The best non-alcoholic spirits to try in Dry January

Whether you’re trying out sobriety for charity, or diving into a New Year detox — these are the best non-alcoholic spirits on the market...

As if the dull, dreary days of winter weren’t going to be hard enough. All these dark nights and frosty spells would usually have us reaching for strong, stiff drinks by the glassful. Thankfully, though many of us have committed to 31 days of January sobriety, we’ve discovered some delectable, spirited substitutes for gin, rum, tequila — and even whisky. 

Because, for the last few years, boutique brands around the world have been cooking up alcohol-free alternatives to your favourite spirits — and they’ve been doing it by the barrel. So, whether you’re a gin aficionado, a vodka enthusiasts or a whisky devotee, there’s something out there to suit your singular tastes.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best bottles on the market. And the best part?  Drink as many drams and sink as many shots as you like — you’ll still wake up hangover-free. We’ll raise a glass to that.

The best gin alternative: Seedlip Spice 94

Founded by Ben Branson in 2015, Seedlip claims to offer the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit — an elegant, adult alternative to the “fruity, sickly-sweet mocktails” Branson found to be the only option for non-drinkers in bars and restaurants. The brand’s manifesto was, and remains, simple: to give those who don’t drink something to drink.

A complex blend of aromatic Jamaican allspice berry and cardamom distillates with two barks and a bright citrus finish, Seedlip Spice 94 is an aromatic, non-alcoholic spirit with warm spiced notes, citrusy top notes from lemon and grapefruit peel, and a long bitter finish. Simply serve with tonic and a red grapefruit peel garnish — you’ll never notice the difference.

The best rum alternative: Strykk ’Not Rum’

Looks like rum. Tastes like rum. It’s ‘Not Rum’ – the perfect non-alcoholic alternative for all your favourite rum-based drinks. The no-alcohol experts over at Strykk blend sweet sugar cane and raisin notes with the characteristic vanilla and oaky tones that help create a perfectly balanced spiced rum non-alcoholic spirit.

It’s 100% naturally made — with no fat, no carbs and no artificial flavours. So, if you’re still wanting to follow the siren call of the Mojito or the Mai Tai, you can do so safe in the knowledge that it won’t lead to a disastrous hangover. Dive in.

The best Scotch alternative: Feragaia

Feragaia (pronounced fer-a-guy-a) is Scotland’s first premium alcohol-free spirit. Okay, it’s not a replacement for whisky — but it’s got the hearty Scotch provenance that’s so important to whisky-drinkers. And the effects are similar; this spirit has a complex but clean taste and a thoroughly warming finish — best enjoyed over ice or with a light tonic.

Feragaia is also distilled, blended and bottled in the far reaches of the Scottish Lowlands, an area governed by centuries of spirit innovation. Amber in colour with a light smokiness also reminiscent of Scotch, it’s the ideal replacement dram for non-drinkers.

The best vodka alternative: Zeo Botanical Dry

Clean, crisp and fresh — it’s what every discerning drinker looks for in a choice vodka. Thankfully, we’ve found all of the above (with none of the fuzzy-headed effects) in Zeo Botanical Dry, a warming non-alcoholic offering in a handsome, golden bottle.

This spirit also shares similarities with gin, but we’re using it as our vodka alternative for one simple reason; its performance in cocktails. Because, while Zeo is formulated with nine natural botanicals, it still has the subtlety of a good vodka — taking a tangy backseat when you mix it into a Martini, a Screwdriver or even a White Russian.

The best spiced vodka alternative: CleanCo Clean V

If you’re looking for something a little more flavourful than Zeo, why not try Clean V? Expertly crafted by Spencer Matthew’s pioneering non-alcoholic spirits brand, CleanCo, this is a healthier, fresher spin on spiced apple vodka. 

