How Are Non-Alcoholic Spirits Made?
If you’ve ever had a hankering for an old fashioned or a gin and tonic but needed to drive home, or didn’t want to face a splitting headache the next day, you’ll see the appeal of a non-alcoholic spirit. Sure, that’s a bit of a confusing term. How can a spirit be non-alcoholic? And if it has no alcohol, can it still be a spirit? Does it taste any good?
Oxymorons aside, non-alcoholic spirits do exist and they’re bloody good drinking too. Whether it’s a permanent choice you’ve made to not drink, or you’re just laying off the booze for a temporary health kick, lifestyle or other reason, non-alcoholic spirits are the answer to all of your booze-free sipping needs.
When it comes to non-alcoholic spirits, Australia is more than holding its own in the field. From complex non-alcoholic gins to smooth whiskey alternatives and bright, clean non-alcoholic spirits, there are some seriously good varieties out there just waiting to be uncovered. Still not convinced? Allow us to break down how non-alcoholic spirits are made and run through some of our favourites for all occasions.
What are non-alcoholic spirits made of?
When we talk about non-alcoholic spirits, we are essentially looking at 2 very different types of drinks in terms of process. Where you land is very much dependent on your tastes, personal preferences and what you want out of your drinks.
When it comes to buying, you’re basically looking at two sub-categories — infusions and distillations.
This is the category for you if you are after a direct mimic for an alcoholic version of a spirit. Water is infused over a long time with the aroma of natural botanicals, flavourings and essences in order to replicate the flavour profiles we are familiar with from alcoholic spirits into an alcohol free version.
If you have a favourite cocktail you’re trying to replicate minus the hard stuff, give these infusions a red hot go.
Sans Bar Kings of Tartan is a zero alcohol whiskey alternative inspired by the traditional flavours of Scottish whiskey. The intense flavours of smoked oak and malt and a warm traditional alcohol-like mouthfeel makes it perfect for a drink where whiskey is normally the star. Our pick? Mix this non-alcoholic whiskey up into an Old Fashioned to enjoy at the end of a day.
Lyre’s Dry London is skilfully composed of essences, distillates and extracts; all the telltale signs of a great gin, minus the alcohol. The natural flavouring listed in the ingredients include juniper, citrus and pepper berry. With so many natural aromatics and complex profiles, we recommend trying this in a classic gin and tonic or Tom Collins where the flavours can really shine.
The Ms Sans Bring a Sombrero is a non-alcoholic tequila substitute inspired by a traditional Mexican fiesta. It features flavours of freshly roasted Agave, peppery citrus notes and a warm mouthfeel. Again, all natural flavours and extracts are used, so do yourself a solid and use real lime when you’re blending this into a refreshing margarita.
If you’ve evolved past the need for your non-alcoholic spirits to mimic the flavour of hooch, distillations are for you. Some of the best non-alcoholic spirits in Australia right now are being made using traditional methods of distillation that we know from gin making techniques, but with unique flavours that make them their own beautiful beasts.
These makers use traditional copper stills to distil an incredible array of native botanicals and fruit into water rather than alcohol, but none of these are a direct mimic for gin. They are their own beautiful, flavourful botanical drink.
The first alcohol free spirit to market, Seedlip’s non-alcoholic spirit takes six weeks to produce. That considered process begins with a bespoke maceration. Each botanical (orange, blood orange, mandarin, lemon, ginger and lemongrass) is mixed with water. The resulting “mash” is distilled twice by running it through a copper pot. The distillate is now ready to be blended, filtered and bottled. With such a delicious flavour profile, this one is definitely great for sipping on ice, but we’ll also serve it in a highball glass topped with soda if you’re trying to impress company.
With so many contradictions in the world on non-alcoholic gins and spirits, we had to include this quirky little offering from Four Pillars. A booze free version of their Shiraz infused spirit products, this sippable beverage combines botanicals including Tasmanian pepperberry leaf and citrus with the defining Shiraz grape juice that gives Bandwagon its colour and dominant flavour. Slightly sweet and definitely festive, this party animal plays just as well with a good tonic as it does in a hangover-proof sangria at a barbie.
Craftzero — your go-to destination to buy non-alcoholic spirits
When it comes to choosing the best non-alcoholic spirits, we stock a great range of both distillations and infusions. Whether you want a hangover free alternative to your favourite spirit or a unique formula to make your mocktails more exciting, our doors are always open so you don’t have to wonder where to buy non-alcoholic spirits. Plus, when you dip your toe into our selection of the best tasting non-alcoholic spirits, you’ll earn rewards. So, what are you waiting for?