What else we tested
What we recommend
Lyre Italian Orange ($36): This bitter orange aperitif is made to be an alcohol-free Campari. It is quite good and if you’re missing Negronis in your sober life, it may be worth the money. If you’re so inclined, it makes for a nice sober mixer beyond the classic cocktails but anyone other than Campari-obsessed teetotalers can find plenty of cheaper and more accessible mixers to make a bitter orange sober cocktail with.
Lyre Aperitif Rosso ($36): This alcohol-free vermouth captures key flavors like blood orange and vanilla but much like the Italian Orange, it only speaks to such a niche corner of the marketplace — and I can’t justify recommending its $36 price tag to everyone.
What we don’t recommend
Kin Euphorics High Rhode ($39): Fortified with adaptogens and nootropics, this daytime elixir has notes of hibiscus and licorice. I liked the unique flavor, but the bottle and website provided no instructions for how to turn it into a tasty drink. Unless you have balancing and bartending knowledge, I don’t find this bottle to be worth the $40 price tag.
Kin Spritz ($30/8-pack): I really wanted to love these cute cans for their Instagrammable packaging, but the elixir inside was so astringent, which isn’t surprising considering its three main ingredients are extracts of orange peel, licorice root, and bitter orange. Neither I nor the other tasters even wanted to finish the can.
Proteau Rivington Spritz ($19.50): While I found the brand’s Ludlow Red to be quite complex and lovely, the Rivington Spritz missed the mark for me and my fellow tasters. If you’re a fan of pickled foods and ACV shots, you might like it, but I found the three main ingredients — water, champagne vinegar, and strawberry juice concentrate — created far too tart and vinegary of a flavor without any real kick, somewhat akin to watered-down kombucha.
Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey ($29): Although we liked other spirits from Ritual, its whiskey-mimic tasted heavy on the smokey without any of that bourbon bite. Similar to all zero-alcohol whiskey I tried, it was too much like a wannabe — when used in classic cocktails, it just made me want a real Old Fashioned instead of this slightly-off sober sibling. To me, it’s not worth buying.
Lyre Dry London Gin ($36): This non-alcoholic take on the classic Dry London gin is pretty agreeable, with light juniper, citrus, and earthy notes. I didn’t have any particular strikes against this spirit but the flavor doesn’t pack a hard punch, especially compared to other gin mimics on the market. I personally don’t find it to be worth the money compared to other options in this round-up.
Lyre American Malt ($36): Lyre’s non-alcoholic bourbon has bourbon’s signature vanilla and toasted nut notes but, as with all the alcohol-free whiskeys we tasted, without that zing of a real whiskey, the drinks were lackluster and tasted a bit watery. I liked it more than Ritual’s whiskey but in my opinion, this is still not worth shelling out $36 for.
Seedlip Spice 94 and Garden 108 ($32): While I appreciate the effort and care put into both of these formulas, I found Seedlip’s Spice and Garden flavors to be too one-dimensional to easily make a tasty cocktail. If you have serious home bartending skills, you can certainly craft a delicious drink with either of these. However, unless you really understand how to layer flavors and balance what’s in this bottle, save your $32.