We know all the worthy reasons for considering those nonalcoholic craft spirit options on the other side of the shelf. It’s just the pallid options we’ve been having some issues with—until recently. Whether you’re hosting a booze-free night, demonstrating solidarity with your pregnant wife, playing designated driver, looking to enjoy a happy hour sans hungover chaser, etc., gone are the days when nonalcoholic (NA) spirits are a lackluster mocktail party pooper. Don’t believe us? Here’s some zero-proof proof—our favorite nonalcoholic spirits that are (no-joke) worth adding to your bar—and even giving to a friend this holiday season. Yes, they’re that tasty and buzzworthy.
1. Spiritless Kentucky 74
When it comes to booze-free bourbon, Austin, Texas, based Spiritless is an industry leader with their playfully-named Kentucky 74—a Best Nonalcoholic Spirit gold medalist at the 2021 L.A. Spirits Awards. The intensive formulation process starts with a high-proof, rapidly-aged spirit before undergoing distillation to eliminate all but 0.5% (max) of the alcohol. When all is said and distilled, the spirit bestows those caramel, vanilla, and oak notes you expect in a fine bourbon—just without the ensuing headache. For a lower-proof cocktail (but not quite this low), swap half of your go-to bourbon with this palate pleaser.
[$35 per 750ml bottle; spiritless.com]
2. Salcombe Distilling Co. New London Light
This buzzy NA beverage just won the “Mindful Drinking” category in the 2021 People’s Choice Spirits Awards. Crafted with natural ingredients and inspired by gin-making principles, its juniper, ginger, and habanero pepper notes really shine thanks to the brand’s careful distillation, maceration, and extraction processes. You’ll enjoy the taste and nose of citrus, cardamom, and herbs like rosemary and sage in this versatile zero-proofer. Fun fact: The specific botanicals used in the blend were also chosen due to their involvement in the trading routes that traveled through Salcombe and the coast of England in the 1800s, when exotic fruits and spices were shuttled between England and the Americas.
[$35 per 750ml bottle; us.salcombegin.com]
3. DRY, Botanical Bitters & Soda
Bitters fans will appreciate these temperance cocktails that are a swirl of botanicals, herbs, and citrus without any booze. Currently, Aromatic (orange peel, cinnamon, clove), Bright/Herbal (ginger, lavender, orange, cardamom, sage, lemon, and grapefruit), Sweet/Spicy (jalapeño, habanero, citrus, and lemongrass) are on offer—all of them free of sugar, gluten, and caffeine. Start with the variety pack to sample all three flavors.
[$40, 12-pack; amazon.com]
4. Lucas Bols Damrak VirGin 0.0
This teetotaler tipple is distilled in Amsterdam from 10 botanicals, including Valencia and Curaçao orange peels, ginger, lavender, cinnamon, and lemon peel. Gin enthusiasts will appreciate its refreshing quality—along with zilch calories and sugar to boot. NA-gin and tonic, here we come. If you’re mixing up cocktails for non-drinking and drinking guests, consider keeping a bottle of Damrak Amsterdam Gin on hand too.
[$25 per 700ml bottle; damrakgin.com]
5. SPIRITY Cocktails
Whether you go for the Mindful Mule, Mindful Negroni, Mindful Margarita or Mindful Apricot Sour, you’re sure to become a fast fan of this enticing (and have we mentioned mindful?) nonalcoholic cocktail using spirits distilled from tea. Pu’er tea undergoes the same biological process that happens in grape skins during red wine production—and offers the same complexity and depth of flavor with every sip. Our go-to? The Mindful Negroni, which pops with cardamom, allspice, cloves, and matured herbal botanicals. Note: each can contains less than 0.5% ABV, making it a nearly zero libation if not quite.
[$14, 4-pack; amazon.com]
6. VYBES Adaptogenic Elixir
Apricot lemon, watermelon lime, pineapple ginger. These inspired flavors make for a tough decision when it comes to a sparkling elixir crafted with adaptogenic herbs to support your mood, immunity, and energy. These so-called “mind and body” elixirs contain ingredients like ashwagandha root extract, rhodiola extract, elderberry extract, L-Theanine, red ginseng root extract, vitamin C, and zinc to transform happy hour to a deliciously joyful one. Serve neat or on the rocks.
[$30, 6-pack; idrinkvybes.com
7. The Pathfinder
This new fermented and distilled hemp-based NA elixir uses copper pot distillation and a slew of truly wild natural ingredients—think Douglas fir, sage, juniper, saffron, angelica root—to create something singular and nuanced. The bottle’s spirited proclamation: “immediate relief for malaise and ennui, cold feet and hot tempers, weak knees and low spirits.”
[$35 per 500ml bottle; drinkthepathfinder.com]
8. Zenbarn Farms Hierba
Made with Vermont CBD extract, you can enjoy this zero-proof spirit chilled or mixed into your favorite cocktail recipe. The libation is made with Woodnose Drinks’ organic maple syrup—which is aged in bourbon barrels, and then paired with Zenbarn Farms’ craft-grown hemp flowers, botanical OG Kush terpenes, and Fair Trade coffee. The flavor profiles reach somewhere between Amaro, Kahlúa, and a shrub. Our best description: earthy espresso martini with a pleasant cannabis nose.
[$65 per 750ml bottle; zenbarnfarms.com]
9. LEVIA – THC infused seltzer water
Boozy seltzer has been having its extended moment. Now you won’t miss the alcohol in this delightfully refreshing, cannabis-infused beverage that contains 5mg of THC per 12-ounce can—minus any calories or sugar. Currently, there are three flavors: “Achieve” is raspberry-lime with a Sativa blend; “Celebrate” is a lemon-lime hybrid; “Dream”—our favorite—does its jamberry with an indica blend to help you zen out before bed.
[$7 per can; levia.buzz]
10. Mingle Mocktails Moscow Mule
This gluten-free, low-calorie drink can be enjoyed as a festive nonalcoholic cocktail in a snap. Simply serve chilled in a copper Moscow Mule mug and garnish with lime wedges and a few sprigs of fresh mint. Featuring all the right ginger- and lime-forward notes, Mingle is our vote for the perfect crowd-pleaser at a party—and always ready for a topper of vodka or bourbon if needed. Check out their range of sparkling mocktail offerings here.
[$13 per 750ml bottle; minglemocktails.com]
11. For Bitter For Worse Smoky no. 56
This Portland, Oregon company devised its own patent-pending “reverse bootlegging” process to create these drinks—so it’s safe to say they take the whole zero ABV thing pretty seriously. Here you’ll get a good burst of smoke from lapsang souchong—the famed Chinese black tea created over smoldering pine boughs—which is mellowed out by sweetness from organic maple syrup. How do the makers describe Smoky no. 56? “It’s its own thing.” Bloody Mary aficionado? Use it to make one heckuva Smoky Mary.
[$28 per 750ml bottle; forbitterforworse.com]