If you are looking to reduce or eliminate your alcohol intake entirely, making the switch to a non-alcoholic spirit is an easy way to do it. Seedlip and Ritual are two big names in the non-alcoholic spirit market, offering a diverse range of alcohol-free alternatives that do not compromise when it comes to flavour intensity and aromatics. Below, we break down what’s on offer from these two big brands so you know what to expect.
Unlike other producers of non-alcoholic drinks, Seedlip does not promote any of its offerings as direct substitutes for any particular spirit. However, the three signature products from the manufacturer are more in keeping with gin than anything else. This is due to the high-quality botanicals used in their recipes, as well as the distillation process that is utilised to produce each non-alcoholic spirit in the range. Read on for a breakdown of the three key spirits currently offered by Seedlip.
Seedlip Spice 94
Seedlip promotes Spice 94 as its aromatic option. Here you will find a complex blend of fragrant ingredients, including allspice berry, grapefruit peel, cardamom, lemon peel and two types of bark. The result is an intensely rewarding bouquet and palate that sets this non-alcoholic spirit apart from the competition. Warm and spicy notes are arguably the most obvious characteristics of this non-alcoholic spirit. The top notes are very lively and zesty thanks to the inclusion of lemon and grapefruit peel. You can also look forward to a long-lasting and bitter finish thanks to a high-grade combination of oak and Cascarilla barks. This is without doubt the most intense option from Seedlip and will hold its own alongside mixers and other spirits as part of a first-rate cocktail.
Seedlip Grove 42
If you prefer bold citrus flavours, Seedlip Grove 42 will no doubt prove a popular option. Grove 42 is zesty in character with plenty of complex citrus character. This quality non-alcoholic spirit is made with two varieties of orange, mandarin, lemon, lemongrass and ginger, resulting in an alcohol-free spirit that packs a real punch. The citrus peel provides you with pithy top notes on the nose, while the blood orange provides a sweet and juicy undertone. You will also note some grassy characteristics courtesy of the lemongrass, while a hit of ginger adds some essential warmth and subtle spice. Everything builds toward a refreshingly dry finish, while a lingering taste of peppercorn tingles on the tongue long after your last sip.
Seedlip Garden 108
If you like your more muted flavours and aromatics, Seedlip Garden 108 is worth considering. Seedlip promotes this offering as its herbal choice. This is a distinctly floral blend that utilises herb garden botanicals to deliver delicate fragrances and subtle flavours. Garden 108 is made with peas, hay, rosemary, thyme, hops and peppermint. Seedlip claim that Garden 108 epitomises the essence of the English countryside. Peas and hay dominate the top notes, delivering a subtle and sophisticated aroma. Things are far more complex when it comes to the base, however. Here, the spearmint, rosemary and thyme really shine through, combining for a truly unique palate unlike anything you are likely to have enjoyed before. This one is a more acquired taste than Spice 94 and Grove 42, but it is sure to find its fans.
How to Enjoy Seedlip
As with any non-alcoholic spirit, Seedlip is not intended to be consumed neat. The lack of any alcohol in the final product means you will not get any buzz from a pure shot of Seedlip. However, that is not the way Seedlip is intended to be consumed. Instead of reaching for the shot glass, you should be thinking about how Seedlip can be enjoyed as part of a more elaborate cocktail. Each of the three main Seedlip varieties have their own characteristics that make them better suited to some recipes than others. If you are looking for a fuss-free alternative to conventional gin for a G&T, you should definitely look to Spice 94 and Grove 42. The bold spices and warmth offered by Spice 94 ensures the non-alcoholic spirit will not get lost when combined with mixers and garnishes. Although not as punchy, Grove 42 is zesty enough that it will make itself known in all manner of gin-based cocktails. That being said, you may wish to take inspiration from the pre-existing orange botanicals and citrus flavours before you start thinking about mixers. Garden 108 is a little more difficult to utilise. It is a far more subdued non-alcoholic spirit and its ingredients are somewhat unconventional when compared to everyday gin. When mixing with Garden 108, stick to plain tonics and herbaceous garnishes.
