SpiritsHandpicked by IWSC

Award-winning low and no alcohol aperitifs

Looking for a lighter pre-dinner drink? These are the best low and no alcohol aperitifs from the IWSC 2021, all 12 channelling the trend for bitter and refreshing - just minus the alcohol

Words by IWSC Judges

low and no alcohol aperitif
Handpicked by IWSC

The last few years have seen a rise in appreciation for bitter and refreshing pre-dinner cocktails (the ubiquitous Aperol Spritz might have played a part in this). And now, you no longer have to forgo these flavours when abstaining from alcohol, thanks to a new raft of low and no alcohol aperitifs.

If you’re looking for a lighter, alcohol-free drink when sharing snacks or a toast with friends, there are now products designed exactly to fulfil those needs – even from the likes of the Campari Group, who produce drinks well known for playing their part in that aforementioned orange-hued cocktail or the iconic 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 as ‘a really delicious aperitif with a juicy punch of bitter orange fruit and delightful dryness.’

spritz ish
A 'bitter-sweet blood orange character' makes this drink from Ish ideal for Spritz-style sipping

Lovers of a bitter hum to their pre-dinner beverage might also enjoy For Bitter For Worse, which achieved a gold medal score of 95/100 from the IWSC, and dazzled with its ‘citrus and woody notes’.

Newcomers like Slovenia’a Vera Spirits use traditional distillation methods, in a similar way those used to make gin or vodka, in order to create a balance of core flavours. These carefully crafted aperitifs can be sipped neat on ice, as well as used to create Spritzes suitable for any pre-dinner gathering or solo treat.

All low and no alcohol drinks were assessed at a dedicated tasting, with judges including Laura Willoughby, founder of mindful drinking community Club Soda, and Christine Parkinson, founder of low and no consultancy Brimful Drinks.

Read on to discover the best low and no alcohol aperitifs from the IWSC 2021.

12 of the best low and no alcohol aperitifs from the IWSC 2021

    1. Campari, Crodino; Italy. 96/100
    2. Ish, Spritzish; Denmark. 96/100
    3. Bel’Uva, Humulus Aperitif NV; Belgium. 96/100
    4. Amarico, Amarico Aperitivo; Italy. 95/100
    5. Lyre’s, Aperitif Rosso; Australia. 95/100
    6. For Bitter For Worse, Eva’s Spritz; USA. 95/100
    7. Everleaf Drinks, Everleaf Forest; England. 95/100
    8. Lyre’s, Amalfi Spritz; Australia. 92/100
    9. Vera spirits d.o.o., Aperitivø Classicø; Slovenia. 92/100
    10. Fortunae, Thomas Teetotal Alcohol Free Aperitif Spritz; England. 92/100
    11. Beyond Alcohol, Three Spirit Livener; England. 92/100
    12. Lyre’s, Aperitif Dry; Australia. 91/100
lyre's aperitif dry
Lyre's Aperitif Dry has light notes of apple and pear, making it suitable for both neat sipping and inclusion in cocktails

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.