SpiritsHandpicked by IWSC

Award-winning low and no alcohol aperitifs

Bitter and refreshing - just minus the alcohol. These are the best low and no alcohol aperitifs from the IWSC

Words by IWSC Judges

Photography by IWSC Judges

low and no alcohol aperitif
Handpicked by IWSC

An appreciation for bitter and refreshing pre-dinner cocktails is riding high (the Negroni trend might have played a part in this). But should you be abstaining from alcohol, you no longer have to forgo these flavours. That’s thanks to a new wave of low and no alcohol aperitifs.

For a lighter, alcohol-free drink when sharing snacks or a toast with friends, these days, you can take your pick. There are even offerings on the shelves from the likes of the Campari Group, who produce drinks well known for playing their part in the ubiquitous Aperol Spritz and in that aforementioned red-hued aperitif, the Negroni. So perhaps it’s time for a Nogroni, instead?

Indeed, at the IWSC’s low and no awards, Campari’s Crodino aperitif was hailed for its ‘citrus-led flavour and vibrant acidity.’

three spirit livener in an aperitif cocktail
Three Spirits Livener provided judges with 'the perfect balance of candied fruits, tinned peachiness and seductive spice'

Lovers of a bitter orange hum to their pre-dinner beverage are spoilt for choice, with Novara from Canada and Polly from Germany both awarded Silver medals and truly representing the international appeal of this style of aperitif right now.

For those feeling a bit more adventurous when it comes to aperitivo hour, the top-scorer from this year’s IWSC was Three Spirit Livener, which judges praised for its complex nose, balance, spice and sweetness.

All low and no alcohol drinks were assessed at a dedicated tasting, with a panel led by spirits writer and expert David T Smith on the judging committee. Read on to discover the best low and no alcohol aperitifs from the IWSC 2022.

lyres alcohol-free spirits
Lyre's Rosso's red fruit and spices should stand out in any alcohol-free aperitif

HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE LOW AND NO ALCOHOL DRINKS?

We run a tightly structured, rigorous low and no alcohol tasting process. That means that each drink sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC low and no judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the alcohol-free drinks industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.

HOW DO WE SCORE THESE LOW AND NO ALCOHOL DRINKS?

Only the best low and no alcohol drinks sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, spirits have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver winners range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.

MORE FROM CLUB OENOLOGIQUE

Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.