12 Alcohol-Free Liquors You Need To Try

For a sober person, one of the only things worse than being the only unintoxicated one in a room full of drunk people is the mediocre mocktail options. If you're lucky, sympathetic friends will provide a Diet Coke or warm ginger ale in a red Solo cup to make you feel included. Sometimes, helpful bartenders will make virgin renditions of cocktails like a rum-less Mojito or a Moscow Mule without the Moscow.

As a bartender, it can be easy to resort to juice-based mocktails that are heavy on sugar and light on complexity. However, thanks to the rise in the acceptance of sober-curious lifestyles over the years, low-ABV cocktails are being treated with the same care and complexity as their craft cocktail counterparts. It's the end of the mocktail and the beginning of the craft zero-proof cocktail, thanks in part to the rise in zero-proof liquor options.

What's astounding about some of these alcohol-free liquors is that they possess a lot of the same smells, characteristics, and even tasting notes as the real thing — minus the spins. As a disclaimer, some of these options may not be suited for those with a history of substance abuse as their similarity to actual liquor could be triggering. Also, some of these non-alcoholic options are best enjoyed with mixers and not neat from the bottle. The good thing is, with so many options to choose from, you can easily try them all without worrying about a nasty hangover the next day.

1. Bare Zero Proof

Bare Zero Proof spirits strip away everything we know about modern cocktail making. In essence, they take the purest flavors and aromas from your favorite bar cart liquor bottles and make them available for every sober lifestyle without sacrificing their iconic tasting notes. Bare Zero Proof is not only the go-to choice for at-home mixologist-wannabes but also for bartenders — it's the first non-alcoholic spirit to partner with the United States Bartender's Guild.

Bare Zero Proof sticks to the cocktail-making classics by offering a non-alcoholic gin, bourbon whiskey, and reposado-style tequila. Each liquor hones in on iconic smells and flavors like the notes of juniper, cucumber, and rose in gin; maple and caramel in bourbon; and agave plus that strange heartburn flavor in tequila. They are perfectly mixable for the always stylish gin and tonic, old-fashioned, or margarita, but also versatile enough for whatever delicious or suspicious cocktail combinations you dream up in the middle of the night.

2. Spiritless

It's hard to find a good bourbon, let alone a good-tasting non-alcoholic bourbon. When taking the gamble on a bottle, you just hope for something that has a good balance of flavor and smoothness that will make the next day's heartburn worth the trouble. That being said, drinking Spiritless doesn't mean missing out on a full-bodied drinking experience.

Spiritless zero-proof liquors include a distilled Kentucky bourbon, which was a gold medal winner at the 2021 L.A. Spirit Awards, and a Jalisco tequila. Each liquor is gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, low-calorie, and created by a women-owned company. Both liquors are distilled like most alcoholic spirits but implement a unique reverse distillation process that maintains the spirit's aging properties without the alcohol byproduct. The reposado-style tequila doesn't have that same burning aftertaste that most tequilas tend to possess but has hints of agave, citrus, cinnamon, oakiness, and pepper. Quickly aged with oak by thermal extraction, the bourbon takes on intense but familiar maple notes with plenty of light peat, caramel, and vanilla flavors.

Spiritless Kentucky 74 has all the warm notes that you would expect but lacks much of the body and complexity found in its alcoholic counterparts. That being said, it's like comparing an Impossible burger to a beef burger and asking why they don't taste the same. Spiritless' zero-proof bourbon does a good job at evoking the bourbon experience without tasting exactly like the real stuff.

3. Lyre's

Lyre's is the special exception where the bottle and label are just as exquisite as the zero-proof libations inside. Not only do they make an exceptional focal point on any bar cart but they also help spark an interest in trying different cocktails with a wide array of zero-proof liquors and liqueurs. Lyre's not only includes a line of alcohol-free gin, vodka, rum, whiskey, tequila, and spiced rum alternatives, but it also has alcohol-free versions of triple sec, amaretti, absinthe, apéritifs, and coffee liqueur.

You don't have to shop around to build the ideal and well-balanced spiritless libation. The Buyer sought to taste a wide range of Lyre's products to see which ones were worth the almost $40-a-bottle price tag. In the end, they discovered that the true game changers here were the Italian orange liqueur and the spiced rum alternative, explaining that their intense flavors were almost identical to alcohol-fueled competitors. Not every bottle can be a winner but at least Lyre's gives sober-curious drinkers the tools to further their cocktail science experiments.

4. Monday

Nothing screams Monday more than cracking open a bottle of alcoholic or zero-proof liquor to take the edge off. Monday's line of zero-proof liquors are not only calorie conscious, with no added sugar, but gluten-free and vegan, making sure that everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions, feels included in the cocktail fun. Monday's award-winning liquors, like its whiskey and mezcal alternatives, are produced and distilled in small batches, but the real jewel on Monday's crown is its zero-proof gin.

