The best non-alcoholic spirits for Dry January
As if Dry January wasn’t going to be hard enough. And now, with another lockdown looming into view, you’ll likely be reaching for strong, stiff drinks by the glassful. Thankfully, even if you have committed to 30 days of sobriety, we’ve got you covered.
For the last few years, boutique brands around the world have been cooking up alcohol-free alternatives to your favourite spirits — and they’ve been doing it by the barrel. So, whether you’re a gin aficionado, a vodka enthusiasts or a whisky devotee, there’s something out there to suit your singular tastes. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best bottles on the market. And the best part? Drink as many drams and sink as many shots as you like — you’ll still wake up hangover-free. We’ll raise a glass to that.
Founded by Ben Branson in 2015, Seedlip claims to offer the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit — an elegant, adult alternative to the “fruity, sickly-sweet mocktails” Branson found to be the only option for non-drinkers in bars and restaurants. The brand’s manifesto was, and remains, simple: to give those who don’t drink something to drink.
A complex blend of aromatic Jamaican allspice berry and cardamom distillates with two barks and a bright citrus finish, Seedlip Spice 94 is an aromatic, non-alcoholic spirit with warm spiced notes, citrusy top notes from lemon and grapefruit peel, and a long bitter finish. Simply serve with tonic and a red grapefruit peel garnish — you’ll never notice the difference.
Looks like rum. Tastes like rum. It’s ‘Not Rum’ – the perfect non-alcoholic alternative for all your favourite rum-based drinks. The no-alcohol experts over at Stryyk blend sweet sugar cane and raisin notes with the characteristic vanilla and oaky tones that help create a perfectly balanced spiced rum non-alcoholic spirit.
It’s 100% naturally made — with no fat, no carbs and no artificial flavours. So, if you’re still wanting to follow the siren call of the Mojito or the Mai Tai, you can do so safe in the knowledge that it won’t lead to a disastrous hangover. Dive in.
Feragaia (pronounced fer-a-guy-a) is Scotland’s first premium alcohol-free spirit. Okay, it’s not a replacement for whisky — but it’s got the hearty Scotch provenance that’s so important to whisky-drinkers. And the effects are similar; this spirit has a complex but clean taste and a thoroughly warming finish — best enjoyed over ice or with a light tonic.
Feragaia is also distilled, blended and bottled in the far reaches of the Scottish Lowlands, an area governed by centuries of spirit innovation. Amber in colour with a light smokiness also reminiscent of Scotch, it’s the ideal replacement dram for Dry January.
Clean, crisp and fresh — it’s what every discerning drinker looks for in a choice vodka. Thankfully, we’ve found all of the above (with none of the fuzzy-headed effects) in Zeo Botanical Dry, a warming non-alcoholic offering in a handsome, golden bottle.
This spirit also shares similarities with gin, but we’re using it as our Dry January vodka alternative for one simple reason; its performance in cocktails. Because, while Zeo is formulated with nine natural botanicals, it still has the subtlety of a good vodka — taking a tangy backseat when you mix it into a Martini, a Screwdriver or even a White Russian.
So confident is Mockingbird of its similarities to the Mexican spirit that it has brazenly slapped ‘Tequila’ on the label. And why not? Passionately produced with all-vegan ingredients — including Pure Ashwagandha, an ancient medicinal herb with multiple health benefits — it tastes almost identical to the real thing (without the wince-inducing punch of alcohol).
There are top notes of earthy blue weber agave, sweet vanilla and cinnamon — with a fiery, healthy hint of habanero for that true South American mouth feel. Shots never tasted so wholesome.
Many, many years in the making, Australian brand Lyre’s boast an exquisite range of lovingly crafted, alcohol-free spirits. From Aperitif Rosso and American Malt to Coffee Originale and Spiced Cane Spirit — they’ve got it all. We must give an honorary mention to the bright green non-alcoholic Absinthe; a triumph of taste and colour.
But, for a failsafe wintry tipple, this Amaretto alternative is lip-smackingly perfect. Perfect for those who want to enjoy the nutty, bitter and tangy profile of the classic liqueur with none of the alcoholic content, it’ll pep up cocktails from an Amaretto Sour to an Alabama Slammer.
Frustrated by the lack of alcohol-free alternatives when she headed out dancing, Caleño founder Ellie Webb took her inspiration from Colombia — her family’s South American heartland — to create this intriguing spirit of fruit and spice flavours.
Unlike many of the other drinks in this category, it’s nothing like gin. Although it is blended with juniper, other flavours come through more strongly — cardamom, lemon, and Inca berries. It’s got a charming, unique flavour which isn’t too sweet — and genuinely refreshing. So, if you’re not looking to recreate a specific spirit, this is bold choice for bold drinkers.
And, finally, because there are some flavours that can only be produced using a traditional alcoholic distillation process, we’ve got a low-alcohol option. If you’re not planning on going 100% teetotal, and simply want to cut down your intake this January, Atopia offers an ideal low-alcohol alternative to stash in your drinks cabinet.
At 0.5% ABV, an ‘Atopia & Tonic’ contains 75-times-less alcohol than a standard G&T, while delivering the familiar botanical taste and bitter finish of the traditional spirit. Created by William Grant & Sons’ master blender, Lesley Gracie, Atopia is available in Wild Blossom and Spiced Citrus variations, providing great alternatives with which to create a range of non-alcoholic drinks. Cheers!