Whiskey is a favorite sip and unwind drink, but it’s also popular and delicious in cocktails like an Old Fashioned Whiskey Sour and Whiskey Highball. But what if you’re no longer drinking alcohol? Do you have to give up the taste of your favorite drinks as well?
Here are the best alcohol free whiskeys:
- Spiritless Kentucky 74
- Gnista – Barreled Oak
- For Bitter For Worse – Smoky No. 56
- Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey Alternative
- The Spirit of Bourbon by Free Spirits
- Lyre’s American Malt
- Monday Zero Alcohol Whiskey
- Escape Wise Peanut Butter Whiskey
- Curious Elixir No. 5
- Seir Hill’s Mashville Non-Alcoholic Whiskey Alternative
- Drummerboy American Dark
- Celtic Soul Non-Alcoholic Whiskey
Best Non-Alcoholic Whiskeys
Spiritless Kentucky 74 is a distilled non-alcoholic bourbon whiskey created specifically for bourbon cocktails. Spiritless uses a proprietary reverse osmosis distillation process to make this taste like the real thing.
The Kentucky 74 is gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and low in calories. Unlike many other non-alcoholic whiskeys, this one can be sipped. Of course, it also makes excellent cocktails such as Whiskey Sour and Old Fashioned.
Its notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak and its smooth finish helped it win a gold medal in the 2nd annual LA Spirits Awards.
Dry and smoky, Gnista Barreled Oak carries tons of warm spices, chocolate rye, and oak barrel flavors. It’s excellent on the rocks, mixed with soda, or in your favorite whiskey cocktail.
Barreled Oak boasts that it is even more complex than bourbon, taking on warm, woodsy flavors. It is made from natural ingredients, including rhubarb, beet syrup, dried fruits, and spices.
Gnista is a Swedish company founded with the goal of making non-alcoholic spirits that were better than the ones on the market. They wanted non-alcoholic options that looked and tasted as complex and close to the alcoholic versions as possible.
For Bitter For Worse – Smoky No. 56 is another non-alcoholic whiskey suitable for sipping or enjoying neat. Consider adding a splash of water or tonic water and an orange peel.
Smoky, with flavors of maple and citrus, it goes well with pork shoulder, barbecue, mixed nuts, or pumpkin pie for maximum fall cheer.
Smoky No. 56 is gluten-free and made from maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, lapsang souchong black tea, and dandelion root.
The next best non-alcoholic whiskey is Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey Alternative. This one is keto-friendly, gluten-free, and contains no artificial flavors.
Made from botanicals, it is oaky and smoky with notes of caramel. This warming whiskey alternative is not meant to be drunk neat, but you won’t notice a difference when you slip it into an Old Fashioned or a glass of soda or juice.
For the health-conscious and those who want something more than just good flavor from a cocktail, try The Spirit of Bourbon by Free Spirits. This non-alcoholic Kentucky-style whiskey is infused with Vitamins B3, B6, and taurine. It nourishes your body and lifts your mood!
This healthier alternative to bourbon is low-calorie, gluten-free, and vegan. It’s rich, complex, oaky, and smokey with notes of toffee, toasted almond, and brown sugar. It’s a delicious addition to cola or even a creamy cup of coffee.
Lyre’s sells a range of non-alcoholic spirits to give people the freedom to decide what celebrating looks like for them. Lyre’s American Malt is a tribute to and a substitute for bourbon that does not disappoint.
It’s a mellow spirit with notes of vanilla, toasted nuts, honey, and sweet spice. Like many other whiskey alternatives, it’s vegan-friendly, dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free, which makes it an excellent option for just about anybody.
Lyre’s also offers a Highland Malt to capture the spirit of a blended malt whiskey.
Monday Zero Alcohol Whiskey is hand-crafted in small batches in a Southern California distillery that also makes non-alcoholic gin and mezcal. This alcohol-free spirit contains no calories, carbs, gluten, or animal products.
What it does have is a complex blend of deep notes such as butterscotch, toasted brown sugar, raisin, warm molasses, and caramel.
