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Zero Rum | All The Flavor of Rum Without the Alcohol!

A varied assortment of rums besides a bottle of homemade non-alcoholic rum

Hi, Friends of Cocktails! Today we’re making Zero Rum, and with it we’ll make a Non-Alcoholic Daiquiri and a Cuba Libre. Let me start off by saying that of all the non-alcoholic alternatives I made on the channel, this one is my favorite, and it will of course be based on the book ZERO, A New Approach to Non-Alcoholic Drinks.

This recipe is aiming at an alternative to a Spanish style rum, which I liked, but still adjusted slightly, based on some testing. We’ll jump straight into it, but if you know somebody that you think would like a non-alcoholic cocktail, send them this link, or better yet, surprise them by making what I’ll show you today. It’s Mocktail Time!

An alcohol-free Cuba Libre cocktail made with Zero Rum

Zero Rum

● 600g Unsweetened Coconut Water

● 400g Water

● 50g Sugar

● 20g Fresh Orange Peels

● 6g Cacao Nibs

● 2g Nutmeg

● 1g Vanilla Bean

Once you have all your ingredients weighed out, you’ll want to slightly crush the cacao nibs and nutmeg, and I like to use a mortar and pestle for this. This will increase their surface area, and they’ll give out more flavor. For the same reason, let's cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out some of the seeds. We want all of this to be ready, because we’ll have to add it to the caramelized sugar quickly, so add the sugar to a pot and place on medium heat, until it gets nice and brown. 

Make sure you don’t burn the sugar, we’re just looking for those nice caramel, toffee notes. Once you’re there, let’s add all of the flavoring agents we prepped before and toast them for about 10 seconds then pour in the coconut water. Stir this constantly until it gets to a boil, and once it reaches the boiling point turn off the heat, close the pot with a lid and let this infuse for 1 hour. It’s now time to filter out our Zero Rum, and I’ll be using a coffee filter.

Since we don’t have any alcohol in this to act as a preservative, you should of course keep this in the fridge and use it within a few days. So feel free to make a smaller batch, or add to smaller bottles and place it in the freezer for another time - just keep in mind not to fill them up all the way because the liquid inside will expand as it freezes. That’s basically it, it’s a really simple process, and you can turn your end-product into blackstrap rum by adding 5g of molasses to every 100mL of your finished Zero Rum.

Now let’s give it a taste. The color is surprisingly close to what you’d expect from an aged rum, and the aroma is caramel-like, full, and you get a hint of spice. The taste of our Zero Rum is on the sweeter side, and nutty, with the overall profile closely resembling a lightly aged rum. I’d say this is an excellent substitute! With that said, keep in mind that even the best substitute, home-made or store bought, will fall short on that characteristic burn you get from alcohol. 

But even so, I have really high hopes for this alternative, especially mixed into zero-proof cocktails. So let’s make two, starting with probably the most famous rum concoction: the Daiquiri.

Zero Daiquiri

● 90mL ·  3oz Zero Rum

● 22.5mL · 0.75oz Lime Super Juice

● 15mL · 0.5oz Simple Syrup

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

As with the classic version, this will be a shaken drink, so grab your shaker. Then let’s go in with our ingredients, and we need a bit more Zero Rum than with its distilled cousin, so the flavors don’t get lost. Now fill the shaker with ice and give it a quick shake. Not so much about dilution, but we do want that aeration that comes with a shaken drink. Then double strain into a chilled coupe glass, and optionally add a garnish like a lime wheel, or just a twist of the peel. 

I’ll give this a quick taste, before we mix something else. Spicy and citrusy aroma with nutmeg and lime leads into a refreshing drink with notes of coconut, spices and a great balance of sweetness and lime. Like I said, it doesn’t have the alcoholic burn, but knowing that, you’re not sending this back. So, a Zero-Daiquiri works great, but before I make and try a non-alcoholic Cuba Libre, here’s something else you could combine with our Zero Rum.

We actually started this series of Zero-ABV replacements on our channel by making non-alcoholic Bitters, and I used them to make an Old Fashioned with Zero Whiskey, and a Zero Manhattan with non-alcoholic Sweet Vermouth. Zero Rum would work in both for a funky version of those mocktails, but as for our Zero Cuba Libre, we’ll of course pair it with lime, coke and a bit of saline solution.

Zero Cuba Libre

● 90mL ·  3oz Zero Rum

● 3 Lime Wedges

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

● Top with your Cola of choice


I’ll build this straight in a highball glass, starting with the lime wedges which I’ll muddle to release the lime juice and the essential oils from the peels. Now it’s time for our non-alcoholic Spanish style Rum and saline solution. Then fill the glass with ice and top it up to the brim with your choice of Cola - extra points if you make this yourself as well. To mix the ingredients together I’ll just lift the cocktail slightly with a barspoon and for garnish add another lime wedge, and that’s it.


With lime and coke on the aroma your mind is already expecting a Cuba Libre, and you won’t be disappointed. It’s perfectly refreshing, even hinting towards the already mentioned Kevin Cola, with all the spices we added to our Zero Rum. If you’re staying away from alcohol you need to try this, and with that we’ve reached the Bottom of The Glass. To finish things off I have two fun facts about mocktails.

First one is about that term, which I always considered a bit… unflattering. But according to Merriam-Webster, the term was first used more than 100 years ago, in 1916 - so just before the Prohibition in the US, which makes sense. But even before that you could find these booze-less refreshments in cocktail books.

The Bar-Tender’s Guide from Jerry Thomas has a 15-recipe chapter with what he then called Temperance drinks. From lemonades, soda nectars, to ginger wine and more, this is a great read if you want to learn more about non-alcoholic drinks. I’ll see you all next week, with more cocktail recipes. Cheers!


Hi Kevin,

that sounds good. Thank you for the recipe. I will try it out as soon as I have time.

Greetings from Germany.

Replying to

Thank you.

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