Non alcoholic gin, along with other non alcoholic drinks is such an interesting subject. The number of people choosing a teetotal lifestyle is growing steadily. The current generation of 18 to 24 year-olds is opting more and more to abstain from drinking alcohol as they follow a cleaner diet and a healthier lifestyle. Seasoned drinkers are also changing their habits by regularly taking part in temporary alcohol-free periods, such as the increasingly popular Dry January.
Cutting out an aperitif used to mean that you only had the choice of drinking orange juice, sodas or plain old sparkling water, but that is all changing. Manufacturers are seeing an opportunity to create adult soft drinks that can be savoured on a night out. Low-alcohol beer, virgin cocktails and non-alcoholic wine are widely available in a variety of venues, and the quality is improving rapidly. In fact, fighting for the best non-alcoholic spirits top spot, is proving to be a profitable venture for so many.
Companies like Seedlip, or Stryyk (with their not gin brand) are doing fantastically in the zero proof gin market – and taste amazing with not just savoury cocktails but also the classics like a Campari or a spiced Citrus drink. It goes well with vermouth and with such popularity, the big super markets like Waitrose, Sainsburys and even Ocado are well stocked with alcohol free gin.
With gin becoming the alcoholic drink of the moment with an ever-expanding choice of flavours being offered, innovative beverage producers are successfully satisfying both trends at once by delivering an exciting range of alcohol-free gin. Whether you are looking for a strong botanical taste, a fruity pink gin alternative or a luxurious alcohol-free drink to enjoy on a special night out, there is something out there for you.
10 Best Non Alcoholic Gin Options In The UK | 2020
There’s a delicate mix of flavours with Sir James 101 gin and tonic, and these flavours have been balanced well to create an interesting and refreshing beverage. Notes of natural juniper give this beverage that distinct taste of gin and it comes through clearly here. When the bottle is first opened, the pleasant aroma is just like a regular gin and tonic. Fresh and light in the mouth, there is a delicate bubble that is very enjoyable and seems to be just right. A slight hint of lime and the botanical spiced flavours provide this alcohol-free gin with a rounded taste. Sir James 101 Gin and Tonic surprises those drinkers who try it because it just doesn’t taste like an alcohol-free beverage. Thanks to the authentic aroma, true juniper taste and a pleasant fizz, you will believe you’re drinking the alcoholic version. It’s the perfect choice for anyone who wants to enjoy their favourite tipple while cutting back on the booze.
Sir James 101 is totally free from alcohol at 0.0% ABV. Each mini bottle holds 250ml which provides the perfect serving of alternative g&t. This drink has been produced to be consumed without adding any mixers – it is ready to go so an ideal option for an outdoor lunch or booze-free barbecue. At 38 kCal per 100 ml, there are 95 calories in each bottle so it’s not going to break the diet. A case holds 12 easy-to-open glass bottles and is fairly inexpensive for a low-alcohol spirit drink.
Vegan, sugar free and non-alcoholic, the Siegfried Wonderleaf is a wholesome and guilt-free beverage. The original version – the Siegfreid Rheinland Dry Gin – won a string of awards and remains hugely popular. The producers added an alcohol-free option that offers a similarly high standard of beverage to wow teetotalers. The Wonderleaf has citrus flavours and juniper notes combined with herbs and spices. No fewer than eighteen botanicals give this beverage its full flavour – with thyme, ginger, lavender and bitter orange blending to produce a delightful mix, it’s interesting and has depth. An authentic distillation method is used in the production of Wonderleaf that ensures the flavours are natural and clear. The result is not an exact gin replica, but a grown-up drink that reminds you of gin. It hits the right spot if gin is your spirit of choice but you are looking for an alcohol-free alternative. Wonderleaf can be mixed with tonic and it can be used as a non-alcoholic cocktail base too. At 0.0% ABV, it’s completely alcohol free, and with just 2 kCal per 100 ml it is a very low-calorie option.
The attractive squat bottle holds 0.5 litre of alternative gin and is a mid-range non-alcoholic gin. It’s not designed to be consumed straight and requires a mixer to be added to make a long drink.
