9 best non-alcoholic spirits, expert tested

food, 9 best non-alcoholic spirits, expert tested

The trend for interesting, alcohol-free spirits shows no sign of slowing down, with consumption of no and low spirits expected to increase 31% by 2024, according to the IWSR.

As a result, many distilleries – including bigger names like Gordon’s and Tanqueray — are creating sophisticated alcohol-free serves that rival the taste of a classic tipple.

Simply put, there’s never been a better time to be a non-drinker. But, with so many on the market, how do you know which are worth buying?

Well, here at the Good Housekeeping Institute, we’ve tested 21 non-alcoholic spirits to find those worthy of a place on your bar cart. Whether you’re looking to reduce your alcohol intake, or quitting booze entirely, we’ve got something for every taste and budget…

Best non-alcoholic spirits 2022

What’s the difference between no and low alcohol?

According to current UK government guidance, drinks that contain 0.05% ABV or less are labelled as alcohol-free, while drinks of up to 1.2% are labelled low alcohol. It’s worth noting that the EU operates under slightly less stringent rules, so do be sure to check the ABV when purchasing in-store or online.

How are non-alcoholic spirits made?

The most common process of making no and low ABV spirits is, actually, very similar to making alcoholic spirits – hence the similar price tag.

A combination of a small amount of neutral spirit and botanicals (which give the spirit its floral, fruity or bittersweet flavour) are added to a still, which is then heated through multiple rounds of distillation. This process (which can take around six weeks to complete) helps to extract the flavour of the ingredients before the alcohol is removed from the liquid. Voila!

How we test non-alcoholic spirits

Our panel of WSET-accredited experts and consumers sipped their way through 21 non-alcoholic spirits. They looked for easy-drinking options with well-balanced botanicals that would work as the base for an alcohol-free cocktail, G&T or aperitivo. Each was blind tested to avoid brand bias and scored on its aroma, flavour and overall finish.

These are their nine favourites…

food, 9 best non-alcoholic spirits, expert tested

1) Crodino Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo, 0.0%, £5.95 for 3×17.5cl


Score: 81/100

Going teetotal needn’t mean missing out on aperitivo hour, thanks to Crodino, AKA Campari’s non-alcoholic Italian spritz. First developed in 1965, our worthy winner wowed testers with its well-balanced bittersweet botanicals and lingering citrus flavour. To serve, simply pour over a generous amount of ice and pair with antipasti and cheese for a taste of la dolce vita.

food, 9 best non-alcoholic spirits, expert tested

2) Caleno Dark & Spicy Non-Alcoholic Spirit, 0.0%, £17.90 for 50cl


Score: 76/100

Dark gold in the glass, Caleno packs a real tropical fruit punch, with notes of pineapple, coconut, cardamom and warm ginger spice.

The perfect stand-in for rum-lovers looking for an alcohol-free alternative, we’d recommend topping with ginger beer and a generous squeeze of lime for a take on the classic Dark & Stormy. Not only that, but it’s zero sugar, gluten-free and vegan, meaning everybody can get in on the action.

food, 9 best non-alcoholic spirits, expert tested

3) Sea Arch Non-Alcoholic Coastal Juniper Distilled Spirit, 0.0%, £24.95 for 70cl


Score: 75/100

Combining coastal botanicals (think sea kelp, samphire and juniper), Sea Arch impressed our tasting panel with its clean, herbaceous flavour – as invigorating as a windy walk along the seafront.

A hint of blood orange brings just enough sweetness to serve straight-up over ice as an alcohol-free martini, or top with Mediterranean tonic and a sprig of rosemary for a longer serve.

food, 9 best non-alcoholic spirits, expert tested

4) Atopia Spiced Citrus Ultra Low Alcohol Spirit, 0.5%, £24.95 for 70cl


Score: 74/100

Created by the master distiller behind Hendrick’s, our panel had high hopes for Atopia Spiced Citrus – and it delivered. As the name suggests, there’s plenty of complex, mouth-puckering citrus at play with a strong ginger aroma mimicking all the warmth of a high ABV spirit, minus the alcohol. Simply top with sugar syrup and soda for an alcohol-free Tom Collins – genius!

food, 9 best non-alcoholic spirits, expert tested

5) Tanqueray Alcohol Free, 0.0%, £15.97 for 70cl


Score: 73/100

Balancing the same four key botanicals used in Tanqueray London Dry (juniper, coriander, angelica root and liquorice), our panel felt this was the closest contender to a classic gin.

The initial citrusy kick mellows into pleasant floral notes, with some peppery heat. Serve as you would your favourite G&T and, trust us, you’ll hardly notice the difference – except, of course, a clear head the next morning.

food, 9 best non-alcoholic spirits, expert tested

6) Gordon’s Alcohol Free, 0.0%, £12 for 70cl


Score: 72/100

Like the original Gordon’s blend, this is best for traditionalists looking for an alcohol-free tipple to mix with tonic, ice and a slice of lemon.

Some of our testers felt it was lacking the same juniper kick as the full-strength Gordon’s, but still appreciated this well-balanced bittersweet blend. It’s also available in a can for tee-total picnicking.

food, 9 best non-alcoholic spirits, expert tested

7) Everleaf Mountain Spirit, 0.0%, £19.95 for 50cl


Score: 71/100

Founder, Paul Mathew, is a biologist turned bartender who used his adventures to inspire his non-alcoholic spirit range, which currently includes Forest, Marine and Mountain.

A vibrant blend of botanicals (think cherry blossom, tart rosehip, and piney juniper), Mountain impressed our panel with its intriguing, multi-layered flavours and ability to “bottle the feeling of being in nature”. Quite unlike anything else on test, in the best way.

food, 9 best non-alcoholic spirits, expert tested

8) Lyre’s Pink London Spirit, 0.0%, £20.95 for 70cl


Score: 70/100

Lyre’s continue to lead when it comes to creating non-alcoholic versions of your favourite tipples; in fact, the range currently spans everything from Amaretti to an American Malt.

Our panel’s favourite was the Pink London Spirit, which delivered bags of red berry flavour alongside well-balanced bitterness. We’d recommend topping with elderflower tonic to add a refreshing, herbaceous note.

food, 9 best non-alcoholic spirits, expert tested

9) Seedlip Garden 108, 0.0%, £22.90 for 70cl


Score: 70/100

As an early pioneer of the alcohol-free movement here in the UK, Seedlip continues to create complex flavours that aren’t merely alcohol substitutes, but unique drinks in their own right.

The latest expression, Garden 108, is full of fresh cucumber and herbaceous notes, with just a hint of juniper and pepper. Shake over ice with fresh lime juice for an uber-refreshing alcohol-free gimlet.

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