The Best Non-Alcoholic Spirits

The demand for a sophisticated cocktail or aperitif sans alcohol has grown significantly over the last few years. Classic cocktails without the booze? It’s possible with these non-alcoholic drinks and beverages. You’ll find zero-proof spirits, elixirs, wines, and more here. (Better get the lime juice and ginger ale ready.)

NONALCOHOLIC ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR BAR CART

These non-alcoholic spirits look and smell just like the real thing However, while it is common practice to consume gin, bourbon, and tequila neat or on the rocks, we found that doing so did not work with their non-alcoholic counterparts. Without the burn from the alcohol, they were a little flat. They were, however, absolutely delicious when combined into drinks.

We were given the advice to use these spirits in conjunction with alcohol to lower the ABV (alcohol by volume) of your cocktail while maintaining a more potent flavor if you are not completely avoiding alcohol.

NEW-WAVE NON-ALCOHOLIC SPIRITS

These spirits each evoke the aroma and flavor of traditional liquor, but we like that they aren’t doing an impression. They have distinct and robust flavors all their own, and there’s lots of potential for experimentation.

APERITIVO-INSPIRED SPRITZES

So many non-alcoholic cocktails we tried were heavily influenced by traditional Italian aperitivos or French aperitifs—bitter cocktails traditionally had before a meal to stimulate your appetite. Aperitivos and aperitifs have become increasingly popular among alcohol drinkers over the years, so the nonalcoholic iterations might just be in line with the trends. It’s also possible, though, that up until now, this bitter, herbal, and warmly spiced flavor profile has been sorely missing from the nonalcoholic drink pool.

BITTERS & SODA BITTERSWEET SPRITZ

If you’re new to aperitifs, this might be the one to start with because it’s got a good balance of bitter and sweetness. If you prefer less sweet, go for Hella Cocktail Co. Bitters & Soda Dry Aromatic. Both have robust spice from clove, cinnamon, anise, and peppercorn, along with bright orange peel.

DRINKS FOR YOUR MOOD

These cocktails lean on functional botanicals, nootropics, and adaptogens for flavor and to achieve some of the stimulating or relaxing effects of alcohol. They are free of alcohol, but because they can potentially alter your state of mind, they are likely not a fit if you are sober, pregnant, breastfeeding, taking specific medications (such as SSRIs), or under 18. When in doubt, check with your doctor.

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