Spiritless Kentucky 74
This smells so exactly like a top-shelf bourbon (not that I would know, I was always a bottom-shelf bourbon kinda gal) that it feels like some kind of sick joke. But alas, this isn’t a massive global prank to get sober people to relapse. This is a rich, caramelly, slightly smoky alcohol-free bourbon that’s best sipped slowly over ice, and savored the way a worldly connoisseur would. While of course we love that Spiritless is a complex and delicious replica of the real thing without the booze, we *also* love the reminder that no booze equals less calories. Due to that fact, its appeal goes far wider than just the retired drinker and can also appeal to the sober curious or normie who just wants to have a healthier night all around. Because getting rip-roaring drunk is soooo 2020.
Monday Zero Alcohol Whiskey
With a kick of spicy heat, this is the kinda smooth bite you want, not that choke-on-your own vomit gag that comes with a boozy whiskey. But if you’re reading this, you probably don’t want that anyway, and you’re in luck. Monday’s whiskey alternative is among our favorites of all the spirits we’ve tried. It’s somehow sweet, warm, and spicy all at once, at different points; in other words, this bev wrote the book on “complex flavor profile”. The heat mimics alcohol in that its warming effect feels continuous, rather than just being a dash of cayenne pepper. We drank this on the rocks to really get a feel for its rich levels, but we imagine it would make an absolutely ravishing Manhattan or Old Fashioned. Its many flavor accents would go well with an endless array of ingredients. If whiskey tasted this good, we might never have gone off the sauce. Thank god for all of us, it’s not even close!
Bax Botanics Sea Buckthorn a/f spirit
This beautiful, elegant, almost savory spirit is as unexpected as it is classy. This award-winning beverage would be great in mocktails, but after the first sip we’ve been using it just to uplift our many club sodas throughout the day, elevating them to a calming, continuously interesting sip. We’re tasting orange rind, rosemary, and florals, but the flavor seems to always shift and provide spa-like comfort. Think of this as aromatherapy in a beverage. Something about it is luxurious, whimsical, and relaxing all at once, and just gives a feeling of overall wellness and content. What a dreamy drink! Our go-to glass was a shot over ice, topped with the fizziest plain fizzy water you can find, and garnished with in-season fancy citrus (and by fancy we mean a Cara Cara orange, Meyer lemon, or key lime). But you don’t need to get too exotic — Bax has already done the work for you with this magical elixir.
Som Cane Vinegar Cordial
In a world of faux whiskeys, tequilas, and wines, Som stands out as something entirely different. It’s a sweet, tart vinegar-based spirit that livens up anything from a club soda on ice to a more exotic, multi-ingredient mocktail. We tried the Strawberry Basil flavor and it knocked us right off our feet: its fun red color and its burst of fruit, herbs, and mild acidity/warming sweetness made us happy all over, and is unlike any other sober-friendly spirit on the market. The Portland-based company aims to provide an option for discerning craft cocktail enthusiasts who appreciate inventiveness and depth of flavor, but who also don’t happen to drink alcohol. The future is now! Som has a wide range of other flavors so enticing it was hard to choose which to sample, including Pineapple Szechuan Pepper, Tangerine Sea Salt and Cherry Vanilla. We’re excited to try them all!