What gets a ton of buzz but gives no buzz at all? Non-alcoholic spirits. Seeing as it’s Dry January, they’re pretty hot right now. But for those of us who enjoy a spirited bevie — like me (I didn’t become drinks writer for nothing) — these zero-proof spirits, made from ultra-low calorie, zero-sugar herbal alchemies, need to prove themselves as replacements. Join me as I embark on a sober-curious taste test of the most hyped non-alcoholic bottles.
With delicate notes of fresh peas, cucumber and botanicals, this British brew is an instant transport to an English garden. As I write this article, I can’t stop pouring bottomless glasses of Seedlip and soda. A splash of this would give a sophisticated makeover to a regular gin and soda, too.
Instead of alcohol, try mushrooms! Not that kind. Solbrü infuses this potion with Lion’s mane mushrooms, believed to stimulate neuron growth, along with sweet apple, soft lavender and smooth spices for a superior spirit. While I don’t feel any superhuman effects, it’s enjoyable as a spiced cider replacement.
This elixir is a fiery mix of juniper, cloves and rooibos that tastes like a Moscow mule. I’m sipping it with soda water and a dash of lime — 10/10 would drink again. Its spicy kick is the abstinent answer to the throat-warming heat of alcohol.
Intended as a golden rum substitute, this B.C.-produced libation tastes like a spicy gingerbread cookie. With its notes of clove, cinnamon and molasses, this one would bode well in a cozy winter cocktail like egg nog or a classic rum and Coke.
This gin replacement is pretty sweet — dare I say, the virgin version of Sour Puss. But, surprisingly, it’s sugar-free, low-calorie and so hyper-local that the ingredients list reads “water from the municipal distribution of the City of Calgary, AB.” Pour with something bubbly and call it a pink drink.