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Zero Gin - A Non-alcoholic Gin Alternative for an Alcohol Free Negroni!

Updated: May 9


Bottle of homemade non-alcoholic gin besides an alcohol free negroni cocktail

Hi, Friends of Cocktails! Negroni week, Dry January and Sober October walk into a bar. The bartender says: “It must be Cocktail Time, because if you want a great option for a non-alcoholic Negroni, you came to the right place”. That’s right, as per popular request… Today I’m showing you how to make Non-alcoholic Gin, and since we already did Zero Vermouth and Zero Campari on the channel, you’ll finally have everything you need for the perfect bitter-sweet zero-proof cocktail, the No-groni.


If you only want to make today’s ingredient though, we’ll also make a very simple non-alcoholic G&T that’s equally as delicious. No alcohol doesn’t have to mean no flavor, and certainly doesn’t mean no fun, because making this and enjoying the result, without any side effects of alcohol, is a lot of fun. Of course, as with all non-alcoholic projects, don’t expect today’s Zero Gin to be a direct replacement of its distilled bigger brother. 


All alcohol free products have a limited capacity to retain flavors, since essential oils and water don’t want to mix and alcohol will always do a better job at extracting flavor compounds. The starting point for today’s recipe was again the book ZERO: A New Approach To Non-Alcoholic Drinks, but here I’ve really modified the recipe quite a lot after trying their juniper "tincture" from water, glycerol, and juniper berries, but the amount of glycerol added too much sweetness in my opinion.


We'll make the base of the gin substitute in a sous vide, then we'll add juniper berries for resinous pine flavor and bitterness and let that infuse overnight. So let’s begin, it’s Zero Cocktail Time!


Non alcoholic gin and tonic served in a highball glass

Rosé Foam

● 1000g Water

● 30mL · 1oz Glycerol

● 17g Lemon Peel

● 12g Crushed Coriander

● 8g Fresh Ginger

● 5g Fennel Seed

● 2.4g tartaric acid

● 2.4g ascorbic acid

● 2g Crushed Star Anise

● 1.8g White Peppercorn

● 1g Angelica Root

● 1g Salt

● 0.5g Green Cardamom

● 40g Juniper Berries

● 2g Pectinex


So for the first part we’ll be combining all the ingredients except for the juniper and the Pectinex in a sous vide bag - double seal as always - and we’ll place this in a sous vide bath for 1 hour and let it cook at 90 °C or 195 °F. We can use this higher temperature since we don’t have alcohol, and we also need a higher temperature, again because we don’t have alcohol. Once it’s done, leave this to cool completely, then cut open the bag and strain out the botanicals using a fine mesh strainer. 


Now pour the strained mixture into a blender alongside the juniper berries and pectinex, which is optional but should help us end up with a slightly clearer result. I want the juniper berries crushed, but not completely blended, so just give a few pulse blitzes. This will make sure it gives out enough flavor, but it’s still possible to filter it out later. Now place this in the fridge for about 12 hours or at least overnight, for our 0 gin to infuse.


During this time the juniper berries will infuse our non-alcoholic gin, but the Pectinex will also break down pectin, helping us filter out some of the smaller solid particles, along with the juniper berries. I’ll be using a combination of a fine mesh strainer and a coffee filter for this. If your batch is more resinous though it might clog up the filter, so in that case, use a cloth filter instead… but be prepared to throw it away after. 



Once filtered, bottle and label your zero gin. For a longer shelf life, pour it into smaller bottles and freeze it until you’ll need it, otherwise keep this in the fridge and use it up within a week. So, this is one way to make zero gin, but another option is to use juniper essential oils, but you need an emulsifier, like gum arabic or xanthan gum. Another option is food-grade Juniper Berry Hydrosol or Floral water, similar to rose water, or orange blossom water, but this can be hard to find. 


But there is one option that has 100x times the juniper flavor compounds of most non-alcoholic gin options: a gin tincture made with gin botanicals and a navy strength gin. Two sprays of that into a glass, or around 5ml (less than 0.25oz), will be enough to make what is basically a non-alcoholic Gin & Tonic. Darcy O’Neil from the channel Art of Drink has an episode about this that you don’t want to miss if you want to experiment with more ways to enjoy cocktails without the alcohol.


Zero Gin & Tonic

● 60mL · 2oz Zero Gin

● 120mL · 4oz Tonic Water

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

● Lemon Peel Coin


We’ll build the cocktail in a chilled highball glass over a clear ice spear. Clear ice makes everything look nice, and that’s equally important when you’re making non-alcoholic cocktails! So add the ingredients into the glass, gently mix everything by lifting the cocktail with a barspoon then add the garnish, a circle of lemon peel with the essential oils expressed over the cocktail. Let’s give it a quick taste before we move on to the Zero Negroni.

 

Nice lemon citrus on the nose, but on the palate it has slightly less juniper than the original. That gives room for other botanicals to step into the forefront. All things considered this is a very enjoyable non-alcoholic highball, I’m pleasantly surprised.  More than just “Not bad at all”, and since it’s 0-proof there’s no fear in trying another cocktail, even if I’m driving home, so let’s mix 3 of our zero ABV ingredients and make the No-groni.



No-groni

● 60mL · 2oz Zero Gin

● 45mL · 1.5oz Zero Sweet Vermouth

● 37.5mL · 1.25oz Zero Campari

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

● Orange Peel


This cocktail will also be built in the glass over clear ice. Now stir to chill, then express orange essential oils and place the peel in the glass. Looks like the real deal, but how does it taste? The aroma is really close to the original, with plenty of orange. On the palate it’s slightly sweeter than the original, but still pleasantly bitter, with plenty of herbal botanicals and warm spices. Not all of them correspond directly to what you’d expect in a Negroni, but it’s a great non-alcoholic alternative to the Count’s signature drink.


With that we’ve made it to The Bottom of The Glass, and with that a word of warning before we finish - as mentioned in our part 2 of Dangerous Ingredients episode, using juniper should be done with some care. First, not all species are edible, so be careful if you’ll be the one doing the foraging as well, and second, juniper should be avoided altogether if you’re pregnant, or trying to become pregnant. If you want to read more on this ingredient, check out this WebMD article, and until next week, cheers!



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