The non-alcoholic spirit revolution is well and truly here - browse the shelves of your local supermarket or your favourite drinks emporium and you’ll find a swathe of attractive bottles in a kaleidoscope of colours. Whether you like it or not, low and non-alcoholic gins are here to stay, making sure that you still have something fragrant and delicious to try even if you're trying to cut back.
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The big question is, though, is alcohol-free gin any good? The massive range of options - all featuring a wide array of different aromatics and infusions - certainly suggests there’s a growing market. Have a scan of a few websites and you’ll find some mixed reactions. The truth is, many of these drinks are very different to a classic gin and are often designed to be drunk in a very specific way; if you buy a bottle of non-alcoholic gin at random and pair it with an average tonic, you might find yourself rather underwhelmed. Many of these gins come with serving suggestions and an example drink and in our experience, if you follow the suggestions you get much better results.
Also, you’ll notice that not all alcohol-free gins are completely alcohol-free - some producers leave their gin with a tiny amount of alcohol (anywhere between 0.5-4%) as they feel it makes a big difference to the flavour. These tend to be called low-alcohol or ‘small gins’. If you’re not strictly no-alcohol but you’re just cutting down your consumption or trying something new, check out a few small gins as they might be more to your taste.
Different alcohol-free gins also have wildly different flavour profiles, so if you’ve been given a bottle of something and you didn’t like it much, don’t despair - there is probably still a tasty tipple that’ll work for you! With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of our favourites for you to try, from non-alcoholic bottles from gin giants like Gordons and Tanqueray, to some new-age up-and-comers like Pentire, Atopia and Caleno. Paired properly, we think these are just the ticket for a classy, delicious drink.
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Best alcohol-free gins
These alcohol-free tipples are ideal if you want to enjoy something a bit special but without the booze.
Gordon's 0.0 Alcohol Free
What: If you’re a Gordon’s drinker by choice, you’ll probably find Gordon’s alcohol-free gin very recognisable, as it uses all the same distilled botanicals as the original. Match it up with a good quality tonic water and you might not even notice the difference. For our money, it’s not quite as good as the Tanqueray equivalent, but it is a touch cheaper and still very good.
How much: £15
Buy now: Gordon's 0.0 Alcohol Free
CleanCo Rhubarb Gin
What: If a flavoured gin is more your thing, consider this glorious rhubarb number from CleanCo. Yes, that’s the CleanCo owned by Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews, but don’t hold that against it - it’s actually rather good. It’s very fruit-forward, which might not be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s still very pleasing over ice with tonic in our opinion.
How much: £16
Buy now: Clean Co Rhubarb Gin
Salcombe New London Light
What: Complexity is what defines this bottle from award-winning distillers Salcombe Gin. There’s a prevalence of blood orange and rosemary that gives New London a fresh Mediterranean vibe, but behind the scenes there’s plenty of juniper, cardamom, ginger, habanero and even lemongrass. It sounds like a lot, but it really comes together and we love it in a cocktail.
How much: £24
Buy now: Salcombe New London Light
Tanqueray 0.0 Alcohol Free
What: Tanqueray alcohol-free gin is another bottle that takes a classic line - juniper-forward with plenty of citrus and a bit of floral character in the background. A long time favourite, Tanqueray now also offers an alcohol-free Flor de Sevilla gin, for even more of that delicious citrusy flavour in their orange alternative.
How much: £17
Buy now: Tanqueray 0.0 Alcohol Free
Sea Arch Coastal Juniper
What: Harnessing a handful of brisk, refreshing botanicals that includes sea kelp, samphire and blood orange, Sea Arch is another unique gin-style spirit that has built a dedicated fanbase. Background notes of coriander and cardamom help to tie it to your classic gin, enough that it’s still great with tonic or in a cocktail.
How much: £25
Buy now: Sea Arch Coastal Juniper
Lyre's Pink London
What: Perfect for those pink gin lovers who're looking for an alcohol-free alternative. Lyre's has really made a name for itself in the non-alcoholic spirits department with a wide selection of specially crafted spirits to choose from. There's plenty of gins to try but this pink option is bursting with raspberry, red currant, rosehip and strawberry flavours and recommended with lemonade or grapefruit soda topped with a sprig of mint and slice of ruby grapefruit.
How much: £24
Buy now: Lyre's Pink London
Caleno Dark & Spicy
What: Pineapple, black cardamom, coconut, ginger, lime, kola nut and vanilla - it’s fair to say, Caleno isn’t your average gin. Whatever you relate it to though, it is excellent - that juicy pineapple aroma gives way to spice and earthy cardamom. We’d recommend drinking it as is over ice, or with soda, to fully appreciate its unusual flavour profile.
How much: £19
Buy now: Caleno Dark & Spicy
Seedlip Garden 108
What: Seedlip is the brand that really brought non-alcoholic gins into the public consciousness, and it has proven very divisive as a result - scour the web and you’ll find plenty of complaints. These heavy botanical spirits won’t be to all tastes, but if you approach with an open mind you might find something delicious - we like this very green Garden version, which boasts infusions of hay, pea, rosemary, spearmint and thyme. Splash a bit of elderflower tonic in and give it a go.
How much: £25
Buy now: Seedlip Garden 108
What: Pentire’s special Cornish spirits make the most of coastal botanicals to create unique drinks. With an ingredients list as long as your arm that includes sea buckthorn, pink grapefruit, woodruff, wild seaweed and more, Pentire has its own vibe, but it’s a delicious one.
How much: £27
Buy now: Pentire Seaward
What: A raspberry delight from Fluere, with their take on a pink gin that’s full of citrus, pine and floral lavender to balance out those raspberry flavours. This one might definitely be a bit floral for some, but if that’s something you look for in your gin then this could be the one for you. Keep things simple with soda or tonic for a classic and refreshing drink.
How much: £17
Buy now: Fluere Raspberry
Best low-alcohol gins
These low-alcohol options are perfect if you’re hoping to cut down on your alcohol intake without giving it up completely.
Atopia Spiced Citrus
What: Atopia’s gins already have some credibility before you’ve opened the bottle - the company behind them was created by Hendrick’s master distiller Lesley Gracie, who knows a thing or two about making good gin. This spiced citrus number is 0.5% ABV so it won’t be suitable for teetotalers, but if you like a gin with plenty of citrus, juniper and a nip of coriander, this is definitely worth a go.
How much: £23
Buy now: Atopia Spiced Citrus
What: Best served the traditional way - with tonic, over ice - Sipsmith's 0.5% isn't completely alcohol free but it's pretty close if you're trying to cut down. It's also got those classic citrus and juniper flavours that might just trick you into thinking that it's the real thing. With refreshing eucalyptus scents coupled with a slight fiery kick, it's definitely worth a try.
How much: £18
Buy now: Sipsmith FreeGlider
Adnams Smidgin Gin
What: Adnams is best known as a brewery, but it also makes an interesting line of low-alcohol spirits. The Smidgin Gin is particularly good - it’s pretty juniper-heavy so it is reminiscent of a classic gin, with some zesty citrus notes and a touch of cardamom. If you’re looking for something to bolster a low-alcohol gin and tonic, this is the one, with just a few drops going a long way.
How much: £27
Buy now: Adnams Smidgin Gin
If you're not giving up on regular gins just yet, you might be interested to read about our pick of the best gin brands - perfect for gifting to others (or yourself)!