The Best Non-Alcoholic Whiskeys for Every Cocktail

Whiskey (or whisky, depending on the style) is a staple for cold weather cocktails. But until recently, booze-free options were either lackluster—the warm lemonade of a whiskey-less toddy—or literally impossible, like a non-alcoholic Manhattan. Luckily…

Whiskey (or whisky, depending on the style) is a staple for cold weather cocktails. But until recently, booze-free options were either lackluster—the warm lemonade of a whiskey-less toddy—or literally impossible, like a non-alcoholic Manhattan. Luckily, zero-proof whiskey options have exploded over the last few years, but it’s rare to find the non-alcoholic alternative that is one-size fits all. Armed with a cocktail shaker, an array of mixers, and a lot of ice, I set out to test seven whiskey alternatives to find out how they could best replace bourbon, rye, and other whiskeys. Below you’ll find the best non-alcoholic whiskey alternatives for every cocktail. There are some that are “uncanny imitations" that taste just like the real thing; three options that simulate the warmth whiskey gives you when drinking it that will satisfy those looking for heat over all else; and two “impressionists” that don’t taste like whiskey at all, but will satisfyingly scratch the same itch.


The Uncanny Imitations

Spiritless’s Kentucky 74

Photo by Spiritless

Spiritless’s Kentucky 74 is the closest to the real deal you can get. An undeniable blast of charred oak stays with you from first sniff to last swallow, the body and slip are perfect, and rather than using the industry standard capsaicin to imitate the burn of alcohol (more on that later), it has a subtle tongue numbing effect, like sichuan peppercorns. Sweet corn and buttery caramel flavors are present but not cloying, and a sharp kerosene note contributes to its verisimilitude (though becomes unpleasant in cocktails with bitter ingredients like a Manhattan). Kentucky 74 pairs perfectly with mixers and makes I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-bourbon old-fashioneds and mint juleps. This is the one to sip straight or on the rocks for the most accurate bourbon alternative.

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The 8 Best Non-Alcoholic Beers We Know

There’s often a stigma about non-alcoholic beer: It just doesn’t taste like beer. Ask people who’ve had beer stripped of its alcohol, and you’ll hear that it is cloying. The mouthfeel just isn’t right. Or, quite simply, it doesn’t provide the full hopp…

There’s often a stigma about non-alcoholic beer: It just doesn’t taste like beer. Ask people who’ve had beer stripped of its alcohol, and you’ll hear that it is cloying. The mouthfeel just isn’t right. Or, quite simply, it doesn't provide the full hoppy, fruity, complex-flavor experience present in alcoholic beer. The combination of malt, hops, yeast, water, and adjuncts like coffee and fruit creates a multitude of flavors in today’s beer that just hasn’t been possible in non-alcoholic beer.

Until now! According to the Brewers Association, non-alcoholic beer sales are trending upward, and more people than ever are participating in "dry January," a month where drinkers abstain from alcohol. And to keep up, several breweries across the country are investing in new technology to create better non-alcoholic beers, in styles ranging from pilsners and hazy IPAs to fruit beers and chocolate stouts. With so many brews to choose from in this fast-growing category, it can be hard to know where to start. To help, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite non-alcoholic beers below.

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7 Summer-Ready Sips Starring Oranges

We’ve teamed up with California Citrus Growers to pull back the peel and share all the citrus-y wonders of oranges from the Golden State. Here, we’re showing you some of the refreshing sips you can make this summer using juicy, sweet-tart California Va…

We’ve teamed up with California Citrus Growers to pull back the peel and share all the citrus-y wonders of oranges from the Golden State. Here, we’re showing you some of the refreshing sips you can make this summer using juicy, sweet-tart California Valencia oranges. And psst: Did you know that they’re an excellent source of both vitamin C and folate? Pretty sweet.


With summer finally upon us, warmer weather is here to accompany what's shaping up to be a gorgeous and lively few months—and with that comes the arrival of fruity drinks to keep you refreshed throughout. This season, we're turning to the wonderfully tart and sweet nectar of Valencia oranges (they're the best for juicing of the bunch) to complete all of our summer sips. Think: bubbly mimosas, fizzy sherbet coolers, cooling green tea-orange sparklers, and zingy orange and mint gimlets.

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How to Make a 6-Pack of Homemade Fermented Drinks

Many folks have jumped on the kombucha bandwagon, and it’s clear why—that vinegary, effervescent kick (with a bonus of probiotics) is a welcome thrill in the world of “before 5 o’clock” drinks. And the best part is that kombucha is just the begin…

Many folks have jumped on the kombucha bandwagon, and it's clear why—that vinegary, effervescent kick (with a bonus of probiotics) is a welcome thrill in the world of "before 5 o'clock" drinks. And the best part is that kombucha is just the beginning: It's not alone in its world of sour drinkables. For your experimenting pleasure, there are two categories of fermented drinks: those that require a starter or SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), and those that do not (wild ferments).

The following drinks can be made at home, but some require a SCOBY—and who knows, all you might have to do is tap into your network (like our Contributors Editor Sarah did!) and you'll likely find fermentation enthusiasts who are thrilled to share these renewable resources with you. So up the ante of your fermented drink game by experimenting with a sampler six-pack.

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5 Unexpected Ways to Make Coca-Cola Extra *Extra* Special

Mix This With That is a new series on Drinks52, where we show you creative ways to level up any sip you please—from Coca-Cola to cold brew and beyond.

