Best non-alcoholic spirits: great alcohol-free vodka, whisky and gin alternatives
These best AF spirits offer the grandeur of cocktails, without the booze.
Booze-free spirits are having a real moment. And brands making them are on the rise. This means you can use the best non-alcoholic spirits to enjoy a G&T or your favourite cocktail while remaining the designated driver.
The market is still in its infancy but there’s already quite a wide range of options, rather than just various clear liquids that vaguely resemble gin. They’re made in different ways, many actually distilled with botanicals much like a proper spirit.
UPDATE: We've been busy taste testing the best non-alcoholic spirits around and have added Sprigster and Cordino to the ever-expanding list. Both drinks do well to give you a tasty alcohol alternative.
Although there’s nothing stopping you drinking these neat, our testing confirms that generally you’re better off mixing them with tonic water or as part of a more complex cocktail recipe.
One thing to bear in mind is that, due to the lack of alcohol, these bottles need to be drunk in typically three months once opened. Like alcohol-free beer, they’re generally low-calorie too.
- Next up, read about the best alcohol-free beers, all tested by our experts.
Additional tasting: Marc Chacksfield
Best non-alcoholic spirits
1. Xachoh - Blend No 7
Pronounced (Za-Ko), Xachoh draws on herbal remedies from ancient Persia, traditional recipes handed down six generations.
Blend No 7 is a fiery number that’s probably closest to a rum, featuring ginger, cinnamon, sumac and star anise. With a spicy and slightly sweet flavour, try it mixed with cola or ginger beer.
Try blend No 5 for something smoother, with flavours of chamomile.
2. Penrhos Zero Raspberry
One of the first on this list to use real fruit juice in its distillation process, Penrhos Zero Raspberry launched October 2020 and mixes myriad botanicals with blueberries and its own farm grown raspberries. This is one to sup over ice or with a tonic and some mint
Recently launched in the UK by Campari, Crodino is a tasty aperitif from Italy which has taken a long time to come to these shores (it was first made in 1965) but, boy, it was worth it. Bursting with citrus and a real tasty bitterness to the the thing, all you need is ice and a slice to make the drink. This is one non-alcoholic drink that should be in every fridge this summer and beyond.
4. Warner's 0% Juniper Double Dry
If you are craving a G&T but are wanting something alcohol free, then the Warner's Juniper Double Dry is a fine substitute. The taste is earthy with a touch of spice, thanks to cinnamon. A mixture of herb and zest give the drink the kick it needs. This can be drunk over ice or with your favourite tonic
5. Edi - Spirited Euphoria
One of the more unique AF spirits on this list. EDI - Spirited Euphoria is an alcohol replacement that mixes hemp and CBD (THC-free, mind) with a number of other botanicals to create a drink that's said to give you something of an endorphin rush when drunk regularly. The taste is a little different from the rest on the list - it doesn't have the spice to replace the alcohol kick. Instead there are stimulants within which give you an actual kick. After a few days replacing alcohol with this, we did start to feel more relaxed. We wouldn't recommend this one neat, though. The cloudy liquid tastes much better when over ice and with a touch of soda.
6. High Point Ruby Aperitif
We're really impressed with High Point AF spirits range. There is an amber version that is a decent digestif but the one that really caught our taste buds by surprise was the ruby aperitif. Made with Cornish spring water, tea leaves and a number of natural Cornish ingredients from the surrounding Cornish countryside, all fermented and blended to offer up a rich punchy citrus taste. Given its colour we would have expected some help in gaining the colour but nothing artificial has been used in the blending process which is a massive bonus.
Developed by the folks at the Kitchen Garden Co, this is a real lip smacker of an AF spirit. It mixes the likes of rhubarb, ginger and fennel to come up with a really nice rounded flavour that hits the heat mark you want from a spirit. We had our serve with tonic water and ice, and it is a lovely G&T alternative - and one that isn't packed with artificial flavours.
8. Atopia - Spiced Citrus
Created by award-winning Master Distiller, Lesley Gracie, this gin alternative contains plenty of the usual gin botanicals including juniper, orange, and coriander. And, with flavours of spice, orange blossom and wormwood, it has a good balance of savoury and sweet. Its makers suggest serving it with tonic, ice and an orange slice for garnish.