Made in small batches in a Southern California distillery, Monday's alcohol-free gin has all the major characteristics and complexities of a regular gin including lemon, grapefruit, coriander, and juniper berries. Other alcohol-free gins like Tanqueray 0.0% give Monday some stiff competition, but it holds its own as a gin doppelgänger. A review in Sip Yours praised this booze-less booze not only for its "Great Gatsby-" adjacent packaging but also for its intense aromas of juniper and botanicals. They concluded by unofficially awarding it as one of the best and most authentic non-alcoholic gins on the market, making it your next right-hand zero-proof gin for endless Monday night (or day) gin and tonics.

5. Aplós

Drinking alcohol can always feel fun in the moment until you start to feel like your entire world is stuck inside a revolving door and death is more palatable than the most ungodly of hangovers. Of course, most alcohol-free liquors are more like liquor-flavored water and purposely don't claim to give you euphoric feelings. Aplós is unlike any other liquor alternative on this list. It's branded as a unique hemp-infused zero-proof spirit that soothes the soul and eases the mind without that awful next-day feeling.

Even though it won't get you stoned, its ad copy does mention that the hemp extract could have beneficial effects on your mental state, potentially allowing for a relaxed energy to wash over you within 15 to 30 minutes of drinking. Plus, there is no burnt cannabis aftertaste like in a poorly made edible — instead, you get flavors like yuzu, cucumber, citrus, basil, rosemary, and delicate flowers.

The Zero Proof taste-tested this dank libation, noting that its appearance was even psychedelic — like a peachy, bleach-stained, lava lamp. When enjoyed neat or on the rocks, they explained that the smell and taste were slightly jarring, with a noticeable weed smell and taste that was similar to the cannabis-like characteristics of a West Coast hoppy IPA with lots of sweet citrus notes. However, mixing it with tonic and lime balanced its flavors well, making Aplós a calming yet delicious nightcap for the sober-curious drinker, experimental mixologist, or hipster stoner.

6. Seedlip

When asked to name a popular zero-proof liquor brand, even if you haven't tried it, Seedlip would come to most people's minds. There's a reason why Seedlip, the first and original distilled alcohol-free liquor brand, has become so synonymous with the rising popularity of zero-proof spirits. Firstly, Seedlip's liquor bottles are gorgeous — they look like vintage tea cups with whimsical artwork straight out of a fantasy book. There are three liquor options — Spice 94 with grapefruit, oak, and cardamom extracts; Garden 108 with hints of rosemary, hops, and thyme; and Grove 42 with notes of orange, ginger, and lemongrass.

No one bottle is necessarily supposed to emulate a certain type of pre-existing spirit, which is why this brand is such a unique and refreshing presence in the distilling world. Fans seem to agree as well — one Reddit commenter found that Seedlip was the best zero-proof liquor brand out there thanks to its herbal taste that's somewhat similar to actual alcohol without that heavy syrupiness seen in some mocktails.

In a review from Thrillist, it was concluded that each Seedlip libation had so many complex and concentrated layers that it was almost better to drink alongside tonic, soda water, or other light mixers to enhance the liquor's flavors rather than drinking it straight. It's a spirit that doesn't leave you craving and yearning for the "real thing" and takes as much pride in its creation and distillation as even the largest of liquor conglomerates.

7. Three Spirit

Typically, a good libation is enjoyed best at nighttime or at brunch. However, Three Spirit is a zero-proof spirit brand that can be enjoyed at any time of day, making it a perfect drink pairing for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. No, it's not your typical mimosa or Irish coffee but rather a unique set of three different spirits that are functional, not to mention vegan, gluten-free, and sustainably sourced.

Each spirit — The Social Elixir, Livener, and Nightcap — is meant to not only tell a flavor story but also to enhance certain feelings of relaxation and vibrancy. Livener, made with the Siberian schisandra berry, is meant to balance and energize the body, while the cacao-based Social Elixir can help uplift spirits and act as the ultimate social wingman at every party. The final, Nightcap, is made with valerian, a traditional alternative to your bedside table melatonin that helps to naturally wind down the body after a long day of non-alcoholic day drinking.

However, it's easy to be skeptical of some of the hefty and therapeutic claims that Three Spirit stands behind. Meal Finds took a deep dive into these zero-proof beverages and discovered that the mood-altering feelings with each drink were not guaranteed depending on the person. While they personally found the effects of the Social Elixir and Nightcap to not be profound, the Livener had an eye-opening kick that was more complex and unique than the average cup of coffee.

8. Ritual Zero Proof

Ritual Zero Proof ensures that zero-proof booze will become more than just a fad purchase gathering dust in the back of your liquor cabinet but instead a part of your everyday routine. Not only does it pride itself on natural and non-GMO ingredients in every bottle but each liquor style is also gluten-free, made in a nut-free facility, and calorie and sugar conscious. Ritual Zero Proof covers all the bases needed for a well-rounded bar with rum, whiskey, gin, and tequila alternatives.

