While in the past we may have sneered at low and no alcohol spirits, it’s fair to say the market has exploded. Innovation comes in all forms for those looking to cut down on what they drink – and while past offerings were confined to nasty imitations of your favourite spirits, now, those abstaining or cutting down can choose from a whole range of non-alcoholic distillations channelling unique flavours into the glass.
Just look to Everleaf, a London-based brand from a bar owner and former conservation biologist – its non-alcoholic aperitif Marine has been crafted with gin drinkers in mind, pairs well with a tonic and packs in flavours of juniper, bergamot and citrus. It scored 94/100 at the IWSC’s 2021 low and no tastings.
Other drinks to pick up praise from judges included Caleño Dark and Spicy – a non-alcoholic tropical rum with ‘complex aromas of cooked dark citrus zest, toffee and chocolate.’
In fact, rum lovers who are swerving the sauce are in good stead: the top-scoring low and no alcohol spirit was Sober-Rum, which scored 98/100 and offered up hints of smoke, banana, vanilla and tobacco.
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 spirits from the IWSC 2021.
14 of the best low and no alcohol spirits from the IWSC 2021
- Sober Spirits, Sober-Rum. 98/100
- Tea Venture, Noveltea London Dry. 97/100
- CleanCo, Clean Crisp Dry Botanical Spirit. 96/100
- Ceder’s, Crisp Non Alcohol Gin. 96/100
- Everleaf Drinks, Everleaf Mountain. 96/100
- Juniperl Ltd, Juniperl. 96/100
- Ovant, Royal. 96/100
- Curated Beverages, Abstinence Epilogue X. 95/100
- William Grant & Sons Distillers, Atopia Spiced Citrus. 95/100
- Memento, Blue. 95/100
- CleanCo, Clean G Rhubarb Crisp Dry Botanical Spirit. 95/100
- Caleño Drinks, Dark & Spicy. 95/100
- Lyre’s, Dry London Spirit. 94/100
- Everleaf Drinks, Everleaf Marine. 94/100
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.