Like the best aperitivi, the recipe for Coke is closely guarded. And, also like the best aperitivi…

Mix This With That is a new series on Drinks52, where we show you creative ways to level up any sip you please—from Coca-Cola to cold brew and beyond.


Like the best aperitivi, the recipe for Coke is closely guarded. And, also like the best aperitivi, the recipe for Coke likely involves many more ingredients than you'd want to buy and work with at home: vanilla, lime, orange, lemon, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg—the list goes on. (Oh, and you’ll need a siphon.)

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So What’s a Cocktail, Really?

With the launch of Drinks52 is going to come myriad mentions of the word “cocktail.” Food52 has already given you summer cocktails, whiskey cocktails, nonalcoholic cocktails, but now that there’s dedicated space for all things beverage, you can expect …

With the launch of Drinks52 is going to come myriad mentions of the word “cocktail.” Food52 has already given you summer cocktails, whiskey cocktails, nonalcoholic cocktails, but now that there’s dedicated space for all things beverage, you can expect many, many more.

So what is a cocktail, Anyway?

You have an image of one in your head right now, no doubt. But is it actually a cocktail, by definition? Merriam Webster defines a cocktail as “a usually iced drink of wine or distilled liquor mixed with flavoring ingredients.” If that wasn’t vague, the secondary definition leaves us with less specificity: “Something resembling or suggesting such a drink as being a mixture of often diverse elements or ingredients.”

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Our 30 Best Nonalcoholic Cocktails for Flavor-Filled, Booze-Free Sipping

Here’s something to sip on: nonalcoholic cocktails. The next time you’re craving a booze-free beverage that’s refreshing, flavorful, and admittedly far more interesting than seltzer water mixed with a splash of cran or OJ, turn to these 30 recipes. Fro…

Here's something to sip on: nonalcoholic cocktails. The next time you're craving a booze-free beverage that's refreshing, flavorful, and admittedly far more interesting than seltzer water mixed with a splash of cran or OJ, turn to these 30 recipes. From variations on homemade lemonade to a fizzy cooler that features a generous scoop of homemade orange sherbet (hey, you can have your ice cream and eat it, too!), these drinks are creative takes on punches, spritzes, and more.

These recipes call on beautiful seasonal produce like rhubarb during the spring; berries, watermelon, and stone fruit during the summer; and root vegetables like beets during the colder months. Rim a glass with fiery spices for a bit of heat, or add a sprig of thyme or rosemary for a subtle earthy flavor and a stunning visual aid. Low-ABV and nonalcoholic cocktails are finally getting their time in the spotlight, and we're so excited to celebrate them with these recipes from our superstar recipe developers.

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44 Recipes From Black Food Bloggers to Celebrate Juneteenth

This year marks the 156th commemoration of Juneteenth. The holiday has largely been celebrated in Texas and certain pockets throughout the American South, but in recent years, people across America and even around the world have taken an interest in wh…

This year marks the 156th commemoration of Juneteenth. The holiday has largely been celebrated in Texas and certain pockets throughout the American South, but in recent years, people across America and even around the world have taken an interest in what Juneteenth, shorthand for June 19th, is all about.

On that day in 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, news reached enslaved African Americans in Texas, finally ending legalized slavery. The day represents freedom, hope, and new beginnings for the Black community, and it is celebrated with parades, educational events, and communing around special foods.

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Clean Wine, Hard Kombucha & the Science of ‘Better Alcohol’

“Alcohol” and “healthy” aren’t two words we typically put together, but many companies have been making an effort to present products in a more wellness-forward light. From “clean wine” to hard kombucha and low-ABV cocktails, “better-for-you alcohol” h…

“Alcohol” and “healthy” aren't two words we typically put together, but many companies have been making an effort to present products in a more wellness-forward light. From "clean wine" to hard kombucha and low-ABV cocktails, "better-for-you alcohol" has been trending over the past few years. Let's get real though: Is there really any such thing as healthy alcohol?

Health Benefits of Alcohol

A number of studies show there may be health benefits for those imbibing in moderation.

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Nonalcoholic Drinks Finally Taste Great—Here Are 12 of Our Faves

For too long, the options in the nonalcoholic section of restaurant menus or liquor stores were cloying “mocktails” and syrupy fruit sodas, or maybe a dusty bottle of barely-hoppy 0 percent ABV beer. Not the case these days. As sobriety, “dry” months, …

For too long, the options in the nonalcoholic section of restaurant menus or liquor stores were cloying “mocktails” and syrupy fruit sodas, or maybe a dusty bottle of barely-hoppy 0 percent ABV beer. Not the case these days. As sobriety, “dry” months, or even just saying “I’m not drinking tonight” become more socially acceptable than ever before, the beverages had to catch up.

“Serendipitously, I removed alcohol from my life right around the time that alcohol-free mixed drinks were starting to be taken more seriously,” says Julia Bainbridge, author of the book Good Drinks, noting that over the past few years, bartenders have looked beyond the mocktail (“ick!”), and that people—whether they were sober or not—were interested in the results. “I knew I wouldn’t be writing the first book on nonalcoholic drinks, but I also knew my work could capitalize on this newfound acceptance and energy.” Good Drinks is a collection of nonalcoholic recipes that aren’t just cocktails minus the liquor, but rather a celebration of, ahem, good drinks.

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