Ritual Whiskey Alternative
Ritual Whiskey Alternative
Whiskey / Ritual NA / 0.0%
This drink smells like rye whiskey. It’s just a little sweeter and more caramelly at the end.
As for the taste (again, RZP isn’t made for sipping), it’s very sweet and thin. But it does a good job getting the flavors from the oak. And you also get that very spicy kick mid palate.
The non-alcoholic spirit industry is not quite booming just yet, but there are some brands that are establishing a name for themselves on the ground level. Ritual is one of those brands, creating zero proof versions of a number of classic spirits including gin, tequila, and rum. Of course, the style of booze-free spirit that will always be under the most scrutiny is also my personal favorite, whiskey. It has to be tough to retain all the complexities of a quality traditional whiskey without any of the alcohol content, but Ritual has not shied away from establishing it as one of their flagship spirits.
Whiskey comes in all different shapes and sizes; bourbon, scotch, Irish, and now non-alcoholic. Ritual markets this spirit as simply an American whiskey, which could mean any number of things. It seems to be designed specifically for someone like me, who enjoys a fine glass of whiskey but also wants to be health-conscious in reducing my alcohol and calorie intake. If someone is able to perfect all of the aspects of a top-flight whiskey while also eliminating all of the negative effects that it can have on the human body, I’ll be at the front of what is sure to be a long line. Continue reading this Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey review to find out if they are the company who has done just that.
Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey Review
In terms of presentation, the bottle of Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey is simple, elegant, and very appealing to the eye. The playing white label is adorned with vertical running font, the name of the product at the center with important ingredients like “American Oak” and “Toasted Spices” listed on either side of it. The neck of the label has a paper band with brief descriptors letting us know this product is gluten-free and all-natural.
The back label has a good amount of information regarding the intent of this whiskey. Long story short, the company seems focused on making as healthy a product as they can that reasonably mimics a traditional whiskey. There are just 10 calories per serving, as well as two grams of carbs, which is shockingly low compared to the 100+ that are typically found in traditional versions.
The liquid is a nice deep amber color with a bit of haze to it. With any NA product there is concern about a watered down quality where much of the flavor gets subdued. The first whiff of this whiskey convinces me that won’t be a problem here. There is a forceful malted caramel sweetness that punches you in the nose. It approaches the line of too much without going over and is quite delightful when you sit with it.
Vanilla also comes through and balances out that caramel malt nicely. There may be some hints of botanical underneath, but they are a bit tricky to flesh out. All of these aromas are pleasant, but they don’t answer the question, “Is Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey good?” Let’s take a sip and find out.
Is Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey Good?
Wow. That is my honest first reaction to what is a very complex tasting experience. I first sampled this neat to get an unhindered taste. Surprisingly there is a bit of a watery quality on the front of the lips. It made me momentarily concerned that those full aromas were a smokescreen. But as the liquid moves to the back of the mouth and down the throat it transforms remarkably quickly into that vanilla and malt combination with a generous amount of bite.
This boozy burn is something that I have never before found in an NA version of an alcoholic drink. I am very interested to understand which element gives it that kick, but it is a clear attempt to make you forget that what you are sipping is free of alcohol. In fact, I think they may have overdone it a notch, as that kick really sits in your throat for a bit.
There isn’t much difference to the tasting experience when poured over ice. I also sampled the spirit in a simple Old Fashioned, as recommended on their website, and the flavors do work quite well with the bitters and citrus elements added.
The mouthfeel is somewhat complicated to evaluate. Overall the body of the spirit is solid, but that watery texture up front taints what ends up turning into a solid feel later on. It’s rather remarkable how distinct the pieces of the spirit taste as it moves through your mouth.
Coming up with a fair Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey rating is going to prove difficult, because despite all of the strong characteristics the tasting experience isn’t ultimately all that satisfying. I have a lot of factors to weigh in coming up with a fair grade.
Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey Rating
When creating anything with a complex flavor profile, I believe that the goal should be for the whole to end up as better than the sum of the parts. The big problem that I have with this whiskey is that all of those parts are too clearly distinct from each other. I can tell what they were going for with each separate element, but at no point do they blend together and add up to something greater. Instead they stay partitioned, and it’s a bit frustrating to the senses.
I do think that creating a quality whiskey sans alcohol is an extremely tough ask, so it is probably only fair to grade on a bit of a curve. And as I said, most of the elements are present, they just don’t seem to work together in the best way possible. Still, there is a lot to like from the aromas to the individual flavors themselves. I think it is only fair then to end this Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey review by awarding it 3 out of 5 stars, right down the middle. Ritual is still a relatively new company, so if they can find a way to bring everything together they could have a really great product on their hands.
Photo Credit: https://www.thezeroproof.com/