Clean Co produces a range of non-alcoholic “spirit alternatives” — including a non-alcoholic vodka, even — and while I’d like to tell you how they’re made, the company behind them doesn’t share a lot of information on that front. Available primarily in the UK, the Clean Co lineup is made without sweeteners or gluten and carries a whopping 10 calories per 1.5 ounce serving. (They do include glycerin, which is noticeable on the viscous body.)
We received samples of two of Clean Co’s products for review. Let’s try them both, sober-style.
Clean Co Clean G Gin Alternative – A nose of lemon-lime and flat ginger ale don’t immediately evoke gin, and the whole affair comes across as slightly sweet. If you thought this was watered down Sprite syrup, I’d understand. The palate is even stronger on the lime tip, starting with slightly bitter lime leaf and moving to lime juice. What’s missing here completely is juniper, which is the essential part of the gin puzzle and which doesn’t ever make an appearance. It actually mixes OK with sparkling mixers and isn’t even terrible in a negroni, but you are well advised to avoid trying to make a martini out of it. B-
Clean Co Clean G Tequila Alternative – A vague tequila something is evident on the nose, though time with the product in glass reveals a combination akin to white sugar, mint, basil, and lemon/lime flavoring. On the palate, there’s nothing even resembling a bite here, the somewhat watery character providing a simplistic base for a lightly vegetal character on the tongue. It’s more grassy than agave-driven, though a spritz of lemon on the finish is a welcome addition to an otherwise unremarkable experience. It’s better in a margarita, but the lack of any kind of agave-driven bite leaves you feeling like you’re mainly sipping through a glass of undoctored margarita mix. B-
each $30 (700ml) / clean.co