9. Caleño Dark & Spicy
This tropical non-alcoholic pirit packs a good deal of punch given there is no actual alcohol in the liquid. It's a great rum alternative and we found it worked well with lemonade, as well as cola and a slice of lime.
10. The Duchess
The Duchess is a non-alcoholic drink with just one purpose and just one flavour: to recreate some of the tastes, bitterness and perfect balance of gin and tonic. This botanical has been blended with orange peel, allspice, star anise, cloves, and cardamom. It's also low on sugar and naturally sweetened with Stevia and sugar cane.
11. Sea Arch
One of the newest additions to our best non-alcoholic spirits list, Sea Arch is an alternative for gin-lovers made on the Southwest coast of England. It's inspired by the sea and contains 11 different botanicals. It's calorie-free, sweetener-free and sugar-free, and as an added bonus it comes in a truly beautiful bottle – a fine addition to any at-home bar
For those who like an aperitif, check out Everleaf. It’s a bittersweet concoction flavoured with a range of botanicals including vanilla, vetiver, cassia and saffron. The latter gives it a golden hue.
It also features gentian, which gives it a fairly herbal profile but there’s also a fruity, almost grapefruit undertone as well.
It is very bitter, so you’re better off mixing Everleaf.
13. Seedlip - Spice 94
It’s arguably Seedlip that started the alcohol-free spirit movement having emerged in 2015. Spice 94 was the first edition and is our favourite of the three.
This is a heady combination of cardamom along with oak and cascarilla bark, so is for those looking for something with a decent punch. It can be served in various ways but we quite like it with cola.
Seedlip also makes Garden 108 and Grove 42 editions.
The colourful and vibrant label, which draws on the latin vibes of Columbia, is very much matched by the flavour of this ‘free-spirit’.
This is a distilled spirit with botanicals including juniper, spices and Inca berry so if you’re looking for a fruity non-alcoholic gin, look no further. Serve with tonic water, but we actually quite liked this one neat.
15. Ceder’s - Classic
This ‘alt gin’ is a very well-rounded alcohol-free spirit that provides fruity, floral and herbal flavours and aromas. This is thanks to botanicals like juniper, rose-geranium and coriander.
It works well in all situations so use it just as you would a normal gin.
Ceder’s also comes in two other varieties - Crisp (chamomile and cucumber) and Wild (clove and rooibos).
16. Borrago - #47 Paloma Blend
This is one of the most complex flavours you’ll find in the alcohol-free market. Borrago is named after the purple flower that features on the label, called borage.
A range of steam distilled botanicals means there are all kinds of aromas and flavours going in. Each sniff brings something new including herbs, spices, citrus and more.
Like other clear examples, Borrago works well with just tonic or in cocktails that traditionally use gin or vodka.
17. Three Spirit
With a logo reminiscent of the deathly hallows, we wouldn’t be surprised if this was a liquid created in Harry Potter’s potions class.
This is a plant based ‘social elixir’ and we think the second word there is bang on as there are no less than 11 ingredients here, including lion's mane, cacao, passion flower, green tea and molasses.
Flavour-wise it's sweet and sour with complex notes of tea, dried fruit and a lot more. A unique option that will suit those who enjoy kombucha.
MeMento comes all the way from Milan, Italy, and is one of the most herbal spirits here. It’s actually close to a vermouth.
We really like the wooden coaster attached to the bottom of the bottle, but more importantly the flavour is very grassy, floral and quite savoury thanks to the use of four key ingredients: rosemary, lemon verbena, rose and helichrysum italicum (aka curry plant).
19. Stryyk - Not Rum
While many alcohol-free spirits are based on clear counterparts, Stryyk has managed to make a rum.
It must be harder to make darker alcohol-free spirits as there are very few around, but some wizardry means it has the trademark character of rum - namely cane sugar, vanilla and oak - without using any artificial flavouring.
If you’re not into rum, Stryyk also makes Not Gin and Not Vodka.