There was a time, not very long ago, where the closest you could get to an alcohol free gin and tonic was to just have a glass of tonic – the whole world of ‘alcohol free’ drinks was pretty uninspiring to be honest.
That is all changing now though, with more and more options available to those of us that want to drink alcohol free alternatives, for a whole host of reasons. The emergence of alcohol free gin over the last few years has changed the game forever – we can now all drink genuinely delicious zero alcohol gin, and actually have plenty of choice when finding our perfect drink.
There is so much choice out there, in fact, that we thought it would be helpful for us to walk you through some of our favourites – the best alcohol free gin on the market so to speak. Before we get into some specific ones, though, let’s have a little look at how non-alcoholic gin is made.
How Is Non-Alcoholic Gin Made?
I will keep referring to this beverage as alcohol free gin, or non-alcoholic gin, but the truth is that what we are talking about is not technically gin. The, somewhat archaic, legal definition of gin states that in order to be officially ‘gin’ a drink must “be bottled at no less than 37.5% abv” – which obviously rules out all of the drinks that I will be looking at today – instead, what I will be referring to is a drink that is made using similar techniques and that has some similar flavours.
When it comes to the production of alcohol free gin, there are two main methods that are used. First, you have one that is pretty similar to the traditional gin-making technique. This involves a neutral grain spirit (or plain alcohol), mixed with plenty of botanicals (fruits, herbs, spices etc) in a copper still that is then heated up. As the alcohol vapour rises, it is captured and cooled to become a liquid again – bringing with it the flavours from the botanicals.
To remove all of the alcohol, you just need to repeat this process over and over again, and add water as you go. Eventually, all of the alcohol will have been removed, but the flavours retained.
The other most commonly used method doesn’t involve the use of any alcohol at all – it just focuses on the botanicals, which are left to soak into a base liquid for an extended period of time, at which point the flavour has become a lot like traditional gin.
Both methods are very complex and time consuming. If you get the timing slightly off, the taste can be ruined, and there is a much greater focus on using the finest botanicals, as that is where all the flavour comes from. That is why you may often find that alcohol free gin is often just as, if not more expensive than the gin that contains alcohol.
Top Alcohol Free Gins
Okay, now let’s get to the fun bit, with a close look at our picks for the best alcohol free gin on the market today.
Pentire – Adrift
We’ll kick off this look at the best non-alcoholic gin with this offering from Pentire – a Cornish company with a particular focus on plant-based products, and bringing together a collaboration of coastal distillers, botanists and mixologists.
To be honest with you, I was pretty sure that I was going to like this drink before I’d even tasted it. The bottle and logo gives me such a warm and comforting feeling, but with little tingles of excitement. There is a traditional and simple shape to the bottle, but at the same time subtly stylish and modern.
I was ready to like it, and it didn’t disappoint. Sometimes, you can find that some non-alcoholic spirits tend to overcompensate for the absence of flavour that the alcohol offers by making their drinks incredibly sweet – they pander to the more basic taste buds on your tongue. With Pentire Adrift, you are treated like an adult.
The main flavours here are sage, rock samphire and sea salt – it is very much a savoury drink. I first tried it with tonic, with a garnish of rosemary as recommended by Pentire. It was so refreshing – crisp and light, and there are notes of citrus that seem to tingle around the saltiness of the botanicals. As you would imagine from a company from Cornwall, this is the perfect drink to have on a sunny evening, overlooking a glorious sunset over the sea. But it could also work all year round depending on what you choose to mix it with – and Pentire provide you with plenty of inspiration.
On top of the great taste, you can also rest assured that you are doing right by the planet – Pentire source all of their ingredients responsibly, using Fair Trade and Organically Certified ingredients wherever possible. All of their packaging is 100% recycled and 100% recyclable, and they offset the carbon caused by every delivery they make.
