The market for non-alcoholic spirit options has gone from non-existent to one to watch (and possibly invest in!) The pandemic seems to have only helped its growth as well, with sales of off-premise non-alcoholic and low-alcohol products reaching $3.1 billion in 2020 alone. The trend shows no sign of slowing down either, with the ever-growing movement to be conscious and deliberate with what you put in your body, this market and its potential only makes sense.
And you don’t have to be an alcoholic to stop drinking or to just choose lower alcoholic products. Many people take frequent breaks nowadays, some people don’t drink unless it’s the weekend, some hate the way it interacts with their medications and has cut it out entirely, some are just frequently the designated driver. Whatever the reason, the point is that there is no longer a stigma of cutting back or cutting out alcohol, and quite the contrary: it is supported not only socially but now literally with more product options than ever.
Gone are the days when you order a mocktail at a bar and get a lazy lemonade from a tired bartender. Enter: non-alcoholic spirits and all their glory and possibilities!
I’m going to talk to you today about how to mix with one of the most successful non-alcoholic whiskey options on the market today: Drink Monday Whiskey. How successful you might ask? The company reports that it sold $1.3 million of its non-alcoholic gin in its first nine months of existence on the market in 2019.
Bottom Line Up Front
To make a tasty cocktail or mocktail with this beverage, you’re going to need to add fat. That means you’re adding calories and sugar that don’t exist in the Drink Monday Whiskey untampered with. I do believe this product needs body added and therefore my favorite mocktail with this non-alcoholic whiskey is the Whiskey Sour variation. The egg white gives it body and the tart lemon and lime keep it bright and interesting. Unlike other recipes in this article, it is entirely non-alcoholic.
Let’s start by discussing Drink Monday the distillery, where it came from, and what it’s up to.
Drink Monday Californian distillery, launched in 2019, that makes non-alcoholic spirits from all-natural ingredients. Their products are zero calories, zero sugar, vegan, and gluten-free (but all distilled products are gluten-free, do not be fooled by this marketing tactic!) As of the time, this article was written, Drink Monday only produces two non-alcoholic spirits: whiskey, and gin.
It was only a matter of time before I dipped my bartending toes into the pool of non-alcoholic whiskey. To say that I am a big whiskey drinker, lover of whiskey, and lover of mixing and consuming whiskey-based cocktails is an understatement. Whiskey is one of my favorite things and I love sipping it, shooting it, and mixing with it. So the concept of having an alcohol-free version of whiskey is mind-blowing to me. I honestly never thought that there would be a time when you could purchase a non-alcoholic spirit, this movement is really exciting for me. So anyway, after learning about non-alcoholic spirits and the magic of what Drink Monday does, I ordered myself a bottle!
So this bottle is 750 milliliter (standard for most booze bottles too) and it cost $45 with shipping included. I usually buy Buffalo Trace bourbon if I can find it (it’s been so hard to get in my area since the pandemic began) which usually is in the low thirty-dollar to forty-dollar range. So for me, $45 for a bottle isn’t terrible. But it better be good!
You can read more about my tasting reflections in this article, dedicated specifically to the Drink Monday Whiskey experience. In short, this is a lot of bitter, dark chocolate notes on the nose and palate, there is a lot of lemon juice upfront and a ton of cayenne in the back end. So let’s just say this packs a lot of not-so-subtle flavors that while I wouldn’t want to sip, I do see a lot of potential in mixing. That’s a good thing because that’s what I’m here to do for you today! Now let’s get to mixing!
Now one thing to take into consideration is just because you have a non-alcoholic whiskey to mix with, it doesn’t mean the drink itself needs to be completely alcohol-free. For that reason, I’m going to mix a few drinks with no alcohol and a few with a little alcohol, just to show what the flavors of this product can add to a drink. If you read my other article you know that my stance is while this is a good product, it isn’t anything like a whiskey, so to ask it to act like a whiskey is a tall order (pun intended).
First I wanted to try the Drink Monday Whiskey in a shaken drink. I had to start with one of my favorite classics: a Whiskey Sour. Now many people will not recognize this with an egg white in it, but that is the true, traditional method. I made a version both with and without the egg white for more comparison (because why not!) and tasted them side by side. Both versions of this drink are alcohol-free, and if you don’t want the egg white, all you need to do is omit it from the recipe, keep the other specifications the same. Though I will say the version with the egg white is superior, trying it without the egg white is a fun experiment.
