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My Picks for Best Nonalcoholic Spirits and RTDs 2024

This January I gave three tastings of nonalcoholic products to small classes. The goal was to talk about the category and highlight some star products.

I've tasted dozens of NA cocktails and spirits and frankly a lot of them are very bad. And some brands have a whole line of products where some are good and some are bad, so even following a "good" brand can result in disappointment. And then there is the price- they are expensive, averaging around $35 for a 700ml bottle of NA spirit. I felt it would be helpful to show folks easy to use, recommended brands by someone (me) who has tried them and thought a lot about the category. 




So while I haven't tried every single product on the market (especially all the new RTD cocktails), here are the ones I selected to feature for this tasting, and why. 


Martini Floreale This product as well as the Martini Vibrante are based on a dealcoholized wine, which gives them great body compared with all the water-based products. Then they're flavored; this one heavily accented with chamomile. I'd say it's closest to a nonalcoholic Lillet Blanc. It's great over ice with an orange peel/slice. 


Curious Elixirs No 7- Curious Elixirs is a line of NA cocktails. I've tried I think four of the line, and I really like the No 1 (like a berry Negroni Spagliato) and this No 7 (a floral champagne cocktail). As I had other Campari/Negroni-type products in this tasting I went with the No 7 to highlight. This can simply be kept chilled and poured into a glass or over ice. It's great. 


Tenneyson- This one has some kick to it! Gingery and peppery. You can add soda water and make it a ginger beer, or sip it like a spicy digestif. I'm keeping a bottle in my office for a mid-day wakeup. 


Ritual Rum- Many "aged" nonalcoholic spirits lean in to barrel flavors, including vanilla and caramel. So if that's the flavor range you enjoy there are several worthwhile "aged" tequilas, rums, and whiskeys. If you add them to cola you get extra-cola flavored cola; I would try this brand in an n/a Mai Tai. In this tasting I used it as an example of the category, though it has less obvious/easy utility compared to the rest of this tasting. 


Bare Bourbon - I don't like many NA whiskeys, but I feel that Bare does a good job at being "bourbon" rather than "whiskey" like most brands. Again leaning in to barrel flavors. In the class I had people add a dash of bitters and simple syrup to make an Old Fashioned with this brand; in part to show that the NA spirits can't really tolerate more dilution, and how you'd plan for that when using it. (Chill everything including the glass, serve over a single big cube.)


Three Spirit Nightcap - There are three Three Spirit "functional" spirits. I like the taste of all of them, but the Nightcap is woodsy and most drinkable without mixers. That said, I knew of two different bars who used it in an Old Fashioned. It's functional, but not cannabis-related. Its relaxing ingredients are hops, valerian root, and lemon balm; nothing extreme. 


Martini Vibrante - NA wine-based like the other Martini product, I'd say the Vibrante is most like a wine-based Negroni. Delicious over ice with an orange wedge. 


Lyre’s Italian Spritz - Lyre's answer to Aperol. Surprisingly bitter and needs to be put with a mixer, which we find in the next product.... 


Lyre’s Classico -  I really love Lyre's take on prosecco. It's quite fruity with apple notes, and not overly sweet. I've made lots of mimosas with it. In the class we add the Italian Spritz to the Classico to make an NA Sbagliato/Aperol Spritz. Delicious, and a hit in this tasting. 


For Bitter For Worse Rose City Fizz - The FBFW line is four products. I like three of them a lot (just not the smoky one) and chose the Rose City Fizz for this tasting. This one also has a Berry Negroni flavor to it and I find it has lots of the mustardy rhubarb root flavor to it - a flavor that I love. Along with the Curious Elixirs line, I think you can just pop these open and serve them in a glass for NA cocktails at bars and events, they're that high quality.  


Dr. Zero Zero Amarno - Speaking of rhubarb root: This is a nonalcoholic rabarbaro - a rhubarb amaro. In fact it tastes a lot like Zucca. I drink it as a digestif. 


The Pathfinder - Another amaro, this one with a long lingering wormwood note. Admittedly I didn't like that specific note at first but now I'm into it. I find that people are divided on this product but fans of amaro (and bartenders, who are the same people) tend to really dig it. This is my other NA go-to digestif. 


Spiritless Cinnamon - And for the dessert course: Spiritless Cinnamon. Designed to be a nonalcoholic Fireball, I chose this brand as a last sip and palate cleanser for those overwhelmed by wormwood. This is another one I wouldn't mix but take as a shot. 


Bonus Products - I also featured All the Bitter nonalcoholic cocktail bitters, plus the newish Heineken 0.0 and Guinness 0.0 beers. 




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