This is a great company that has created a wonderful product. It is right in the middle of the sort of price you would expect to pay for an alcohol free gin, and it’s a great place to start your search – try this one, and then try to find one you like more. You might find that you struggle!
Three Spirit – Livener
Next up, we’ll take a look at a drink from another plant-loving company, Three Spirit. Their drinks, they claim, are “created by a mix of plant scientists, world-class bartenders, hedonists, herbalists and artists”.
It’s a bold choice as a name for an alcohol free gin, isn’t it? The Livener. The bottle and branding go along with that image – a bold block of dark green, livened up with sharp flashes of pink. It’s unfussy, and gets straight to the point.
Which brings me neatly onto the drink itself. It is packed full of ingredients, many of which I’m slightly embarrassed to say I had never heard of before. Take schisandra, for example, this is an ingredient that I have had to research – it is also known as magnolia beer, or five-flavour fruit (the five flavours being sweet, salty, bitter, sour and pungent). While I’d never heard of it before, it’s exactly the type of ingredient that you would expect to find in a drink called ‘Livener’.
Other ingredients include guava leaf, ginseng, green tea and apple cider vinegar – you won’t find this combination in many other drinks! The result is a fantastically unique taste, and so much more.
I found myself feeling a little fuzzy, in a good way, after a couple of servings of Livener. I started off serving with tonic (and a slice of orange), and I found myself going back to check the bottle to make sure that it actually is alcohol free! (Don’t worry – it is).
Three Spirit have undoubtedly created a very unique drink with this product. It tastes great, and gave me such a pleasant feeling while drinking it, that I think you will love. If you fancy an alcohol free gin with a bit of a kick, then I think this could be your one! The price is pretty standard for a drink of this type, so there is nothing to put you off there.
CleanCo – Clean G
Let’s head over to London now for our next alcohol free gin, this one is from CleanCo. They have only been around since 2019, but in that short amount of time they have created a decent range of different alcohol free drinks, including their Clean G, the gin alternative.
The whole ethos of the company is in the name – clean. That shines through with every aspect of this product. The bottle itself is a neat and simple design. Clean and clear – you know that you are looking at a gin-like product, with the classic green colour and the little art deco detailing that gives a flash of the roaring 20’s.
This is carried through to the drink itself. With the products above I have spoken about the creative and unique combinations of ingredients that produce these weird and wonderful flavours, the outlook here is much simpler – of course there are botanicals there, but the most prominent is undoubtedly juniper. A pretty standard flavour for gin, and this is unashamedly simple in that respect.
The result is, you guessed it, a clean and crisp flavour that delivers a wonderful alternative to traditional gin. They have worked hard to make this as similar in taste as possible, and I really think they have nailed it – this is one of the most authentic gin alternatives that I have tasted.
It is also one of the cheapest products that we will look at on this list. If you are looking at recreating a classic gin and tonic, but without the alcohol, then I think this could be the drink for you. There is nothing particularly fancy about it, it just does the job it sets out to do.
Pentire – Seaward
Back over to Cornwall now, for another non-alcoholic gin from plant-based company Pentire. It says a lot about their commitment to both producing alcohol free drinks and utilising all that the Cornish wildlife offers them, that they are able to produce two completely different gins.
It shouldn’t surprise us though. We spoke earlier, when we were looking at their Adrift offering, Pentire are a company that take their responsibilities concerning the environment very seriously, and they hold such a strong connection with nature and that really shows in their products.
This is another, what I would call, grown-up drink. While you do get a slightly sweeter taste than with the Adrift (there are hints of grapefruit in there), it doesn’t pander to your taste buds – it challenges them. You get rosemary and seaweed in there, as well as natural berries and sea buckthorn. This is another drink that is packed full of subtle flavours that offer something a bit different to so many gin alternatives – a real depth of flavour.
Again, I served this with tonic, and also a slice of grapefruit, and it was such a pleasantly refreshing drink. The company have such a distinct identity, I couldn’t help but picture myself on a sun drenched, but windswept, coastal balcony in the South West as I drank it. It’s the perfect drink to have outside on a sunny day.
