How are non alcoholic spirits distilled?
A new popular trend in (non-)drinking is consuming non alcoholic spirits. If the term confuses you, you are not alone. How can a spirit be non-alcoholic ? And if it has no alcohol, can it still be a spirit? Would it taste any good?
Non alcoholic spirits are all about drinks that taste authentic, use natural ingredients, and feel actually satisfying. If you are looking into them, chances are you pay close attention to what you put in your body. Most non alcoholic spirits have a clear ingredients list. What is less clear though, is how these ingredients are turned into the drink in front of you.
How are non alcoholic spirits made:
- Distillation: either the alcohol is evaporated from the original mixture or steam is used to distill the flavours.
- Maceration: the source of the desired flavour is soaked in a cold liquid. It can be made with or without alcohol (which would then be removed via distillation).
- Percolation: a more complicated technique. A liquid, such as water, removes the aromas from the solid substances by slowly dripping through them.
- Cold pressing: the best way to extract oils and make sure they retain their flavour, aroma, and nutritional values.
- Infusion: the liquid of choice (again, it can be alcohol, then distilled, or water) is infused over a long time with the aroma of the botanical.
Examples of how a non alcoholic spirit is distilled:
This Seedlip’s non alcoholic spirit take six weeks to produce. The process begins with a bespoke maceration. Each botanical (orange, blood orange, mandarin, lemon, ginger, lemongrass) is mixed with a specific neutral grain spirit and water. This mirrors how traditional herbal medicines have been made for hundreds of years. The resulting “mash” is distilled twice by running it through a copper pot to remove the alcohol and concentrate the flavours. The distillate is now ready to be blended, filtered, and bottled.
Most non alcoholic spirits we know of start by crafting an alcoholic spirit and then removing the alcohol content with distillation. Lyre’s Dry London is different. It is skilfully composed of essences, distillates, and extracts without any alcohol ever present. The natural flavouring listed in the ingredients includes juniper, citrus, and pepper berry.
This Aussie made non alcoholic gin is traditionally manufactured. The alcohol is then removed with the distillation process. The inclusion of botanicals, spice, and citrus notes compensate for the loss of ethanol.
Sapiir is a centuries-old alcohol-free drink. It is made by blending multiple flavour components extracted through distillation of fresh and dried botanical ingredients. In this case, Brunswick produces a gin inspired Sapiir. They have done so by hand distilling it and blending it with notes of green cardamom and parsley, beautifully balanced by sweet citrus and native Australian Lemon Myrtle.
The makers of non alcoholic spirits are trying to create complex, nuanced flavours using botanicals, herbs, barks, nuts, and seeds. To use such a variety of ingredients, they often combine several techniques. To avoid having their drinks copied, they can’t reveal the specifics of their production process. But now you know all the varied steps that lead to that unique, complex glass of non alcoholic spirit in your hand. Not holding anything? Head over to Craftzero non-alcoholic spirits and join the mindful drinking revolution.