6 Best Non-Alcoholic Gins You Should Try
Non-alcoholic gin could be a healthier, low-calorie alternative to use as a substitute in your favorite cocktail. Try one of these bartender-recommended non-alcoholic gins.
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The rise of sphisticated alcohol substitutes
Everybody knows that too much alcohol is bad for your health.
But even if you’re only a social drinker, choosing to cut back on alcohol—or stop drinking it completely—can be a challenge.
Milestones like 21st birthdays, weddings, and celebratory dinners often come with the expectation that you’ll have a drink in your hand.
If you attempt a “Sober October” at the start of the holidays (as I did), you might end up wandering to the kids’ table for juice or a cup of water. But there’s change on the horizon.
The non-alcoholic drinks market is projected to continue growing 6 percent each year, according to market research company Statista.
With that comes a simultaneous shift away from sodas and sugary drinks, leaving room on the shelves for more sophisticated alcohol substitutes.
“I think recently there’s been a focus on enjoying the taste of alcohol without the actual alcohol,” says Amy Gorin, RDN, a registered dietitian and owner of Plant-Based Eats in Stamford, Connecticut.
“If you’re going to eat or drink something, it really helps to consume something quality so that you really enjoy it.”
Non-alcoholic spirits aren’t for everyone
Many alcohol-free spirits, including some of the gin alternatives in this list, have trace amounts of alcohol.
The beverage is also crafted to mimic the flavor of an alcoholic spirit.
If you’re a recovering alcoholic or currently struggling with alcohol abuse, the minuscule alcohol content, taste, and ritual of mixing could be unhealthy triggers.
Choosing whether to drink alcohol-like drinks is a personal decision, though it can be helpful to discuss with your doctor, therapist, or recovery group.
In addition to the mental health concerns of non-alcoholic spirits, Gorin notes that an alcohol-free mocktail can still be high in calories or sugar.
She recommends opting for low-sugar alternatives made with ingredients like those recommended below.
What makes a good non-alcoholic gin?
Juniper berry is the defining ingredient of all gin, including non-alcoholic alternatives. But apart from this key botanical, what makes gin taste like gin?
“You should be able to taste the juniper, spices, and citrus,” says Derek Brown, owner of Washington, D.C.’s award-winning Columbia Room and author of Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World.
He says texture, a light viscosity akin to alcohol, and piquancy, alcohol’s hallmark astringent burn, also matter.
“When it comes to gin, I’m looking for something herbal, floral, earthy, and borderline magical,” says Nicole Popkow, a veteran bartender who shares non-alcoholic mixology on social media as Tonix Mocktails.
Finding your favorite gin alternative
Fortunately for new teetotalers, there are many zero-proof gins available for purchase through Amazon, online alcohol-free marketplace Better Rhodes, or distillers’ own websites.
Here are the non-alcoholic gins recommended by Popkow, Brown, and Chris Marshall, owner of alcohol-free Sans Bar in Austin. Try them on the rocks or in your favorite mocktails.
Back when I tried dozens of alcohol-free spirits, Monday Gin easily landed near the top of the list.
It smells of juniper and cucumber, then rewards your tongue with a barely there burn that does a laudable job of matching alcohol’s piquancy.
“I had a few non-alcholic spirits before trying this one, and I was left a little disheartened. They seemed so watery,” Popkow says. “Monday changed the game.”
She thinks the slight viscosity gives it heft when mixed with a tonic, helping it hold its own in any gin-based mocktail.
Brown says Monday Gin is what a gin alternative should be. “It’s intense and a bit bitter, but that works well for cocktails.”
He recommends trying it in everything from a French 75 to a classic martini.
Lyre’s London Dry Spirit
Lyre’s London Dry is bitter and zesty, with a satisfying juniper punch. It also includes quinine, which gives it a distinct tonic flavor even when the liquid is sipped neat.
“[It] blew my mind when I first sipped it. They found a way to make it dry. Like, dry dry,” says Popkow.
She suggests buying this non-alcoholic gin if you enjoy yours on the rocks or in a dry martini. “This would be a gin drinker’s gin,” she says.
