these non-alcoholic botanical spirits include Pentire Adrift, Everleaf Forest, Bax Botanics Sea Buckthorn and Caleño Dark & Spicy. These can be used to create totally new “mocktails” or in traditional non-alcoholic cocktails, for instance Caleño works really well in rum based and tiki style cocktails.
Is it possible to find a non-alcoholic spirit that tastes like the real thing?
Yes, but keep in mind that not all non-alcoholic spirits are created equally and some may fall short of your expectations; it's best to keep an open mind and look for high quality spirits with flavor profiles that meet your personal requirements. To help you in that process we’ve made you a selection of the best NA spirits at the bottom of this page.
Do non-alcoholic spirits burn?
It can provide an experience similar to that of alcoholic drinks, with consideration to the “burn” of alcohol. This burn comes from ingredients like capsaicin and capsicum which are added during production. The addition of other ingredients such as Sichuan pepper, chili, black pepper, vinegar, and citric acid are also used to further enhance the burn in non-alcoholic spirits. If you enjoy the warming sensation of traditional alcoholic spirits we recommend trying out Ritual Zero Proof spirits, certain Lyre’s spirits like their Highland Malt or Agave Blanco and if you like a kombucha/vinegar burn go for Woodnose Sacré.
Can non-alcoholic drinks give you a buzz?
No, non-alcoholic drinks do not contain enough alcohol to cause a buzz or get you drunk. While some non-alcoholic spirits may contain a small amount of alcohol, the amount is so low that it is unlikely to cause any noticeable effects. To feel any effects, you'd have to consume A LOT of bottles in a very short period of time; it's nearly impossible to get drunk on non-alcoholic drinks.
How do you use non-alcoholic spirits?
Non-alcoholic spirits perform best when in cocktails and should be used primarily for making delicious non-alcoholic cocktails, mocktails, or low-abv drinks. Since NA spirits do not have alcohol or ethanol they should be treated differently when crafting cocktails. Follow the rules below to create expertly crafted mocktails.
- Balance is key. Pay close attention to the ratios used in consideration to non-alcoholic spirits and the mixers like tonic water, ginger beer or club soda. You don’t want to drown out the flavor of the non-alcoholic spirit but you also don’t want it to overwhelm the cocktail either.
- Don’t dilute too much. When shaking up non-alcoholic cocktails you’ll want to use larger blocks of ice and shorter shaking times. Since these beverages don’t have alcohol they are more likely to be watered down if you shake them too long with ice.
- Keeping it classic. Mix up traditional cocktails like Margaritas, Cosmos, Gin & Tonics, Mojitos, etc. Non-alcoholic spirits work extremely well in classics that do not depend on heavy alcohol content. Negronis & Old Fashioned’s may be tricky but it is still possible with the use of top-quality spirits and bitters like All the Bitter.
- Make it fancy. Always use nice glassware and dress up your non-alcoholic cocktail or mocktail with the right garnish (raspberry, lemon juice..). Add syrup such as simple-syrup to spice it up. These little things go a long way and add to the ritual and experience of having a well-crafted drink.
We’re confident if you follow these guidelines as well as use the spirits for their intended use you will be impressed with the results of your homemade non-alcoholic cocktail. If this is too much work we invite you to browse our ready-to-drink section.
Can you drink non-alcoholic spirits neat?
Most NA spirits are not made to drink neat and are best used in non-alcoholic cocktails or mocktails. You can easily make some like a non-alcoholic Margarita or you can enjoy the skills of a bartender. With that being said if you’re looking to try something on its own (to drink chilled), we do have a few great options worth trying, please check out the list below:
- Three Spirit Nightcap
- Spiritless Kentucky 74 Spiced
- Woodnose Sacré
- Tenneyson Black Ginger
- Wilfred‘s Bittersweet Aperitif
- Vera Aperitivo Classico
- Gnista Barreled Oak
- Lyre’s Amaretti
Why are non-alcoholic spirits expensive?
Most of them range between $30 and $40 USD. This may seem expensive and it is one of the reasons why we recommend doing some research before purchasing a bottle. If you need an expert recommendation you can reach out to us directly at email@example.com and we will find something that fits your particular palate.
So, why are non-alcoholic spirits expensive? Well, for each brand the costs of ingredients and production will vary but the top-shelf are using premium ingredients with strict & expensive production processes. With the non-alcoholic space still being relatively small these production runs are also not at the same scale as full-strength alcoholic brands. Smaller production runs mean higher costs. Also, since there is no alcohol, the flavor, and texture become more important than ever. To reach ideal flavor profiles production often requires larger quantities and higher quality ingredients as well as special maceration, distillation and infusion techniques.
