Have you ever wanted to try non-alcoholic cocktail spirits? With alcohol alternatives, can mocktails can have more flavor and complexity? Today I’m sharing my honest review of Ritual Zero Proof products and whether you should put them on your bar cart.
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Tell me I’m wrong: Mocktails are the underdog of beverages.
If you go to a bar and order a mocktail, you’d probably expect to get a frilly Shirley Temple, with a little umbrella and fancy straw to make sure it looks like a cocktail. I know that’s what I’d expect, too.
As delicious as Shirley Temples are, I probably wouldn’t even order a mocktail. Or worse, a “virgin” drink. I’d just stick with water, iced tea or a soda.
I may be a cocktail blogger, but let me be perfectly clear: There are many, many reasons not to drink (because you’re the designated driver, pregnant, sober, dieting, have an important meeting tomorrow, etc.) and all of them are no one else’s business. Choosing not to drink shouldn’t have a stigma.
BUT choosing not to drink doesn’t ALSO have to be boring or flavorless or any less fun than choosing to do so. Mocktails don’t have to be ridiculous or pink like Shirley Temples.
That’s why I was so intrigued to try zero-proof spirits. Alcohol alternatives. Fake booze. Spirits without the buzz. Whatever you want to call them.
I had to try them for myself. I ordered a trio of Ritual Zero Proof products and thought I’d share my thoughts with you. I purchased these with my own money and this post is not sponsored in any way. (Though there are affiliate links present in this post and I may receive a kickback if you make a purchase after clicking one of them.)
What does “zero proof” mean?
When it comes to alcohol, proof is the measurement of how much ethanol (alcohol) is in the liquid. It is measured in degrees — 100 degrees proof is equal to 50% alcohol by volume (also known as ABV), which is double the percentage of ABV.
For example, 100-proof alcohol contains 50% alcohol by volume. A much stronger 190-proof alcohol is equal to 95% ABV.
Zero proof alcohol, then, contains no alcohol at all! It is simply a liquid that has been flavored to taste like alcohol without actually containing any.
What does an alcohol alternative taste like?
The short answer: kinda like alcohol.
But the long answer is within that “kinda.” Flavorings are added to water to give them a similar bite, without the booze.
Ritual makes theirs with softened, carbon filtered water that’s then filtered through reverse osmosis. The filtration uses a semi-permeable, thin membrane with small pores that can pass water through while also rejecting larger molecules and impurities like bacteria.
Ritual makes three alcohol alternatives that taste like gin, tequila and whiskey. I tried them all and wanted to share my thoughts and suggestions for enjoying them. Here goes!
This alternative to bourbon tastes as you'd expect bourbon to taste but without the burn of alcohol. It smells like vanilla, and that's the first flavor to hit your tastebuds too. Then it morphs into notes of caramel, spices and oak.
With the addition of a mesquite flavor, it has a similar kick to whiskey, but it lacks the heaviness and viscosity. The smoothness is spot on, though.
Try it in: A virgin Seelbach Cocktail with sparkling cider or a Kentucky Mule with ginger beer and lime.
Ritual's Gin Alternative is actually quite nice to sip on its own, like an herbal flavored water. It has a botanical bite much like gin.
Complex and slightly sour, look for flavors of pine, flowers, herbs and a hint of lime when you add it to a mocktail.
Try it in: a simple faux gin & tonic, with lime juice and tonic water or a flavored one like this mandarin orange gin & tonic.
This tequila alternative, or even mezcal alternative, packs a pretty flavorful punch. The mesquite and pepper flavorings give this faux version a similar burn to the old tequila shot.
With hints of salt and lime, it adds some of the familiar vibes from mezcal and tequila to any mocktail.
Try it in: A Mexican Mule mocktail, a virgin bloody mary or any of these margarita recipes (use orange juice in place of triple sec)
If you’re intrigued by these alcohol alternatives, my advice is to give them a try. They’re all actually quite lovely! Let me know what you think in the comments. // susannah
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