For some people, reducing or removing alcohol from their lifestyle is a health or mental wellness decision. For others, it’s about choosing lighter, less boozy cocktail options to enjoy that won’t slow you down at parties, barbecues, and concerts on long summer nights. Whatever your reason, we’re not talking near-beer anymore as modern NA (non-alcoholic) spirits have reached new levels of flavor and quality.
Spiritless is leading the way in the NA category as a women-owned and operated brand that employs innovative distillation and reverse distillation techniques to ensure that flavor is never sacrificed in crafting an alcohol-free spirit. The company’s inaugural release was Kentucky 74, an NA bourbon-style spirit that can be used in any classic whiskey cocktail. It’s close enough to the real thing to already have landed a gold medal at the 2021 LA Spirits Awards for Best Non-Alcoholic Spirit. Give this one a try the next time you want an Old Fashioned without the booze and see for yourself how it stands up to the original.
The latest to join the lineup is Jalisco 55, an alcohol-free reposado tequila-style spirit that stands out from the pack by really replicating the flavor profile that comes from barrel aging. The herbaceous and earthy notes of a classic tequila flavor profile lead the way on the palate, along with hints of black pepper, spice, vanilla, and citrus. This makes Jalisco 55 a great alternative to tequila in a Margarita or Paloma because it provides all the character of an aged tequila without any of the alcohol. And it’s an excellent choice for entertaining a crowd on a hot, late-summer evening, when you might want to reduce the amount of alcohol in your cocktails so your company can mingle till the wee hours without tiring out.
According to Spiritless co-founder and CEO Lauren Chitwood, the process by which Jalisco 55 is made is similar to that of the original Kentucky 74, though the end results are very different in flavor and style. And while she can’t reveal every detail without giving away the secret recipe, the basics are interesting enough on their own.
“We start with a corn-based neutral spirit and use a mixture of oak blends and char, both proprietary, to create the flavor,” she says. The liquid undergoes a reverse distillation process in which the ethanol is removed and repurposed for the next batch.
“In short, the base (high-proof alcohol) is used as a vehicle to create extraction from the wood,” Chitwood says, “meaning that it’s the cook time and temperatures that evoke and develop the flavor profile.” Jalisco 55 was designed to emulate a reposado tequila or one that has been aged in a barrel between two months and a year. Agave nectar is used as the sweetener as opposed to cane sugar for Kentucky 74, giving the former expression notes of under-ripened pear, vanilla, baking spice, and hints of mint and aloe. This really makes it stand out, because while there are many NA options out there the tequila-style category is still one that is under-represented.
The NA category as a whole, however, continues to expand, and Chitwood is understandably feeling bullish about the prospects of its future. The number of adults who participated in Dry January this year (the annual month of alcohol abstinence) increased to more than one in three. But she also notes that many NA customers aren’t necessarily totally sober, and instead are just looking for ways to enjoy a drink or two with less alcohol. “The data shows that most people are using NA beverages to moderate their drinking throughout the month, not to fully replace alcohol,” she says. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve hit the low-ABV message harder than other brands. We’ve even trademarked the term ‘HALFSIES’ to help support that messaging.” The concept is a simple one – for example, instead of using 2 ounces of tequila in your drink, try a 1:1 ratio of full-strength tequila to Jalisco 55.
So whether you are looking to completely cut alcohol out of your life, or just want to try a low-ABV drink that is significantly less boozy, Spiritless has a cocktail recipe for you. And the brand new Jalisco 55 is the perfect new component to mix with.
Here are three recipes, both low-proof and no-proof, to try for yourself this summer.
This article is sponsored by Spiritless.
The article Spiritless Offers a New Way to Indulge All Summer Long appeared first on VinePair.