These are just some of the expensive costs involved in crafting a world-class non-alcoholic spirit. At the end of the day, most consumers are not yet used to spending this amount on a non-alcoholic spirit. With increased education consumers will see the value in these liquids and become more willing to spend top dollar on a non-alcoholic gin as they would a premium alcoholic gin.
What are the best brands of Non-Alcoholic Spirits 2023?
With the rapid growth of the non-alcoholic category many great (and not-so-great) non-alcoholic spirit brands have emerged. At No & Low we take great pride in selecting the best non-alcoholic spirits on the market, ensuring that there is something for everyone's taste. Our favorite brands include:
- Ritual Zero Proof
- Bax Botanics
- Three spirit
The best non-alcoholic spirits in 2023
It is important to know & explore the different categories which to find something that is best suited to your personal palate or a specific non-alcoholic cocktail or mocktail you are trying to make. Check out the different categories below:
- Non-alcoholic Gin
- Non-alcoholic Whiskey
- Non-alcoholic Tequila & Mezcal
- Non-alcoholic Rum
- Non-alcoholic Aperitifs
- Non-alcoholic Specialty spirits
Inside these categories, there are a wide variety of options available. Some will try replicate the traditional spirit and others are their own unique spirit but have similarities to the titled category. To help you choose the best non-alcoholic spirit, we have put together a list of the top non-alcoholic gin, whiskey, scotch, tequila and rum on the market in 2023.
What is the best non-alcoholic Gin in 2023?
- Monday Gin
- Pentire Adrift
- Sobrii 0-Gin
- Wilderton Lustre
- Everleaf Marine
- Everleaf Mountain
- Bax Botanics Lemon Verbena
What is the best non-alcoholic Whiskey in 2023?
- Spiritless Kentucky 74
- Spiritless Kentucky 74 “SPICED”
- Lyre's American Malt
- Lyre’s Highland Malt
- Ritual Whiskey Alternative
- Tenneyson Black Ginger
What is the best non-alcoholic Tequila and Mezcal in 2023?
What is the best non-alcoholic Rum in 2023?
- Caleño Dark & Spicy
- Ritual Rum Alternative
- Lyre’s Spiced Cane Spirit
- Caleño Light & Zesty
- Lyre’s White Cane Spirit
What is the best specialty non-alcoholic spirit in 2023?
- Everleaf Forest
- Three Spirit Livener
- Three Spirit Nightcap
- Gnista Floral Wormwood
- Woodnose Sacré
- Lyre’s Amaretti
What is the best non-alcoholic aperitif in 2023?
Do you want to know more about non-alcoholic apéritifs? Have a look at our 2023 Guide.
- Figlia Fiore
- Wilderton Bittersweet Aperitivo
- Lyre’s Italian Orange
- Vera Aperitivo Classico
Can I drink non-alcoholic spirits if I am pregnant, taking medication, driving or sober?
You wouldn't drink gin, tequila, or whiskey if you were pregnant, taking certain medications, driving, or sober. However, you can enjoy non-alcoholic spirits without worrying about the negative consequences of alcohol. We deeply broke down each situation in our FAQ page. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To conclude, non-alcoholic spirits offer a way to enjoy the taste and experience of traditional spirits without the negative effects of alcohol. Whether you are looking to cut down on alcohol or are simply looking for a new and exciting drinking experience, there is a non-alcoholic spirit out there for you. With so many non-alcoholic Gin, Rum, Tequila or Whiskey options available, the only challenge will be choosing which one to try first!
About us: Say goodbye to bland and boring non-alcoholic drinks and hello to Louis & Massimo's range of sophisticated and flavorful non-alcoholic wine and spirits. Indulge in the taste of your favorite drinks, minus the alcohol. Raise a glass to a new way of celebrating, where every sip is just as enjoyable as the last.
Thanks so much for your informative article. I’m a long-time craft cocktail creater and lover and am recently needing to explore the NA world. I don’t want to give up the process of creating cocktails which I enjoy so much and have been overwhelmed with the options. This article gives me the perfect starting point. Thank you!
Very interesting article! Lately, I have started to try different non-alcoholic drinks that I ordered from this website https://www.mrlemonade.co.uk/collections/non-alcoholic-drinks. At first, I wasn’t too optimistic about this type of drinks, but I was pleasantly surprised!