Shopping & Reviews

The Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Cocktail Lovers

Try a booze-free version of tequila, gin, or whiskey in your next mocktail.


By Kim Westerman

Published on March 9, 2022

Even long past dry January, non-alcoholic drinks are now popular all year among those who want to enjoy an adult beverage without any of alcohol’s negative effects. And now, there are countless options on the market designed to evoke the pleasures of specific spirits: gin’s herbaceous complexity, Tequila’s rich aromatic wood, whiskey’s sweet earthiness, and the digestif’s bitter-leaning profile for alimentary health.

The best non-alcoholic drinks prioritize inherent flavor and aroma above simply mimicking the spirits they’re designed to parallel, but each is successful in replicating the basic sensory properties of its model. In other words, the non-alcoholic gin can certainly be distinguished from the non-alcoholic Tequila. This is no small victory given the absence of the alcohol itself, which does more than just intoxicate: It also harmonizes aromatic compounds, lends viscosity for a fuller mouthfeel, and generally provides a structural throughline. Without alcohol, manufacturers have to rely on ingredients that might otherwise be minor players in aroma or flavor to greater combinatory effect.

If you don’t need to go cold turkey on alcohol, consider reducing the total alcohol in your favorite recipes by adding in one of these non-alcoholic spirits (kind of like adding mushrooms to your hamburger meat).

While some of these concoctions are designed to be sipped straight, all of them fare much better as mixers. Here are five non-alcoholic spirits to stock in your alt-bar as bases for a wide range of cocktails.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Seedlip Garden 108

Best Overall

Ingredients: Botanicals, extracts | Calories: 0 | Carbs: 0 | Sugar: 0 | Taste: Citrusy, sweetly herbaceous | Bottle volume: 700ml | Made in: England

What We Like

  • Zero calories
  • No added sugar
  • Elegant, artistic packaging

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

Why we chose it: The most versatile of the 25 products we sampled, Seedlip Garden 108 is bright, balanced, confident, and high-toned, and it plays well with a wide range of sodas, fruits, and garden herbs.

On the nose and palate, Seedlip Garden 108 is evocative of a spring garden, rife with aromas of snap pea, thyme, pink grapefruit zest, peppercorn, and a hint of wisteria, but with zero sweetness. It’s an excellent canvas for taking in almost any direction. Add ginger ale and rosemary for a sweet pickup, or go for more of an aperitif angle with the addition of a bitter juice (cranberry, pomegranate), soda or tonic water, and a twist of complex citrus zest (calamansi, bergamot). 

This non-alcoholic spirit is made of hand-harvested ingredients based on The Art of Distillation (published in 1651) and individually copper pot-distilled. The packaging features gorgeous renderings of animals drawn with vegetables and herbs embedded into the images for an earthy, grounded feel.

Best Non-Alcoholic Gin: Lyre’s Dry London Spirit

Best Non-Alcoholic Gin

Ingredients: Natural flavors, quinine (cinchona bark), glucose | Calories: 3 | Carbs: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Taste: Gently herbaceous, woodsy | Bottle volume: 700ml | Made in: Australia

What We Like

  • Low-calorie
  • Only 1g of added sugar
  • Subtle, refreshing

What We Don't Like

  • Can be overwhelmed by prominent mixers

Why we chose it: Gently citrusy with notes of juniper and spicy florals (mustard, freesia), Lyre’s Dry London Spirit best evokes classic gin: crisp, satiny, and a good base for gin-style drinks.

While it’s not suitable as a standalone sipper, Lyre’s Dry London Spirit works well as a base for the non-alcoholic version of many classic gin cocktails. This product is not created by the process of distillation but rather by the combination of essences and extracts, which perhaps explains its mild profile. The simplest recipes are the most successful—just add tonic water and a slice of your favorite citrus so as not to overwhelm the delicate gin-like aromatics. 

The packaging is a classic glass bottle, heavy and substantial, with a sea-blue label featuring the brand’s signature pigeon outfitted for a rainy London day (though, oddly, it’s made in Australia).

Best Non-Alcoholic Tequila: Ritual Zero-Proof Tequila Alternative

Best Non-Alcoholic Tequila

 Ingredients: Natural flavors, cane sugar, salt | Calories: 0 | Carbs: 1g | Sugar: <1g  | Taste: Grassy, sweetly woody  | Bottle volume: 750ml | Made in: Chicago

What We Like

  • Aromatics are spot-on for Tequila barrels
  • Balanced, deep
  • Nice minerality

What We Don't Like

  • Mouthfeel is a bit thin

Why we chose it: Ritual Zero-Proof Tequila Alternative is identifiable as Tequila-adjacent when sniffing or sipping blind, and it makes a realistic base for a range of non-alcoholic Tequila cocktails.

On the nose, Ritual Zero-Proof Tequila evokes the sweet woodiness of barrel-aged Tequila. A hint of sweetness mirrors the agave from whence the beverage comes, and these sensory impulses are aided and abetted by notes of mesquite, green peppercorn, and serrano chile. It’s bold enough to stand up to most recipes for Tequila or mezcal cocktails, including those with big spice.

The packaging is very 21st century with its list of 10 esoteric tasting notes that are fairly on point and actually lend accurate information to the sensory experience.

