Whether you want to reduce your alcohol consumption, or are simply curious about all these mysterious new bottles popping up on stools and store shelves, there has never been a better time to explore non-alcoholic spirits. In fact, according to the International Wine and Spirits Record, Low and no alcohol beverage consumption will increase by 34 percent by 2024.
“It was a golden rush in 2020 and 2021,” said Elva Ramirez, author of the new book. Zero Proof Cocktails, which sees the non-alcoholic space as an evolution led by culinary trends, the way vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan offerings have evolved over the past year. “We follow in those footsteps,” she says. “That idea now affects the bartender’s space.”
According to Ramirez, the non-alcoholic spirit tendency is “not binary” in the sense that you do not have to be sober to get on board, “You do not have to give up Negroni because you like it. Saadlip, “she said.” I still drink. I do not identify as sober, but I drink much less. And that is the trend and how it goes. ”
This idea is echoed by Jared Brown, distiller of the traditional gin producer Sipsmith, who have just released their first non-alcoholic version, Freeglider. “Even at times when I eat gin and tonics, it’s great to be able to alternate ‘Free’ and tonics in between to moderate consumption.” Brown researched historical methods of counterfeiting liquor, such as the use of ginger and chillies to approach the burning of alcohol, when he manufactured the non-alcoholic gin, which will soon be available in the US.
“Most of our customers are not completely sober,” adds Emily Heintz, owner of Dry, a non-alcoholic bottle store in Charleston, South Carolina. “But would rather have a healthier lifestyle, or lose interest in alcohol because of the negative effects on sleep and well-being.”
When I started working on this story, I had never tasted a non-alcoholic spirit. I thought of it a bit like decaffeinated coffee – all the disadvantages of the original with none of the advantages. But over the past few weeks, I have really enjoyed being able to alternate volcanic drinks with the zero-resistant alternatives like a Seed Lip and Soda, and found that it really allows you to keep the night going. with more clarity, even if you get a buzz.
Of the non-alcoholic spirits on the market, some of them are meant to replicate existing spirits (think non-alcoholic bourbon or non-alcoholic gin equivalents), and others are just good mixers, or unique flavors intended for their to be own thing. Some have other mood-altering or health-related traits – these are sometimes referred to as “functional” spirits. It is good to note that non-alcoholic spirits are broadly defined as 0.5% alcohol-by-volume or less, and are made primarily by mixing distilled plant products and other natural ingredients to give a complexity and mouthfeel which carries the depth and fragrance satisfaction of the best alcoholic spirits.
There is inevitably a gray area that arises when trying to identify the category of non-alcoholic spirits. There are adaptogenic and CBD products that blend in with it, so the walls around it are vague at the moment and it’s a good idea to stick with spirits with a proven track record for now. Here are seven such non-alcoholic spirits to consider from producers who have built up an early lead in this budding sector.
Seedlip is the brand that really kicked off the category, according to Elva Ramirez. I personally enjoyed all of their “expressions,” but Spice 94, a complex spice and citrus melange, including cardamom and grapefruit, was my favorite.
A spirit highly recommended by Ramirez. Ritual also makes gin and tequila alternatives – all varieties are made by distilling plant products individually and the art comes in mixing them to recreate the experience of the originals.
The winner for the most beautiful bottle award is also a wonderful gin alternative, a complex aromatic blend that mimics London Dry Gin.
This distilled non-alcoholic spirit is by far the closest I have tasted to the mouthfeel of bourbon, and it is distilled in the heart of bourbon country.
A gin alternative calls Ramirez “pretty sweet” and likes to use it in her ‘Neo-Noir’ cocktail (recipe below).
Amethyst is what I want to shake alone as a martini, as it has a cucumber and almost melon-like side balanced by an edge of serrano peppers.
Three spirits produce ‘functional’ spirits with mood-enhancing properties, such as a natural caffeine buzz or in this case, the opposite: a nice soft finish thanks to lemon balm, valerian and ashwagandha.
Also in the ‘functional’ space, this game is said to carry intense flavor properties as a libido enhancer that also helps with liver cleansing and digestive system – perfect for mixing as a bitter element in a non-alcoholic after-dinner meal. cocktail. .
If you’re interested in trying a non-alcoholic cocktail, here’s a riff on Elva Ramirez’s classic Gimlet. Called Neo-Noir, it uses a gin alternative and homemade limeade cordial.
THE NEO NOIR
- 2oz zero proof gin alternative
- 2 oz Limeade Cordial (recipe below)
In a cocktail shake, combine the gin and cordial. Fill with ice and shake quickly until well cooled and ice has broken up. Strain into a 6 oz Nick and Nora glass.
Elva’s Limeade Cordial
½ cup of sugar
1/3 cup hot water
10 grams of citric acid (available on Amazon)
Peel a squash, grate it and squeeze the juice (white spongy layer between fruit and peel). Transfer ingredients to airtight container with sugar, shake to cover, and let stand 24-48 hours, then strain syrup with a fine mesh sieve. Make 2/3 cup.