Excerpted from VinePair.com.
In recent years, the non-alcoholic (N/A) space has exploded in breadth and depth. Once restricted to a handful of botanical waters, alcohol-free options now arrive in a range of guises: single-serve and large format ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails (or mocktails, if you prefer); convincing base “spirits” that do a decent job of recreating the profile of drinks like whiskey, gin, and aperitivos; and complex formulas that offer a different kind of buzz, without the booze.
Before we dive into this expanding space, we should address some themes that run true for the entire category — factors that remained top of mind when considering what to include in this list.
Whether tasting RTDs or base spirits, there needs to be an acceptance that these drinks will never taste exactly like the cocktails or liquor they’re often intended to replicate. In this respect, the texture of the beverage therefore gains heightened importance, for this is an area where some producers have been able to make up for any slight shortcomings on flavor.
In terms of texture, the best “spirits” offer a fuller body that feels weighty on the palate, rather than like flavored water. As for RTDs, and on the topic of flavored waters, we looked for drinks that push beyond this simple profile — bonafide cocktails that provide a complex drinking experience and engage all areas of the palate.
Now that we’re up to speed, here are the 20 best non-alcoholic drinks brands for 2023.
Spiritless Kentucky 74 – A bourbon alternative like no other, Kentucky 74 begins with an intense one-two punch of cherry candy and almond essence aromas. It enters the palate sweet, before complex flavors begin to unfold, each one cementing its case as a quality whiskey replacement. Spiritless suggests sipping the drink on its own or in a 50/50 split with your favorite bourbon. While this won’t be an option for those choosing to completely abstain, the experience is infinitely more enjoyable than watered-down bourbon, and allows drinkers a genuinely tasty way of cutting the proof and calories in their whiskey glass. Price: $36/ 750 mL bottle
Read the full article on vinepair.com.