Bourbon is a whiskey, but it’s unlike any other. It has its own fan following – connoisseurs who recognize its lovely notes of caramel, vanilla, chocolate, or oak and the mellow softness, and clean and pleasant sweetness. Are you among those fans who know their bourbon and are looking for a non-alcoholic equivalent? Do you crave the taste and feel, but want to ditch the alcohol? Here’s a rundown on non-alcoholic bourbon.
A quick note on non-alcoholic spirits
It wasn’t long ago when a non-alcoholic beverage meant compromising on taste. Those who preferred to stay off spirits were left with a poor choice–sugary mocktails or soda water. Fast-forward to today, where fantastic companies specializing in non-alcoholic spirits fill that gap. Today's NA spirits are carefully crafted from the finest ingredients–essences, distillates, and extracts sourced globally or cultivated in the most precise and controlled environments. The result is a wide range of fine non-alcoholic spirits that taste as good–if not better–than the real thing.
Why non-alcoholic bourbon?
From the first rainfall after a heatwave to a library smelling of old leather bindings and musty books, from the sweet aroma of tobacco to the smell of burning oak from a bonfire on an autumn evening, perhaps no other spirit evokes these vivid sensory experiences like whiskey. It’s no wonder that those in the business of creating non-alcoholic spirits want to emulate something that produces the same sensory perceptions in a non-alcoholic version.
Does non-alcoholic bourbon taste like the real thing?
Like other non-alcoholic spirits, non-alcoholic bourbon is designed to create the same flavors that evoke those familiar sensory experiences when drinking traditionally-made bourbon, but minus the alcohol. Use as an alternative when creating bourbon-based cocktails, serve as a simple mixed drink, or serve over ice with your choice of garnish.
Some non-alcoholic bourbons and how they compare with the real thing
Kentucky 74 was developed by women for women who start early and go late, and want something to enjoy at a weeknight business dinner. It was created for those who want something that blends beautifully and offers flexibility. Kentucky 74 is a non-alcoholic spirit that comprises the familiar notes of oak, vanilla, caramel, and smoke–reminiscent of an excellent bourbon.
Kentucky 74 is completely "spiritless" and the perfect fit for a non-alcoholic bourbon cocktail.
“I like Kentucky 74 a lot. Mix with ginger beer for a great mule.”
“Perfect for my whiskey sour.”
“So far (I’ve just recently started trying various NA spirits), this comes pretty close to the flavor of a couple of regular alcoholic bourbons that I’ve had.”
“I was not sure about what flavor to expect. It’s not quite a whiskey flavor, but I like it a lot.”
“Great for Old Fashioned’s!!!”
Lyre’s says its American Malt has been impossibly crafted to capture the essence of a mellowed American Classic Bourbon Malt. Herbal notes and generous flavors of toasted nuts, caramel, spice, charred oak, and vanilla add to this NA spirit’s complexity.
Lyre’s American Malt is best enjoyed with a classic mixer like cola. It’s also fantastic in a classic AF Manhattan cocktail or Boulevardier.
“Love this beverage–it's smoky and sweet, and the color is bourbon-eee.”
“Not great as a stand-alone (I never liked whiskey neat anyway), but really great in coffee. I’m still experimenting.”
Mashville is a sugar-free, single-batch, hand-crafted, sophisticated bourbon alternative that blends perfectly with your favorite mixed drinks. Notes and aromas of charred oak, sweet corn, red apple cider, and clove are prominent. This alcohol, gluten, allergen, and calorie-free drink is anything but weak.
Mashville can be enjoyed as a whiskey cocktail when blended with your favorite mixers.
“I like this because it has a bit of a kick that other NA bourbon alternatives seem to miss.”
“Mashville is a solid effort. The nose is perfect, and the flavor and bite at the end are spot-on. It is the best non-alcoholic bourbon alternative I’ve had–and I’ve had quite a few.”
“I’ve been in the liquor industry for over four decades and have marketed a lot of whiskey brands. I must say this is a damn good product for a non-alcoholic whiskey.”
Does non-alcoholic bourbon taste like the real thing? There's only one way to find out–try them for yourself. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised.