The Non-Alcoholic Bourbon That’ll Make Your Liver Say ‘Thank You

I've been on an exploration of alcohol-free spirits, and I must say the non-alcoholic bourbon is the best of the batch.

Let me just say it! I’ve been exploring alcohol-free spirits this past year, and non-alcoholic bourbon is in its own lane.

You’ll wonder how much non-alcoholic bourbon tastes like the real thing. I think bourbon’s well suited to a non-alcoholic version. As you probably know, bourbon is a type of whiskey made specifically made from at least 51 percent corn and aged in new charred oak barrels in the United States. The way it’s made lends it a specific, sweet flavor profile. A great bourbon finds hints of caramel, vanilla, and oak.

That said, most connoisseurs of non-alcoholic bourbon note that the texture of ethanol is difficult to mimic. That’s not a big problem because most will use the following non-alcoholic bourbon options in mocktails (or to add flavor, but not additional alcohol, to an alcoholic drink). When mixed, texture’s not an issue, and the flavors complement the rest of the drink. Still, if you want something to sip, these non-alcoholic bourbons are high quality enough to scratch the itch. It doesn’t hurt to try, partner.

Our Top Non-Alcoholic Bourbon

1) Spiritless Kentucky 74

Spiritless Kentucky 74 is the undisputed top non-alcoholic bourbon on nearly everyone’s list. At the prestigious L.A. Spirits Awards, this bottle won the category of Best Non-Alcoholic Spirit. A smooth finish with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, it’s unbeatable in any bourbon-focused non-alcoholic cocktail.

2) The Free Spirits’ Spirit of Bourbon

Another critics’ favorite, the non-alcoholic Spirit of Bourbon, focuses on oaky-toffee flavors with a hint of toasted almond and brown sugar. The philosophy of this spiritless spirits company has an additional focus on wellness, so they “infuse each of our products with vitamins B3, B6 and natural Aminos like Taurine that your body naturally produces to aid in all kinds of good stuff, including helping your overall mood.” All their products are gluten-free and vegan.

3) Lyre’s American Malt

A bottle of Lyre's non-alcoholic bourbon.
Source: Lyres.com

They wanted this non-alcoholic bourbon to “capture the essence of a gently mellowed American Classic Bourbon Malt,” and they’ve done so for our money. It tastes like vanilla, nuts, and herbs, with a mellow finish that works great even just mixed with cola. The Lyre’s brand is fun and confident (they say their spirits “look, taste, smell and sashay around your palate just like the original”), and they make all the classic spirits, all without alcohol. 

4) Drummerboy American Dark

They recommend a non-alcoholic bourbon with “notes of caramel, molasses, spiced vanilla, and toasted nuts” for a Bourbon & Coke that won’t give you a horrible hangover. Made in Australia, we appreciate that they appreciate a good ole’ American spirit. While some non-alcoholic spirit companies make their products by removing alcohol after the fact, Drummerboy makes their drinks from scratch with essences, extracts, and distillates. 

5) Sobour Bourbonesque

Described as an “alcohol-free alternative to American Bourbon,” we love the suggestion of a smoky flavor mixed with caramel and maple. It’s technically going for Rye, but we think it has enough of a bourbon feel to it to include it on our list.

6) BARE Zero Proof Bourbon Whiskey

A bottle of Bare Zero Proof bourbon.
Source: Enjoybare.com

BARE Zero Proof is a line of alcohol-free spirits produced with a collection of “renowned expert bartenders… painstakingly crafted over three years.” The (zero) proof is in their products, and their take on non-alcoholic bourbon makes for impressively delicious cocktails. That, and we love their bottle design.

7) Arkay Non-Alcoholic Bourbon

Arkay was established in 2011 — by a father horrified by his son’s bad hangover — and is among the first alcohol-free whiskies ever made. We’re putting their non-alcoholic bourbon on this list for that reason, although it’s gotten some pretty gnarly reviews in the past. Still, don’t knock it ‘till you’ve knocked it back. That’s what we always say.

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