Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Lydia Martin
The term “non-alcoholic whiskey” might be a bit of an oxymoron, but hear us out — they’re a real thing.
There is a rise in its popularity among people who wish to take breaks from drinking for personal wellness goals.
We’ve compiled this list of the best non-alcoholic whiskeys for whiskey lovers who want the dram but not the hangover.
10 Best Non-Alcoholic Whiskeys (That Really Exist)
10. The Gospel Responsible Rye
Average Price: Around $50 per 750ml
Why We Like It: We love the original Gospel rye whiskey, so it is not surprising that we enjoyed The Gospel Responsible rye just as much.
This non-alcoholic alternative is a feast for both your palate and eyes. The “spirit” is housed in a gorgeous bottle that reminds us of old medicine bottles, with traditional candied pecan and spicy rye flavors.
9. Curious Elixir No. 5
Average Price: Around $99.99 per 750ml (Caskers)
Why We Like It: The Curious Elixir No. 5 isn’t (technically) a whiskey alternative but a bottled booze-free cocktail. It takes on the flavors of an Old Fashioned alcoholic cocktail with smoked cherry, dark chocolate, and warm spices.
Of course, like the actual whiskey cocktail, this one is deep, rich, and smoky .
8. Lyre’s American Malt
Average Price: Around $31.99 per 750ml (Caskers)
Why We Like It: Lyre’s refers to their American malt as “impossibly crafted to taste like real bourbon.” This zero-proof bourbon tastes like true-blue whiskey, with flavor notes like caramel, vanilla, and oak.
The only thing lacking is that nice, spicy finish, which we guess can’t be replicated without having actual alcohol.
7. Gnista Barreled Oak
Average Price: Around $40 per 750ml (Caskers)
Why We Like It: The Swedish company Gnista created Barreled Oak as an outstanding non-alcoholic whiskey alternative. Don’t believe us? Well, it’s only earned Gold at the International Wine and Spirits Awards.
It is reminiscent of dark whiskey or rum, with oak barrel flavors, chocolate rye spice, and a warm, drying finish. It’s a great sipper, but it will hold itself extremely well in a mixed drink, too. 
6. The Spirit of Bourbon
Average Price: Around $36 per 750ml
Why We Like It: The Spirit of Bourbon of Free Spirits is so reminiscent of actual Kentucky bourbon that we have a hard time differentiating the two.
This Free Spirits non-alcoholic spirit has a smooth and plump mouthfeel, with classic caramel, vanilla, toasted oak, and brown sugar-tasting notes.
We loved sipping on Free Spirits au naturale. The only downside is that it’s a bit pricey for our liking, but if you have the extra moolah, this is worth the splurge.
5. Drummerboy American Dark
Average Price: Around $45 per 750ml
Why We Like It: The little Drummerboy American Dark is not-so-little… it’s got big, robust flavors that will put other non-alcoholic spirits to shame.
This is easily the best alternative to classic American bourbon, with its rich notes of caramel, chewy toffee, and charred oak.
We find that this zero-proof whiskey is best in bourbon cocktails, like the Boulevardier or Old Fashioned .
Sipping it on the rocks is also an equally rewarding experience, minus the hangover.
4. Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey Alternative
Average Price: Around $27.99 per 750ml (Total Wine)
Why We Like It: Ritual Zero is one of the biggest brands to produce non-alcoholic spirits.
They’ve also hit the nail on the head with the Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey Alternative, with its serious bourbon notes without the alcohol or calories.
It has all the depth and warmth you would expect from actual whiskey, with vanilla, stone fruit, and smoky oak flavors.
This Ritual whiskey alternative is probably the closest to actual whiskey in this lineup regarding taste and finish.
We loved having this in an Old Fashioned mocktail, but you can experiment with other cocktails, too.
3. Lyre’s Highland Malt
Average Price: Around $32.99 per 750ml (Caskers)
Why We Like It: Lyre’s Highland Malt perfectly mimics the essence and feel of blended malt whiskey, so if that’s right up your alley, it’s worth checking this out.
This award-winning bottle has gorgeous oak tannins and nutty grain characters. It finishes with a subtle smoke flavor profile reminiscent of a good quality scotch.
2. Monday Zero Alcohol Whiskey
Average Price: Around $40 (Caskers)
Why We Like It: The Monday Zero alcohol whiskey is free of alcohol while still full of spirit.
Monday zero-alcohol whiskey is hand-made in small batches by a Southern California distillery and keeps things pretty healthy by offering it with zero carbs, sugar, and calories.
We love Monday whiskey because its gorgeous flavor notes of butterscotch, raisin, and rich caramel can easily replace alcohol in most whiskey cocktails.
If you don’t have ingredients on hand, you can pair this Monday whiskey bad boy with ginger ale/beer or Coke for a long, refreshing drink.
1. Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon
Average Price: Around $35.99 per 750ml (Total Wine)
Why We Like It: As the same suggests, the Spiritless Kentucky 74 non-alcoholic bourbon is spiritless. The Kentucky 74 zero-proof bourbon has everything you want in a whiskey dram minus the alcohol proof.
