future designated driver
August 30, 2006 7:08 PM   Subscribe

Is there such a thing as non-alcoholic brandy or whiskey? (or other types of 'hard liquor')? How do they taste? They taste okay?
posted by jak68 to Food & Drink (13 answers total)
Try fruit juice.
posted by devilsbrigade at 7:21 PM on August 30, 2006

I can't imagine that they'd have any decent flavour at all. Much of the flavour of hard liquors like you describe comes from the alcohol and its interaction with the various other volatile compounds.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:22 PM on August 30, 2006

A quick googling brings up only non-alcoholic triple-sec (which might not be that bad) and stuff like bloody mary mix.

I'd be very surprised if there was anything else out there, and I can't imagine what it would possibly taste like.
posted by crabintheocean at 7:44 PM on August 30, 2006

There is a bar in Mexico City that offers non-alcoholic drinks that taste like the real thing (tequila, whiskey, rum, beer). It has received a lot of press recently. A newspaper article (Google translation) mentions that the drinks are made with the same base ingredients, but they are not fermented. They also use imported essences, except for tequila.

Some AA groups go there to party.

So yes, they exist, altough I'm not sure if you could find them in your location. I haven't gone there, so I don't know what the drinks taste like, but I want to go someday.
posted by clearlydemon at 7:54 PM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Technically not, they're not exaclty 'hard' liquor if there's not any alcohol in them, however,

Alcohol itself is a colourless and tasteless liquid, but most of the flavour in hard liquors would probably be as a result of esterification with the compunds that are found in the fruits/grains/sugars that are fermented in order to produce the alcohol itself. Once the liquor is created, I suppose it would be possible to distil the alcohol out of the mixture, but as most hard liquors are 30-40% alcohol, I don't think this would be very economical, so my thoughts are that you probably won't find much of it anywhere.(I may be wrong, this is a conclusion I have drawn based on first year chemistry.)
posted by cholly at 8:05 PM on August 30, 2006

They don't have Claytons in the US? Wow.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:43 PM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thanks guys; another other ideas or suggestions?
posted by jak68 at 10:08 PM on August 30, 2006

When I make carrots vichy, I add about 5 tablespoons of brandy to the cooked carrots then ignite it on the stove burner and shake it off until most of the alcohol is burned off.

Alcohol burns very cool so I'd imagine you could just put your desired spirit in a shallow pan, light it and agitate it so as much alcohol as possible is burned off, and you'll be left with the parts that aren't alcoholic. The resultant mixture'd probably be more like 3-5% alcohol than 40%
posted by spatula at 11:15 PM on August 30, 2006

Shirley Temple?

I always just drink alot of soda when I'm a DD.
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:54 AM on August 31, 2006

Response by poster: I always just drink alot of soda when I'm a DD.

yes, i'll prolly do that; but I was curious about non-alky hard drinks; i havent come across any in the U.S. so was wondering.

Spatula - thats an intriguing (if slightly dangerous) idea. ;) I'll have to try it sometime. I'll sell the result as a flaming-jay. ;)
posted by jak68 at 10:01 AM on August 31, 2006

Best answer: From the Cook's Thesaurus:
brandy extract Notes: People use this to impart the flavor of brandy without the alcohol. Though brandy extracts are made with alcohol, such a small amount is needed in any recipe that the end product is virtually non-alcoholic.
posted by Sara Anne at 10:09 AM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

I tasted non-alcoholic champagne at a New Year's party once... I'm not kidding when I say it tasted like vomit.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:38 PM on August 31, 2006

Response by poster: sara anne - brandy extract sounds promising and seems like the closest thing that might be found in the US. Googling it further shows a) its primarily used in cooking (cakes etc) or added to coffee for flavored coffee (yum!). It can also be mixed with water (or fruit juices) in 1:4 ratio for a straight-up drink.

I'll look for it next time I'm in the vanilla extract aisle of my grocery store. ;)

Thanks everyone!
posted by jak68 at 9:43 PM on August 31, 2006

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