To learn more about this brand, check out our Seedlip Guide here.
Unlike Seedlip, Ritual Zero Proof offers a far more accessible introduction to non-alcoholic spirits. While Seedlip has gone to great efforts to offer a diverse line-up of gin substitutes with varying character, Ritual instead keeps things simple with a trio of spirit alternatives. The Ritual Zero Proof range includes simple alternatives to whiskey, gin and tequila that, unlike the real thing, contain no alcohol whatsoever. Ritual have approached each spirit and looked to replicate the essence of each one. Read on for a breakdown of what to expect from each non-alcoholic offering in its range.
Ritual Zero Proof Gin
Ritual’s non-alcoholic gin goes to great lengths to replicate the familiar flavours of the spirit. Zero Proof Gin makes a great first impression with its top notes of juniper berries and cucumber. A diverse range of botanicals also make for a lively middle. All this undercut by fresh mint and basil notes at the bottom. If you are looking for a bright and lively alternative to regular gin, this Zero Proof substitute from Ritual should deliver. It is big on herbaceous character and floral fragrance, while a residual heat lingers on the tongue. If you are worried about missing the trademark burn of real gin, this lingering heat will be a welcome surprise. Ritual Zero Proof Gin holds its own against mixers. Provided you add enough of it, it will add a firm backbone to juice-based cocktails. It also goes beautifully with a touch of soda or tonic and citrus garnish.
Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey
If you are keen to move away from the botanical character of gin, you should definitely consider trying Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey. This whiskey substitute will immediately entice with aromas of American oak, candyfloss and sweet vanilla. These elements carry onto the palate as well, with a further hint of hemp and peppercorn to bring some essential warmth to the mouthfeel. Great care has gone into the production of this non-alcoholic whiskey to ensure the same tasting experience with every sip. You can expect the same great flavour of full-bodied whiskey with this Zero Proof alternative, while the signature burn of your favourite scotch is also present and accounted for. It will work well in cocktails like a classic Manhattan or Old Fashioned, although you will want to up your measures. A one-to-one measure is a good guideline for the amount of Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey you should be looking to add to your mixer of choice. When it comes to mixers, this alcohol-free whiskey works particularly well with orange-based beverages and bitters.
Ritual Zero Proof Tequila
Tequila-based drinks are great for getting the party started, but one too many can cause a serious hangover. Ritual Zero Proof Tequila offers a great alternative for those looking to enjoy the fiery heat of the popular spirit, only without the considerable alcohol content and hangover-inducing effects. Ritual Zero Proof Tequila has proved a popular choice with industry experts and rates as one of the best non-alcoholic spirits on the market. This alcohol-free spirit boasts a rich golden hue and welcomes you in with a familiar blue agave aroma. The flavour is also first-rate. Expect plenty of ripe tropical character, along with a more subtle line of black peppercorn and charred oak characteristics. There is also a distinct line of zesty lime here, helping this tequila alternative build toward a spicy finish. If you are looking to enjoy your favourite margarita cocktails at home without succumbing to a groggy head the next morning, this non-alcoholic tequila is the way to go.
Which is Better?
If you are a gin aficionado looking for a non-alcoholic alternative, you should definitely consider exploring Seedlip’s range of alcohol-free spirits. Spice 94 and Grove 42 will definitely appeal with their bold flavours and enticing aromas, with both serving as a good substitute for the real thing in gin-based cocktails. Garden 108 might take a little getting used to with its less conventional botanicals, but those who prefer more muted flavours will definitely find something to enjoy there.
However, if you are looking for a simpler alternative to regular gin, the Ritual Zero Proof range is probably your best bet. Ritual might only offer one gin substitute, but it is a remarkably refined option. Most of the hallmarks of an alcoholic gin are present, while the burn of alcohol has been painstakingly substituted with a warming mouthfeel that lingers on the tongue. You should have no trouble whipping up a non-alcoholic gin and tonic with a generous measure of this first class spirit alternative.