It’s another product that is priced exactly where you would expect an alcohol free gin to be, and it is another one with a distinct flavour. My advice would be to put this on your list of zero alcohol gins to try – I’m sure you will end up going back to it.
Seedlip Spice 94
Now it’s time to head over to Lincolnshire for a drink based on recipes from a book from 1651 – John French’s The Art of Distillation. Some 350 years later and farmer-turned-entrepreneur Ben Branson launched the first drink for his new company, Seedlip.
That first drink was Spice 94, launched back in 2015. The entire company was born out of Ben being out for dinner in an upmarket London restaurant, and ordering a non-alcoholic cocktail. He was served a “pink, sugary drink that neither paired with the meal, nor the atmosphere.” He decided to do something about it and Spice 94 was the result – the world’s first non-alcoholic spirit.
Without wanting to go into too much detail about the process, their website summarises it as “six-week maceration, distillation, filtration, and blending process–for which each individual botanical ingredient is distilled separately, before blending”. It is meticulous, detailed and painstaking, but it really works.
What you get is an incredibly refreshing drink (try first with tonic) – it has strong citrus notes, but there is also a delightfully bitter, almost oaky, aftertaste. You can experiment with other cocktail recipes (I have tried the Espresso Martino and it was great). I have found that some other people have suggested that sweeter mixers take the edge off the bitterness. For me, though, I love that aspect of it.
It is another drink in the middle of the price range for these types of drinks (roughly the same price as a bottle of gin really). Over the years, Seedlip have built up a strong reputation in the non-alcoholic industry, and I’m sure you will see why when you have tried this drink. As the first of its kind, it has inspired a whole genre and opened up so many possibilities to non-drinkers.
Salcombe New London Light
We’re going to head back over to the South West of England now, but this time to Devon to sample a drink from Salcombe. This is a company slightly different to all of the others we’ve looked at on this list as they specialise in making alcoholic spirits, and have done since 2014. This offering, New London Light, is their first foray into alcohol free beverages.
There are plenty of similarities between these guys and the other companies we have looked at, however. There is an obvious passion for the process of making drinks, and in particular the use of copper stills during the distillery process. They also take their impact on the environment very seriously, with a strong emphasis on sustainability – 1% of the sales of this drink go to the Marine Conservation Society.
This is all great, but to be honest it wouldn’t have any relevance to this list if the drink didn’t pass our taste test – well I’m delighted to tell you that it passed with flying colours. They have brought all of their expertise from the alcohol making side of their business into this non-alcoholic equivalent, and it really shows.
It has quite a complex pallet – combining lighter citrus flavours with the slightly harsher sage and cascarilla bark, and then you get a refreshing finish with lemongrass and orange. Served with tonic over ice, with a slice of orange, it is a wonderfully crisp and pleasing drink.
It is priced towards the upper side of the mid-price range, but it is certainly worth your consideration. This is a drink that you will go back to again and again – I’m sure of it.
Seedlip Grove 42
Back to another familiar face now, with another alcohol free gin from Lincolnshire company Seedlip. The fact that we spent so long not having any options for a non-alcoholic gin, and now companies like Seedlip are providing different options just shows how far the industry has come in such a small space of time.
Still using the same theories from that 1651 book, this drink offers a bit more of a kick than the Spice 94 that we looked at above. While that focuses on the more soothing, earthy flavours, this has a more zesty, spikey feel to it.
Served with tonic over ice and with a slice of orange, this is a great and refreshing drink, but there are other possibilities as well. They have created some great cocktails using the Grove 42, particularly the Cosnopolitan, which are great options, especially if you are hosting. It really would impress your non-drinking guests.