This alternative to gin is distilled using classic and rare botanicals from South Africa. Buchu, a plant native to South Africa, adds flavour to the beverage along with rooibos, also found in the region. The leaves of a rooibos plant are also used in tea. The founders of Ceder’s come from South Africa and Sweden, and their alt-gin combines both of these cultures. With the botanicals hailing from Western Cape, and the clear waters of Sweden being used in the production, there’s a successful mix of continents in each bottle. There are 3 alt-gins offered in the Ceder’s range, the Classic, the Wild and this Crisp version. Ceder’s Crisp has flavours of cucumber, juniper and camomile that subtly come through. It requires a tonic mixer, it’s not designed to be consumed straight. Adding a slice of lemon or cucumber enhances the flavours which are just right for a warm summer’s day.
The taste is quite subtle with Ceder’s Crisp, there’s just a reminder of a gin taste without a strong juniper flavour. It’s ideal for someone cutting back on their alcohol intake and searching for something along the lines of a g & t, but not an exact replacement. It’s the kind of beverage that you can happily drink all evening without getting bored of the flavour. With 0.5% Vol, there is a tiny amount of booze in the drink so it’s actually a low-alcohol beverage and not alcohol-free. Ceder’s Crisp is also low on calories with just 6 kCal per 100ml.
Inspired by the lively colours and music of Colombia, Caleño is a tropical infusion that combines juniper, spice botanicals and citrus. Distilled using steam and steel drums, there is something different about this alternative gin. It’s sophisticated and not as sweet as other non-alcoholic beverages, so drinkers are happy to enjoy this all evening without feeling like they’ve been overloaded with sugar. It cannot be easily mistaken for gin, but the juniper notes give it a familiar taste that gin lovers appreciate. Cardamom and Inca berries provide a slight fruitiness, and served with soda water, it makes a satisfying long drink. Tonic can be added but it can also alter the taste, so a less overpowering mixer is recommended. Caleño has a high quality feel about it, ideal for those who like to spoil themselves. The brightly coloured label ensures it gets noticed on the shelf, it’s a hard one to miss.
With 0.00% Vol, it is a true non-alcoholic gin alternative. The calories are around 10 per 100ml so this drink won’t add inches to the waistline.
With its striking bottle and a burst of lime peel in the flavouring, FLUÈRE really stands out from the other gin alternatives. It has a bright taste and is full of unique character thanks to the juniper, coriander and lavender combination. Using a hydro steam distillation process, the botanicals, spices and fruit oils are extracted individually in a copper pot. This authentic style of production gives this drink an exciting and complex flavour and a distinct after-taste. The name FLUÈRE is Latin and means ‘flow’, referring to a positive feeling of being in the moment. The drink manages to strike a perfect balance by offering a drink that isn’t too sweet or overpowered with botanicals. The floral taste of juniper that is off-putting for some people is subtle in FLUÈRE and as such will appeal to a wider range of drinkers. This beverage can be used in a range of mocktails or it can be served with a mixer to create long, chilled drinks.
FLUÈRE has a trace of alcohol. At 0.1% Vol it is an extremely low alcohol drink with a barely measurable quantity in each serving. The distinctive swirling bottle holds 70 cl and is priced well.
Made in the south-west of England, this marine-based non-alcoholic beverage will appeal to gin lovers. Along with juniper, which provides the familiar gin aroma and flavour, other coastal botanicals have been added to create a unique and grown-up taste. Sea kelp, cardamom, cucumber, angelica and grapefruit are all blended, and the result has depth and makes for a satisfying tipple. It’s a combination that captures everything that’s great about Devon and the British seaside. Sea Arch doesn’t pretend to be a gin, it doesn’t taste like this alcoholic spirit, but instead it’s been produced to appeal to those who are seeking that kind of flavour. It’s an impressive alternative, not an imitation. Designed to be mixed with tonic water, it can be a base for virgin cocktails as well.
Sea Arch is vegan friendly, free from sugar and has been produced gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy this drink. The calories are almost non-existent at less than 10 kCal per 100ml. Produced ethically, no single-use plastic is used in the packaging and the sea-foam coloured bottles are tinted with solvent-free paint. The manufacturing team have thought carefully about every aspect of their product.