Each spirit possesses all the identifiable and heart-warming flavors found in traditional alcoholic liquors, making some second-guess if it's actually the real thing. A review in The Zero Proof specifically found that its tequila alternative was hitting all the right notes without the Jose Cuervo after-burn. With sweet notes in the beginning followed by spicy bell pepper essences, it rounds itself out with a woody finish that still has that same heart-burning flavor we never really miss with tequila. That being said, Ritual Zero Proof liquors have a reliable sense of self that makes them dependable and versatile for every sober or sober-curious bar.

9. Wilderton Botanical Spirit

Wilderton Botanical Spirit connects you with the purest ingredients nature has to offer. Drinking this libation won't turn you into the crunchy gal or guy of your one-with-nature dreams but it will allow you to have a greater appreciation for the finer botanicals life has to offer. Lustre is Wilderton's most traditional gin substitute that comes with hints of orange and lavender, while Earthen is the darker and more full-bodied botanical alternative ripe with peppercorn and pine-smoked tea.

Its newest Bittersweet Aperitivo is a complex spirit that was praised by The New York Times as a perfect addition to modern cocktail hours. The essences of grapefruit, orange blossom, and fresh herbs make this a sharp yet sweet pick for a non-alcoholic Aperol spritz or Campari substitute for a highly dimensional Negroni. Drink Hacker found that both the Lustre and Earthen liquors were not concentrated enough to withstand heavy mixers, nor were they subtle enough to be enjoyed by themselves. However, when paired with a light yet complimentary mixer like a floral tonic or freshly muddled fruit, Wilderton's alcohol-free options are the perfect way to get in touch with new wild and adventurous drinking concoctions.

10. Bax Botanics

Bax Botanics' selection of alcohol-free spirits is something out of a fairy tale, something you would imagine impossibly chic woodland fairies drinking in a tea cup alongside biscuits. Each spirit is handcrafted with organic and fair-trade ingredients that are made with nature and a healthier environment in mind.

Its evening nightcap, Sea Buckthorn, is the warming alternative to citrus-heavy botanical liquors with essences of bold sea buckthorn berries, rosemary, and thyme. On the other hand, the Verbena spirit has a bright and zesty presence with not only hints of fresh lemongrass and green tea but also fennel and anise to sharpen the palette.

In addition to placing silver and bronze in the 2022 International Wine and Spirit Competition, Bax Botanics also has over a 4.5-star rating on Trustpilot. Multiple reviews gush over the well-roundedness of the spirits but also how light and vibrant they are without being too concentrated. Other reviews expressed how even though it isn't labeled as a gin alternative, it captured the elements of a delicious gin without the unnecessary alcoholic frills.

11. Proteau

Proteau is producing some of the most innovative and indescribable zero-proof drinks in the market. It would be a borderline disservice to its ingenuity to say that it is comparable to any other alcoholic liquor or that any substitute would come close to replicating it. Its signature Ludlow Red is meant to enhance a culinary experience and pair well with food. Not only does it have classic blackberry flavors to match its jewel-toned color but those are contrasted with flavors like black pepper and wild flowers.

In contrast, the Rivington Spritz is a sparkling spirit worthy of curbing your bubbly craving, rich with hibiscus, ripe Chinese rhubarb, strawberries, and vinegar-like acidity. Unlike many of the previously mentioned zero-proof liquors, Proteau spirits are meant to be enjoyed on their own as opposed to in a cocktail, but they can be served warm like a mulled wine or topped with soda water. Food & Wine said that despite this drink's lack of alcohol, it's still one of the most intriguing new aperitifs on the market. With these zero-proof alternatives, Proteau takes the pressure away from social drinking and puts the pleasure back into the simplicity of a nonalcoholic beverage.

12. Rasāsvāda

We are all too familiar with the restorative powers that some of these alcohol-free spirits claim to possess. That being said, even if some are all talk and no walk, Rasāsvāda is the perfect marriage of complexity and healing that incorporates aspects of traditional Eastern medicine and herbalism into each elixir. Made with only wild-forged ingredients, its line of spirits — Ruby Artemisia, Rose Bergamot, and Black Ginger — put a new meaning to toasting to vitality.

Ruby Artemisia, which claims to harness Roman, Greek, and Chinese medical practices, incorporates ingredients like artichoke leaves and red wine grape skins to help battle daily ailments like fatigue, bloating, and early aging. Rose Bergamot is the floral and bitter-sweet counterpart that can improve stress and mental clarity, while Black Ginger peels back complex layers of flavor to potentially help boost libido and soothe natural aches and pains.

Good Spirit News highly reviewed all three Rasāsvāda spirit blends. They compared the Ruby Artemisia to a balanced, citrus-forward, and tart vermouth that had a bitter-sweet finish, while the Rose Bergamot had classic Italian aperitivo influences with heavy citrus throughout and a lingering spearmint finish. Meanwhile, the Black Ginger draws from the same characteristics as a drier amaro with more botanicals and a funky flavor. The real question is not if they have restorative powers, but rather: Does it even matter when something like this tastes so otherworldly?