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 Gnista, a Swedish brand specialising in non-alcoholic drinks – its non-alcoholic spirit Barreled Oak has been crafted with lovers of smoky spirits in mind, pairs well with soda and displays notes of warm spices and chocolate rye . It scored 96/100 at the IWSC’s 2022 low and no tastings.
Other drinks to pick up praise (and a Gold medal) from judges included Crossip’s Dandy Smoke – a non-alcoholic smoky spirit praised by judges for its ‘positive structure and a charming citrus character.’
Gin-lovers were served well too, with Sober Spirits’ Sober-Gin 0.0% scoring 91/100 and impressing with its ‘lovely viscous texture’ and ‘strong marzipan and almond flavour that’s both interesting and complex.’
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 Camille Vidal, drinks expert turned yoga and meditation teacher and founder of La Maison Wellness.
Read on to discover the best low and no alcohol spirits from the IWSC 2022.
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.