There are two Xachoh (pronounced Za-Ko) alcohol-free spirits out there; No. 7 and No. 5 and both have been crafted to excite the taste buds. The No. 5 version is a clear beverage with a complex and deep flavour. The authentic distillation process includes herbs and premium spices that have been selected from along the Silk Route. Star Anise forms the base of the flavours, so if you’re not a fan of this spice, it may not be to your liking. This beverage is turning heads in the market place, it was a finalist in the 2019 World Food Innovation Awards. There’s an exciting blend of ginger, turmeric, rosemary and barberry notes that are balanced and surprisingly light on the tongue. The producers suggest trying Xachoh straight on the rocks, drinking it like you would a liqueur, but it also makes a great long drink when mixed tonic or soda water. There is an exoticness about this beverage – it isn’t a gin replica but a satisfying non-alcoholic spirit for drinkers who are looking for a gin-like flavour. Xachoh No. 5 is free from sugar and sweetener and claims to have no calories or carbohydrates so it’s perfect for anyone watching their weight. It’s also plant-based so is vegan friendly and gluten free.
The bottle features a Huma Bird – this bird is always in the air and never lands, according to the stories. To see a Huma Bird brings good fortune and happiness, or so the tale goes. This symbol captures the inspiration behind Xachoh spirits. Printed in 24-carat gold, the brand’s logo Huma Bird gives the bottle a touch of pure luxury and would make a great gift for a tee-total friend.
Bright, sweet and a great alternative to pink gin, Ginsin Strawberry adds some non-alcoholic fun to summer afternoons. Mix it with tonic water, ice and a whole strawberry and you have a cool, tall drink that is more grown-up than cola or lemonade. Strawberry and citrus flavours come through in a refreshing combination, and the botanical blend lends notes of a gin-based drink. This drink is less complex than others on the market but is pleasant and refreshing all the same.
This budget-friendly gin alternative is considerably cheaper than all of the other non-alcoholic gins looked at. The bottle is a simple screw-top so it’s a functional purchase rather than one driven by luxury. It’s ideal if you’re catering for a party where many people are driving or cutting down on their alcohol consumption. It is 0% Vol and has a high number of calories – at 42kCal per 100 ml it is the most calorific of the beverages compared. The calories come from the sugar content, and it might become too sweet if consumed all evening but it’s just right for one or two servings.
Lyre’s London Dry Spirit is the perfect option for drinkers looking to make the switch to a non-alcoholic gin. Lyre’s London Dry goes to great lengths to recreate the classic character of a conventional gin, with bold flavours and aromatics that are distinct and full-bodied. An enticing bouquet of orange blossom, lime and jasmine invite you in, while juniper and fresh mint are also present. You can expect firm flavours here. Gin staples like juniper and citrus peel are bold and upfront, making Lyre’s London Dry a very familiar experience for the more discerning gin drinker. You can expect earthier notes on the mid-plate, with plenty of vinous personality. Although Lyre’s London Dry Spirit lacks an alcoholic bite, there is still a generous layer of warmth here, with a peppery bite that makes an ideal substitute for the burn of alcohol. This complex palate builds toward a very generous, dry finish for maximum satisfaction.
Lyre’s London Dry Spirit can be used in lieu of alcoholic gin in all manner of cocktail recipes. For best results, keep things simple and reach for a bottle when preparing a non-alcoholic Gin and Tonic. Simply combine a measure of this alcohol-free gin with a premium tonic water of your choice, then garnish with a slither of citrus peel or slice of grapefruit. A sprig of rosemary will also enhance the intense aromatics already present here. You can also combine with other non-alcoholic options from the Lyre’s range. London Dry Spirit goes beautifully with Lyre’s Italian Orange to produce a premium Pink Gin Fizz.
To learn more, check out our longer review on Lyre’s Gin.
If you are looking for a non-alcoholic alternative to regular gin, Seedlip has plenty of options to consider. This premium producer of non-alcoholic gin offers three distinct varieties of alcohol-free spirit for you to enjoy as part of classic cocktail recipes. If you prefer your gin with spicier character and more intense aromatics, Seedlip Spice 94 is definitely the way to go. This complex blend boasts a warm and spicy punch, with sharp citrus top notes and a long finish with a bitter edge. Unlike some non-alcoholic gins on the market that are a bit lacklustre when it comes to flavour and fragrance, Spice 94 does not disappoint.