It mixes 1:1 in cocktails like a Whiskey Sour or Manhattan and is also an excellent match with cola, ginger ale, or ginger beer.
Escape Wise Peanut Butter Whiskey brings a little something special to the table for anyone who enjoys peanut butter. The exciting part is that although this alcohol-free whiskey tastes of peanut butter and hazelnuts, it is completely nut free!
It is also smooth and delicious. This peanut butter whiskey works excellently as a dessert or as a mixer. Try it in a hot chocolate or with a raspberry simple syrup or non-alcoholic liqueur for peanut butter and jelly vibes.
Curious Elixir No. 5 might be cheating just a bit. It isn’t exactly a non-alcoholic whiskey, but it is a non-alcoholic whiskey cocktail that tastes just like an Old Fashioned with smoky flavors of cherry and chocolate.
This carefully crafted cocktail is infused with herbs and adaptogens for stress relief. So even without alcohol, there is a noticeable physical relaxation. The elixir is gluten-free, caffeine-free, refined sugar-free, and contains no preservatives, sulfates, or fillers.
Simply pour on the rocks and garnish with rosemary, cherry, or an orange peel. From your first sip, you’ll experience the sweet, smokey, luxurious beverage that even features a whiskey-like burn.
Seir Hills Mashville Non-Alcoholic Whiskey Alternative is a whiskey alternative that is made in small batches by hand and ideal for mixing with whiskey drinks. It has flavors of toasted oak, spiced apple juice, clove, and sweet corn. It has no calories, gluten, or common allergens.
Enjoy this one in a cup of cider on the porch when the weather gets cooler. It also goes well with ginger ale on a lazy summer day.
Drummerboy produces a range of non-alcoholic spirits, including gin, tequila, and vermouth. Drummerboy American Dark is a whiskey alternative featuring notes of vanilla and toasted nuts with a long mellow finish. You’ll also pick up on other flavors such as caramel, toffee, caramelized fig, and molasses.
This low-calorie, alcohol-free whiskey is great on the rocks or in cocktails like a Boulevardier, Mint Julep, or Vieux Carre.
Celtic Soul Non-Alcoholic Whiskey by Mindful Brands is a smooth, aromatic, and complex non-alcoholic whiskey modeled after Irish whiskey.
Mindful Brands started in 2020 with the mission of creating a way for adults to enjoy themselves and enjoy cocktails without alcohol. Their non-alcoholic whiskey is made from botanicals that have been distilled, macerated, and extracted.
Celtic Soul boasts a complex profile of sweet vanilla, spices, and oak wood.
How is Whiskey Made?
While variations can exist, the basic process of whiskey-making involves mashing grain like wheat or rye with water and yeast to create a base that is then fermented. Fermentation is what introduces the alcoholic content into the whiskey. From there, it is distilled, which raises the ABV from around 10% to 60% to 70% by the end of the distillation process.
After distillation, the whiskey is aged, losing some alcohol content. After aging, it’s filtered and bottled.
Non-alcoholic whiskey, on the other hand, is made from macerated botanicals. The process does involve some fermentation to bring out the alcoholic flavors. However, in the distillation process, it is possible to evaporate most of the alcohol, leaving a beverage that is alcohol-free or very low alcohol.
There are other methods of creating non-alcoholic whiskeys, and as the market grows, so do the techniques and approaches to crafting it.
The benefits of drinking non-alcoholic whiskey over traditional whiskey include:
- Low or no calorie
- Low or no carb
- Usually gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and nut-free
- Can be enjoyed anywhere at any time.
- Hydration rather than dehydration.
- It’s gentler on your stomach and other internal organs.
- Better sleep
American alcohol consumption has steadily fallen over the last several decades. However, along with the foodie movement, people are still curious about experimenting with mixology and cocktail craft.
While you can create mocktails or “virgin” equivalents without the complex taste or burn of alcohol, it doesn’t always feel as sophisticated or as special as it could.
While a non-alcoholic whiskey might never be the exact same as one containing alcohol, the best non-alcoholic whiskeys will get you close enough that you won’t even miss what you’re missing.