According to the brand, this multi-award-winning bourbon alternative is best used as a bourbon substitute in mixed drinks, but as we tried it, it’s good enough to be enjoyed solo.
“Drinking alcohol can be really hard on your body… keep my alcohol intake to a minimum and substitute with delicious mocktails whenever possible.”-Serena Poon, Certified nutritionist & Celebrity Chef
What’s A Non-Alcoholic Whiskey?
A non-alcoholic whiskey mimics actual whiskey but without the alcoholic spirit. It targets people who want the taste of an actual dram of whiskey but are looking to cut back on their alcohol intake.
Since some people are health conscious, non-alcoholic options are often made with all-natural ingredients and have little to no sugar or calories.
How It’s Made
Non-alcoholic whiskeys are first distilled like actual whiskey for optimal flavor. The juice is then boiled through a process called ethanol distillation, where the alcohol gets evaporated.
Another way to remove the alcoholic component from whiskeys is through reverse osmosis, where water is used to pump out alcohol. Steaming is also a way to infuse whiskey flavors into non-alcoholic drinks.
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Are Non-Alcoholic Whiskeys Aged?
Yes, most non-alcoholic whiskeys are aged inside charred oak barrels. This process infuses the non-alcoholic spirit with charred oak flavors reminiscent of actual whiskey.
Can It Be Legally Called Whiskey?
No, non-alcoholic whiskey cannot legally be called whiskey. According to whiskey law, the whiskey must be bottled at an ABV of at least 40 percent before it can be legally labeled as whiskey.
Since non-alcoholic whiskeys don’t contain alcohol, they will not have complied with this law. However, brands still label them whiskey anyway for better identification.
Is Non-Alcoholic Whiskey Good For You?
Yes, non-alcoholic whiskey is better for you than alcoholic spirits.
One of the biggest reasons is obvious: you can have fun sipping on non-alcoholic whiskey all night long without worrying about getting hungover.
On a more technical note, non-alcoholic whiskeys are often made with all-natural ingredients, making them healthier.
Most brands list every product with little to no sugar and zero calories. Of course, this is if you decide to only consume non-alcoholic whiskey on its own.
How It Tastes
Surprisingly, non-alcoholic whiskey tastes just like true whiskey. The only thing it’s lacking would be the alcoholic “bite” that can’t really be replicated unless there is actual alcohol in the drink.
It’s also somewhat sweeter, especially if more sugary ingredients were used in its production.
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, plenty of zero-sugar options out there are more suited for you.
Nothing also makes up for the authentic smokiness that could only come from lengthy oak aging.
Since non-alcoholic whiskey alternatives typically don’t spend that much time maturing, it can be impossible to mimic the smokiness that comes from a well-aged dram.
Why Do People Drink Non-Alcoholic Spirits?
Some people opt to drink non-alcoholic spirits because they don’t want the hangover that comes with drinking alcohol.
Furthermore, some people drink non-alcoholic drinks as whiskey substitutes for health reasons.
There has been a growing trend in people eliminating alcohol from their diets for overall wellness.
How do you make alcohol-free whiskey at home?
You’ll need four ingredients to make alcohol-free whiskey at home: apple cider vinegar, water, and honey. Of course, this mixture won’t technically mimic the taste of actual whiskey, but it’s a good start.
How long does non-alcoholic whiskey last?
Non-alcoholic whiskey can last until the expiry date on the bottle as long as it remains unopened. However, once opened, it’s best to consume the non-alcoholic drink within three months.
Non-alcoholic whiskey has a shorter shelf life than traditional whiskey because it lacks the alcoholic spirit.
Does zero-proof alcohol taste like alcohol?
No, zero-proof alcohol doesn’t taste like alcohol. Some zero-proof alcohol may mimic the alcoholic bite that you would get from actual spirits, but the difference is still noticeable.
Why are alcohol-free spirits so expensive?
Alcohol-free spirits are expensive because of their intricate production process. Since it goes through another round of reverse osmosis or evaporation, it requires very specific cutting-edge machinery to ensure that the final product contains no trace of alcohol.
Is non-alcoholic bourbon aged?
Yes, most non-alcoholic bourbon whiskeys are aged in oak barrels. This process is vital because it infuses the oak flavors and other flavors of actual whiskey into non-alcohol whiskeys.
How to make non-alcoholic bourbon?
To make non-alcoholic bourbon, producers will have to distill the product with neutral alcohol and then reverse distill to remove the alcohol.
Since water and alcohol distill at different temperatures, the distillers can separate the ethanol and hydrosols.
The best non-alcoholic bourbon is Spiritless Kentucky 74. The bourbon-inspired drink undergoes distillation and reverse distillation to remove alcohol and retain the oaky character similar to American whiskeys.
If you’d like to drink and have fun without the side effects, your best option is to go with non-alcoholic whiskeys.
The best non-alcoholic whiskeys have the same flavors as actual whiskey but without the alcohol content. They can be drunk as is, on the rocks, or mixed into your favorite cocktails.