Lip-smacking, mouth-watering — and with a touch of cinnamon for warmth, it’s the perfect spiced spirit alternative. What’s more, Clean V has no sugar, no sweeteners and is both lactose and gluten free. So why not buy a bottle and try your hand at mixing some potent, piquant non-alcoholic cocktails right away?

The best tequila alternative: Mockingbird Non Alcoholic “Tequila”

So confident is Mockingbird of its similarities to the Mexican spirit that it has brazenly slapped ‘Tequila’ on the label. And why not? Passionately produced with all-vegan ingredients — including Pure Ashwagandha, an ancient medicinal herb with multiple health benefits — it tastes almost identical to the real thing (without the wince-inducing punch of alcohol).

There are top notes of earthy blue weber agave, sweet vanilla and cinnamon — with a fiery, healthy hint of habanero for that true South American mouth feel. Shots never tasted so wholesome.

The best non-alcoholic spirits to try in Dry January

Mockingbird Non Alcoholic “Tequila”

£22.99

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The best aperitif alternative: New London Light ‘Aegean Sky’

Okay, it’s an ‘aperitif’ — but it’s more than deserving of its place on this low-alcohol list. Created by the team behind the delectable Salcombe Gin, ‘Aegean Sky’ is an evocatively-named tee-total tipple; inspired by the vibrant Mediterranean coast and overflowing with flavour.

Carefully crafted with six core botanicals — including kumquat, bergamot, olive and rosemary — this aperitif is steeped in a steeped in a neutral grain spirit and distilled in a rotary vacuum still. It’s a thoroughly modern method; and one that creates a highly concentrated flavour perfect for mixing with tonic or non-alcoholic sparkling wine.

The best non-alcoholic spirits to try in Dry January

New London Light ‘Aegean Sky’

£27.50

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The best alternative liqueur: Lyre's Non-Alcoholic Amaretti

Many, many years in the making, Australian brand Lyre’s boast an exquisite range of lovingly crafted, alcohol-free spirits. From Aperitif Rosso and American Malt to Coffee Originale and Spiced Cane Spirit — they’ve got it all. We must give an honorary mention to the bright green non-alcoholic Absinthe; a triumph of taste and colour.

But, for a failsafe wintry tipple, this Amaretto alternative is lip-smackingly perfect. Perfect for those who want to enjoy the nutty, bitter and tangy profile of the classic liqueur with none of the alcoholic content, it’ll pep up cocktails from an Amaretto Sour to an Alabama Slammer.

The best non-alcoholic spirits to try in Dry January

Lyre's Non-Alcoholic Amaretti

£19.95

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The best all-round alternative: Caleño Light & Zesty

Frustrated by the lack of alcohol-free alternatives when she headed out dancing, Caleño founder Ellie Webb took her inspiration from Colombia — her family’s South American heartland — to create this intriguing spirit of fruit and spice flavours.

Unlike many of the other drinks in this category, it’s nothing like gin. Although it is blended with juniper, other flavours come through more strongly — cardamom, lemon, and Inca berries. It’s got a charming, unique flavour which isn’t too sweet — and genuinely refreshing. So, if you’re not looking to recreate a specific spirit, this is bold choice for bold drinkers.

The best non-alcoholic spirits to try in Dry January

Caleño Light & Zesty

£18.00

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The best low-alcohol alternative: Atopia

And, finally, because there are some flavours that can only be produced using a traditional alcoholic distillation process, we’ve got a low-alcohol option. If you’re not planning on going 100% teetotal, and simply want to cut down your intake this month, Atopia offers an ideal low-alcohol alternative to stash in your drinks cabinet.

At 0.5% ABV, an ‘Atopia & Tonic’ contains 75-times-less alcohol than a standard G&T, while delivering the familiar botanical taste and bitter finish of the traditional spirit. Created by William Grant & Sons’ master blender, Lesley Gracie, Atopia is available in Wild Blossom and Spiced Citrus variations, providing great alternatives with which to create a range of non-alcoholic drinks. Cheers!

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