Best Non-Alcoholic Whiskey: Feragaia

Best Non-Alcoholic Whiskey

 Ingredients: 14 land and sea herbs | Calories: 5 | Carbs: 0.2g | Sugar: 0g  | Taste: Savory-leaning, subtle | Bottle volume: 50cl | Made in: Scotland

What We Like

  • Small-batch distilled
  • Made from 14 land and sea botanicals
  • Nice minerality

What We Don't Like

  • Quite subtle
  • Reminiscent of worcestershire sauce

Why we chose it: Feragaia most closely approximates Scottish whiskey for mocktail purposes with its savory-edged, earthy sweetness and crisp minerality.

Whiskey is, perhaps, the toughest spirit to recreate in non-alcoholic form because of its inherent complexity, and Scottish Feragaia comes closest with its dark fruit and green herb nose and wood-framed, spicy mid-palate. “Feragaia” means “wild earth,” and this non-alcoholic drink pairs best with a high-quality tonic as an aperitif, and it makes a terrific hot toddy, as well.

The packaging is simple and inviting: dark, light-blocking bottle with sea and earth color tones.

Best Non-Alcoholic Digestif: Three Spirit Social Elixir

Best Non-Alcoholic Digestif

Ingredients: Agave, botanical extracts, coconut vinegar, molasses | Calories: 52 | Carbs: 11.1g | Sugar: 8.9g  | Taste: Sweet/tart/umami  | Bottle volume: 20cl  | Made in: London

What We Like

  • Complex, multi-layered
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Crafted with an eye toward functional medicine, including added vitamins

What We Don't Like

  • Quite sweet
  • Sugar content limits mixing options
  • More of a stimulant than a relaxant
  • Expensive

Why we chose it: Three Spirit Social Elixir is difficult to categorize but works well as a bitters substitute and serves as a digestif might in mocktail format.

More of a mocktail digestif mixer than a base, and more of an upper than a downer (think sativa vs. indica), Three Spirit Social Elixir is best in recipes as a substitute for ingredients like amaro. Because it’s quite sweet, it’s best paired with neutral or bitter ingredients, but it has nicely savory undertones reminiscent of umami elements like candycap mushroom and zingy teriyaki sauce—a bit strange, but there’s ballast from dark fruit notes. Best as an after-dinner mocktail.

Packaging is small, heavy glass bottles with contemporary-style engraving. (Contains yerba mate, a stimulant, so not suitable for pregnant people or children.)

How We Chose These Products

We tasted 25 samples blind, all at room temperature and grouped by the spirit they are designed to model, evaluating them in five categories—aroma, body, flavor, balance, and finish—and we scored them on a 100-point scale (20 points per category). Then, we put the top five through their paces as cocktail mixers (using the manufacturer’s guidance for recipes). Once the blind-tasting was finished, we looked at the packaging, which didn’t influence scores but certainly adds to the aesthetic enjoyment of the experience.

Features to Keep in Mind When Shopping for a non-alcoholic drink


Non-alcoholic drinks range from high-calorie, including added sugar, to zero added sugar and very low-calorie, so be sure to check the label.

Flavor & Aroma 

Because the best non-alcoholic drinks are designed to parallel specific alcoholic spirits, you can expect to find a similar range of aromas and flavors. The gin substitute contains botanicals commonly used in the alcoholic version, like quinine, that give it the same woodsy aroma and flavor. 


There are countless brands of non-alcoholic spirits on the market today. Some have background in the production of alcohol spirits, and others come from a more herbalist/botanical approach. Most specialize in one kind of alcohol parallel, such as gin, Tequila, or whisky, but some companies offer a wide range of non-alcoholic drinks.

Expiry Date 

While none of these beverages are perishable in the strict sense of the word, aroma and flavor characteristics change over time. For this reason, each company offers information about storage and optimal shelf life.

Ask the Experts

Q: Should I keep my non-alcoholic drinks refrigerated? 

A: There’s no need to refrigerate if you can store in a cool place out of direct sunlight and tightly sealed.

Q: Do non-alcoholic drinks have an expiration date? 

Each manufacturer provides recommendations for shelf-life, indicating the window of peak freshness. Among these five recommendations, that window is between 3 and 6 months. Beyond this timeframe, the products won’t spoil, but they will lose freshness and aromatic vitality.

Q: Can I be drunk from too many non-alcoholic drinks?

These non-alcoholic drinks contain zero alcohol, though they may have other effects caused by their ingredients. (For example, if a product contains yerba mate, you may feel an effect similar to caffeine; passionflower, on the other hand, might result in a more pronounced feeling of relaxation.)

Q: Are non-alcoholic drinks healthy to drink every day? 

Unless the ingredients are contra-indicated for you, these beverages are safe to consume daily.

Q: Do non-alcoholic drinks come without soda?

All five of the recommended non-alcoholic drinks here are standalone beverages that do not contain soda. For mocktail recipe inspiration, check out our roundup of stellar drinks.

Our Take

While none of these non-alcoholic drinks jumps out as a standalone sipper, the Seedlip Garden 108 is the most versatile of the bunch, refreshing when paired simply with ginger ale and rosemary but also compatible with a wide range of seasonal fruit products and can readily evoke various traditional highballs, cosmos, martinis, and margaritas.

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