This is a wonderfully versatile option for you to consider. The price is pretty standard for these drinks, so there is no reason to avoid it from that point of view. It has recently been announced as the number one selling non-alcoholic spirit in the UK, so you will be in good company if you give it a try!
We’ve seen a lot of small, independent companies so far in this list, so now let’s see what the big hitters can do as we look at the alcohol free version of Tanqueray gin. Tanqueray produce the number one selling gin in the world, so it was only a matter of time before they had a crack at the alcohol free market.
This is a different product in many respects to the other ones that we’ve looked at today. Most of the others have looked to create something different – their own unique tasting drink to draw in customers. Tanqueray are in a completely different position here as they have a hugely successful alcoholic drink, and are simply looking to create a non-alcoholic version of it.
You’ll have noticed all the weird and wonderful combinations of botanicals that we have mentioned when talking about some of the other products. Well, Tanqueray only use four: tuscan juniper, coriander, angelica root, and licorice. It’s a simple recipe, but it works.
The result is a drink that is reassuringly familiar. The first sip I had was like meeting an old friend, one that I hadn’t seen in years – not exactly how I remembered them but definitely that same friend. There is probably less depth to the flavour of this one compared to some of the others, but this isn’t trying to be a new drink – it’s a non-alcoholic substitute and it does that job perfectly.
It also benefits from being one of the cheapest drinks on this list. Try this alcohol free gin early on in your tasting – it provides you with a good base before you go on to see what else is out there.
Strykk Not Gin
A non-alcoholic drink producer with an attitude now, with the Not Gin from Strykk – a London-based company that burst onto the scene in 2018 and have not looked back since, now offering one of the most extensive non-alcoholic drinks range in the world today, from flavoured ‘Not Vodka’ to cans of Not Rum and cola.
The tone of this company is completely different to most of the others that we’ve looked at here. Rather than focusing on harvesting the beauty of nature, Strykk seem hell bent on having a good time without alcohol. While they point out the benefits of their products (no sugar, no carbs, no sugar etc), that isn’t their primary focus. They see their products as “non-alcoholic spirits for the next generation of partygoers”.
The emphasis here, therefore, is not just on enjoying with some tomic and a slice of lime (although I did and it was delicious), but on the whole world of cocktails that their Not Gin opens up to you. A Tom Collins, a martini or their own creation Strykk The Fruits – a wonderfully punchy passionfruit and raspberry concoction that will impress any guest.
The flavours you get are more savoury, rosemary and basil are there, as well as coriander – the contrast with the more sweet mixers really works. The botanicals are brought out and you end up with an incredibly refreshing drink.
It is another at the cheaper end of the scale, so I would wholeheartedly recommend that you give this one serious consideration. If you like cocktails the versatility of this product might make it the one for you.
Ginsin 12 Botanical
This is another product that goes against the grain of all of the others that we have looked at on this list. I have spoken a lot about how these others have turned their back on creating sweet drinks, instead opting to replace the alcohol with complicated combinations of botanicals.
Well, here, you do get those botanicals (12 to be precise…) but if you look at the list of ingredients you will note that sugar is second on the list. Well, we like to provide you with options when we do lists like this, so we thought you might like to consider a slightly sweeter alcohol free gin.
I say slightly sweeter gin, because even with a lot more sugar than you get with many of the other drinks on this list, you don’t get an overwhelming sweet taste – it is pleasantly subtle in fact. (Although I will note here that they do make different flavours and the strawberry one may be of consideration if you are looking for a more powerful ‘sweet kick’.)
What you end up with is a nicely balanced drink, perfect with tonic, and the sweetness just provides a wonderful backdrop for the botanicals to come into play. It’s not overwhelming, it is just the right amount of flavour, and you still get that refreshing kick.
This is one of the cheapest drinks on our list, and is definitely a crowd pleaser. It doesn’t have the depth that some of the others have, but it is an easy drinker that is great to offer guests and to experiment with. Definitely one to have in you cupboard while you experiment with the more expensive opinions.