Non-Alcoholic Spirits for Gin Lovers - 5 of the best
If you love your G&T and have been looking for a non-alcoholic gin substitute or you're keen to do distillates without the % – hello.
Non-alcoholic spirits aren't the lame cousin of the real thing. In the last couple of years, you may have noticed a surge in top-notch, distilled non-alcoholic spirits. I'm talking seriously complex alcohol-free alternatives that can be brought to life simply with tonic water and ice or made into a classic gin-style martini - perfect for after-work drinks, a weekend winddown or just because.
The craft that’s gone into these sexy new entries to the world of distilled spirits is very sophisticated, these drinks are rivalling their alcoholic originals. Each one I've tasted has a depth of flavour ranging a dry palate of Citrus & Juniper, Marmalade Orange with hints of warm Ginger and even Australian natives and herbs.
It is no surprise you might not know which one to try first, so I have gone ahead and shaken, stirred, and tested the best non-alcoholic spirits for you - you can thank me later.
Brunswick Aces are a traditional Australian Gin manufacturer from the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick so they really know what they are doing when it comes to the distilling process. They have 2 non-alcoholic drinks in their portfolio - Hearts and Spades which they group under a category they call these a "Sapiir" which is an alluring name for this whole non-alc spirit-like category if you ask me!
Brunswick Aces uses century-old distilling techniques and while both of their Sapiir's are noteworthy I've taken a special liking to their Spades as the best version of a non-alcoholic Gin-like drink. It has notes of green cardamom and parsley, which is beautifully balanced by sweet citrus and native Australian Lemon Myrtle.
Another terrific Aussie company making the world of trading up to the non-alcoholic version of your favourite drink fun and easy. Lyre's gets its name from our Australian Lyrebird, the world’s greatest mimic which is also how I would describe their Dry London. This is the most versatile alcohol-free spirits and can be used to create all sorts of fancy drinks like a Dry Martini or Tom Collins. As a replacement for Gin though, this captures all the aromatic characteristics of a juniper-forward classic London dry gin with distinct citrus notes. Just add Ice, tonic water and a slice of lime.
From the UK, Seedlip created the first non-alcoholic spirit in the world. Their founder Ben Branson set out to solve the problem of "what to drink when you're not drinking" (now part of the brands' official trademark). He got the idea from an old book of herbal remedies from 1641 called 'The Art of Distillation'. Seedlip was recently acquired by Diageo, the owners of brands like Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, etc which gives me a tonne of confidence that non-alc is the drink of the future.
Their Grove 42 is my favourite pick of the three Seedlip varieties. Apart from being 100% guilt-free (their whole range has no added sugar, no calories and no alcohol), this has a delicious adult zesty flavour from of three types of oranges: Marmalade oranges which bring a tart flavour, Blood Oranges which add raspberry & strawberry characters and sweet Mandarins. These are distilled with Lemongrass and ginger which provide the perfect balance. Add 50mls over ice in a tall glass topped with tonic water, you can also find all of the official Seedlip Grove 42 recipes here.
I had the pleasure of visiting the ALTD Spirits distillery in Sydney because they are not too far from me. It was a blistering hot day but sipping their Green Grocer in a glass filled with ice and topped with soda water was super refreshing and perhaps it was the aroma (or the heat) but I did need to double-check with the founder Tim Triggs that this was in fact alcohol-free.
I love that this range uses only native Australian ingredients like Lemon Myrtle, Tasmanian Pepperberry, Native Thyme, Organic Sandalwood & Iron Bark all created using traditionally copper distillers without the use of any alcohol at all.
There are 3 flavours in the range, and while the Silver Princess is my favourite, the greengrocer makes the best altd version of G&T!