Indeed, the beverage feels perfectly crafted for a gin and tonic. That’s exactly how I enjoyed it during my Sober October last year.
Damrak Virgin 0.0
Smooth and citrusy, this zero-proof, easy-drinking gin is crafted to be an easy swap for those who already enjoy the qualities of Damrak‘s fully alcoholic gin.
And our experts’ reviews suggest that the substitute works.
“Damrak Virgin 0.0 [is] a little lighter and more citrus-forward, like their gin with alcohol,” Brown says.
Interestingly, Damrak Virgin does not include an alcoholic extraction process followed by alcohol removal. The spirit is alcohol-free from start to finish.
An herbal blend that includes ginger and cinnamon gives this zero-proof drink a strong bite at the finish.
Salcombe New London Light
Salcombe is a UK-based distilling company with two alcoholic gins to its name: the Rosé Sainte Marie, a dry pink gin, and Start Point, a smooth London Dry gin.
New London Light is the distillery’s newest—and first zero-proof—offering.
Marshall describes New London Light as “citrusy and bright on the nose, infamously smooth on the finish.”
He says it’s one of the few gin alternatives that offer a truly expansive, warm finish.
“[It] hits all the notes,” Brown agrees.
This gin alternative gets its kick from ginger and habanero, though over a dozen more botanicals are blended into the spirit.
According to Salcombe, the botanicals were specifically chosen to represent the 1800s trading routes that carried fruits and spices between England and the Americas.
“Sobrii is in a class all by itself,” Marshall says.
In the growing zero-proof gin space, Sobrii and New London Light take the cake, he says. Both brands include no sweeteners or artificial ingredients.
New London Light hails from England, of course, while Sobrii is crafted in small batches in Canada.
Take a whiff of Sobrii and you’ll be hit on the nose with juniper and spice. Pine and ginseng follow, while star anise and allspice bring it full circle on the first sip.
Like many non-alcoholic spirits, Sobrii is best mixed with tonic water.
Adding effervescence often lifts the zero-proof liquid, giving it some structure and oomph where the lack of alcohol is apparent (primarily in texture and piquancy).
Seedlip Garden 108
Marshall’s final favorite in the gin category isn’t marketed as a gin alternative at all. But he says it lands in the same flavor profile: “herbaceous and fresh.”
Seedlip Garden 108 is indeed herbaceous, marrying well with the flavors in a gin-basil gimlet or dill-cucumber gin fizz.
If you like your gin mocktails to taste like a veritable garden, Seedlip’s Garden 108 might be for you. The company website even suggests garnishing it with a sugar snap pea.
Seedlip’s herbaceous offering does not contain juniper, so it does not even attempt to mimic your favorite gin.
Instead, this zero-proof spirit could be a fun ingredient for experimenting with “garden smash” mocktail varieties.
How to make a zero-proof Gin Fizz at home
Popkow was a bartender for 16 years. She put down the booze for good in 2019 and has been mixing up mocktail mainstays and creative concoctions ever since.
She suggests experimenting with presentation and texture to make your sober (or sober-curious) journey more fun.
“Mixing up a fizz or a sour with a nice, frothy head is a great serving experience, and the mouthfeel is next level,” she says.
Here’s her recipe for an easy zero-proof gin fizz.
Non-Alcoholic Gin Fizz
2 oz. non-alcoholic gin of choice
1 oz. simple syrup
1 egg white
1 lemon for fresh lemon juice (to taste)
- Add everything but the ice and soda water into a cocktail shaker.
- Shake vigorously to allow the egg white to whip up.
- Add ice and shake again.
- Strain into a glass, top with soda water, and garnish (typically with a lemon wedge, slice, or peel). Enjoy!
Next, read my review on Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey.
- Derek Brown, owner of Columbia Room in Washington, D.C., and author of Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World
- Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Plant-Based Eats in Stamford, Connecticut
- Chris Marshall, founder and CEO of Sans Bar
- Nicole Popkow, mixologist, founder of Tonix Mocktails, and contributor to The Sober Curator
- Statista: "Non-Alcoholic Drinks"