In 2021 I hosted a group of bartenders to taste a big batch of nonalcoholic spirits. Read that write-up here.
Since then, many new brands have come onto the market or been newly imported into the USA. I lined up 17 expressions and tasted them. Fifteen are pictured below, plus I tried the new nonalcoholic vermouth/aperitivos from Martini & Rossi.
I am not going to take the time to write out my tasting notes, sorry, but I'll share my favorites.
Note that the previous tasting was blind, mostly in Daiquiri format. For this tasting I tasted them neat and not blind. To be truly fair I would do a cocktail taste test with each, because sometimes the flavors in n/a spirits that are overwhelmingly perfumy on their own (a huge negative to me) aren't so intense when mixed.
Nonalcoholic Spirits that are Pretty Good from this Group, Kept the Bottles and Will Drink:
- Everleaf Marine
- Free Spirits Gin [buy]
- Spiritless Kentucky 74 Cinnamon Whiskey
- Free Spirits Bourbon [buy]
- Ghia [buy]
Nonalcoholic Spirits I Think are Good Enough to Maybe Drink Without Mixers, just neat or on the rocks (The Best of this Tasting):
- Everleaf Forest
- Cut Above Mezcal
- Free Spirits Tequila [buy]
- Dromme Calm
- Martini & Rossi Vibrante
- Martini & Rossi Floreale
The rest I didn't think were worthy. But this list has a lot more winners than the last tasting!
- The Free Spirits Gin is the only n/a gin I've tried that I think is drinkable at all, but even this one does not taste like gin. None of them do. I recently found out the reason for this and will share on another post!
- The Martini aperitifs have a base of dealcoholized wine, and this makes for a big difference. I have a story going up on AlcoholProfessor in a few weeks in which I review the details on those products. It's cool stuff.
- Dromme Calm is... not calming but it tastes good. It has tons of capsaicin in it I think, so it's super spicy.
- Several of the ones with fruit or vegetable juices in them tasted spoiled or cooked.
- As mentioned above, the ones that were perfumy - often soapy- were ones I also rated low. Perhaps they'd perform better in specific drinks.