Another option to consider is Garden 108. This is a more muted, herbaceous affair. Garden 108 is incredibly clean on the palate, with plenty of fresh notes courtesy of peas and herb garden distillates. This is more pared-back than other options from Seedlip, so it does not pack as much of a punch in a cocktail. As such, you will want to be careful when it comes to combining with mixers to ensure you do not cloud the herby character of this quality gin substitute. Finally, there is Seedlip Grove 42. This is more characteristic of conventional gin. Grove 42 offers plenty of zesty character and flavours and aromatics driven by citrus ingredients. No less than three varieties of orange have been used in the recipe, making it a good choice of drink for lazy summer days. You will also recognise distinct notes of ginger and lemongrass, bringing so much needed warmth and spiciness to proceedings.
To read our longer version of the Seedlip Review, click here.
Alcohol Free Gin FAQs
How is non-alcoholic gin made?
When it comes to producing non-alcoholic gin, many of the same botanical ingredients are used and similar techniques are implemented in the production process. Just as with conventional gin, the non-alcoholic variety utilises a cherry-picked selection of botanicals that boast big flavours and aromatics. Generally speaking, juniper forms the base of any gin, alcoholic or not. However, other ingredients are commonly used. Cinnamon and cloves are regularly used for their spiciness and warming qualities. More subtle ingredients like coriander and rosemary may be also be used, bringing a more nuanced flavour and gentler fragrances to the finished product. Citrus peel is another staple ingredient for alcoholic and non-alcoholic gins alike.
The actual distillation process sets apart non-alcoholic gin from its alcoholic counterpart. In the case of regular gin, neutral alcohol is used as a base. In the case of non-alcoholic gin, a base of water is used to substitute for the alcohol. This water is gently heated in a copper pot, otherwise known as an alambique. Within this pot is a mesh basket of sorts. This is what contains the chosen botanical ingredients that make up the gin itself. As the water is slowly heated, it evaporates and turns to vapour. This rising vapour is what extracts the desired flavours from the botanical ingredients. The water vapour, now enriched with the flavours of the botanicals, eventually condenses into the finished product. The condensed liquid is then collected and bottled for you to enjoy.
What does non-alcoholic gin taste like?
Non-alcoholic gin is somewhat similar in flavour profile to conventional gin. The botanical make-up of non-alcoholic gin recipes will yield a similar flavour with many of the hallmarks of regular gin, but this will ultimately depend on the botanicals that have been included in the overall recipe. If you are very particular about your gin flavours, it is best to pick a non-alcoholic variety that includes signature ingredients like juniper, cloves and citrus peel. Although the finished product is likely to be more muted than its alcoholic counterpart, these traditional gin flavours will provide you with a more familiar tastes and aromas. The lack of alcohol will obviously affect the overall flavour of non-alcoholic gin. Pure alcohol carries with it a distinct bite and slight burning sensation that may gin drinkers appreciate. Non-alcoholic gins lack this characteristic entirely, producing a smoother and far subtler mouthfeel.
Alcoholic gin is rarely enjoyed neat, but many people choose to drink it with simple mixers and limited ingredients. If you are someone who enjoys gin with a pared-back approach, non-alcoholic may disappoint. If you require a slight buzz, non-alcoholic gin will also fall short of the mark. However, if you only use gin to enhance cocktails, a non-alcoholic alternative is less distinguishable from the real thing. Provided you are using a quality mixer and high-grade garnishes, non-alcoholic gin makes a suitable alternative to the real thing in G&T cocktails. Non-alcoholic gin is also a good option for use in low-alcoholic cocktails when combined with other spirits. You will still get the same fragrant botanical character, even if it is slightly diminished in intensity.
Why is non-alcoholic gin so expensive?
Some producers of non-alcoholic gin play around with the distillation process. Some producers, such as Seedlip, choose to prepare botanical ingredients individually before blending them together to produce a drinkable non-alcoholic gin alternative. This is of course time-consuming and more costly for the producer, with the premium passed on to the consumer.
Many producers also look to higher quality ingredients to produce non-alcoholic gin to deliver a better taste and more intense aromas. This once again means more cost for the manufacturer, with the increased price of ingredients resulting in a higher price tag come retail.