Does it feel like everybody is talking about dry January this year? Maybe it’s because everyone in the media is, or maybe it’s a result of millennials’ lack of alcohol enthusiasm; either way, if you are participating, you may not have to completely give up those fancy cocktails and spirits.
“Non-alcoholic spirits” is the buzziest phrase in the mixolosphere at the moment, and for good reason. Many young drinkers are looking for the satisfaction and flavor experience of an expertly-executed cocktail without the high ABV and accompanying ill effects of alcohol consumption. New brands are distilling spirits using the same herbs, spices, and techniques as usual, but either removing the alcohol later or leaving it out from the beginning.
Here are five of the best bottles to bring home for dinner, just make sure you keep an eye out for them at your local cocktail lounge, too.
Seedlip was the first big brand to launch into the space, bringing herbacious blends to the world from London in 2015. The brand currently has three products: Spice 94, a blend of Jamaican all-spice berry, cardamom, citrus peel and wood bark; Garden 108, which combines hay and pea distillates, rosemary, thyme, spearmint, and hops; and Grove 42, a citrus-forward mix of three types of orange, Lemongrass, and Ginger.
Curious Elixirs is another big name in the no-booze space, bringing three more luxe, alcohol-free creations into the mix. Named by number, these pre-mixed bottles are meant to imitate your favorite drinks without the booze. No. 1 is the bold, bitter brew for lovers of negronis and old fashioneds. No. 2 is more bright and spicy, the fruity lovechild of a pineapple margarita and a Dark and Stormy. No. 3 is for the floral enthusiasts, brimming with cucumber, lemon, and ashwagandha and imitating a cross between a Bee’s Knees and Cucumber Collins.
Ceder’s focuses on creating gin-adjacent botanicals from herbs grown in the hills of South Africa distilled in pristine Swedish water. They also offer three variations: the Classic, a blend of the usual gin suspects of juniper and coriander with a few flecks of floral; the Crisp, which adds in citrus, cucumber, and chamomile; and the Wild, a spicy mixture of ginger, clove, and rooibos.
Whissin is an alcohol-free whiskey variety from Spain, distilled from a mixture of barley, maize, and wheat. “Whissin” is short for “whiskey sin alcohol,” or “whiskey without alcohol” in English. The alcohol-free variety is missing a bit of the sharpness of a drink with 40% alcohol, but mixing with some ginger to create a Johnnie Ginger will bring on that burning sensation.
Stryyk brings rum, vodka, and gin imitations to the table, all with a big “Not” in front. Not Vodka is made from cucumber, coriander, and apple, with no added sugar, artificial flavors or allergens, so you can sip all night without feeling sour the next day. Not Gin comes from juniper, basil, and rosemary while Not Rum uses clove, oakwood, and grapefruit for its flavor base. Both contain no sugar, no carbs, no fat, and zero artificial flavoring so you can enjoy some good clean fun.