I initially made this with classic Whiskey Sour proportions but I still didn’t care for the taste. To get a truer Whiskey Sour flavor, I added more simple syrup, nearly double. I normally wouldn’t add this much sugar to a drink, especially with an egg white, because the egg white, sugar, and booze all give a cocktail a lot of body. But since the Drink Monday Whiskey doesn’t bring the full body of a normal whiskey, this cocktail needed more. Without that extra simple syrup, the non-alcoholic Whiskey Sour was too spicy. And because the added simple syrup made things a little too sugary, I also amped up the traditional amount of lemon and lime juice. The result is satisfying and I’m very proud of it.
Tasting-wise, this does not taste like a virgin cocktail. This is full-bodied and tart, two descriptors of a great Whiskey Sour. I will say I do still miss the round, woodiness of bourbon, but this mocktail is essentially a sophisticated, pretty, lemon-lime-ade.
Drink Monday Whiskey Sour Recipe:
- 2 ounces Drink Monday Whiskey
- 1 1/4 ounce simple syrup
- 3/4 ounce lemon juice
- 3/4 ounce lime juice
- 1 egg white
Add all contents to a shaker with one ice cube, shake until you cannot hear the cube anymore. Open the shaker and fill with ice, shake again for about two more minutes. Double strain up in a coupe or martini glass.
I decided to go off-book with a shaken drink and do a small, simple riff on a Gimlet. Gimlets are traditionally done with gin, tequila, mezcal, or vodka, and when they’re made with rum they’re considered a Daiquiri. A Gimlet and Daiquiri is made with a base spirit, lime juice, and simple syrup. I figured the simple syrup would give the cocktail the necessary body it won’t get from the Drink Monday Whiskey and also fight the spice of the cayenne. Additionally, I thought that instead of lime with the Drink Monday Whiskey, grapefruit juice might work better. I thought the slightly bitter notes of the grapefruit juice would balance the lemon of the Drink Monday Whiskey. The result was an easy, crushable shaken mocktail.
Drink Monday Grapefruit Gimlet Recipe:
- 1 1/2 ounces Drink Monday Whiskey
- 3/4 ounce ruby red grapefruit juice
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- 1 lime wheel
Add the Drink Monday Whiskey, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup to a shaker with ice. Shake, strain up into a coupe. Garnish with a floating lime wheel.
Pros and Cons of the Drink Monday Whiskey in a Shaken Drink:
- The Drink Monday Whiskey does well with other ingredients when balanced properly.
- The interesting flavor profile of the Drink Monday Whiskey makes for fun mixing.
- The spice of Drink Monday makes it fun for spicy mocktails.
- Adding fat is easy in shaken drinks, and it makes balancing the Drink Monday with other ingredients easy.
- The heat of the spice in the Drink Monday makes lots of added sugar necessary.
- The lemon-forward non-alcoholic whiskey makes it challenging to add citrus, but not impossible.
How could I not make a Manhattan? It’s perhaps one of the most famous whiskey cocktails out there! Named after the Manhattan area code of 212, this classic calls for two ounces of bourbon, one ounce of sweet vermouth, and two dashes of Angostura Bitters. For the Drink Monday Whiskey option, I made lots of variations, looking for a nice, flavorful, and balanced recipe. The first was a low-alcohol Manhattan, utilizing the Drink Monday Whiskey with alcoholic sweet vermouth. That tasted just fine. The sweet vermouth gave somebody, but in the end, it was overpowered by the spice of the Drink Monday finish. I won’t bother with that recipe, you can try it if you want, you already know the specifications!
But I kept experimenting with Drink Monday. The second Manhattan I made was entirely non-alcoholic, utilizing Lyre’s version of non-alcoholic sweet vermouth, their Apertifo Rosso.
Side note: I am a big fan of this non-alcoholic sweet vermouth option from Lyres. If you’re on the fence about trying this product, consider this your sign to go for it. It’s light and bright, slightly floral. I wouldn’t guess it was non-alcoholic sweet vermouth at all! But I digress, I mixed this in several ways with the Drink Monday Whiskey, here are my thoughts.
In the traditional ‘212’ recipe, the Drink Monday spice overpowers the drink, which is overall very watery. I, therefore, riffed on a Manhattan in a few ways.
NA Manhattan Riff Recipe:
- 2 ounces Drink Monday Whiskey
- 1-ounce Lyre’s Apertifo Rosso
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 1 barsoon Maraschino cherry syrup
- 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters (alcoholic)
- 1 Maraschino Cherry
In a mixing glass with ice, add all ingredients but cherry. Stir, strain into a coupe with cherry as a garnish.
I found that that thick cherry syrup with the simple gave the cocktail more body, and while it still doesn’t taste like a Manhattan, it’s a solid mocktail option.
Low ABV Black Manhattan Recipe:
- 2 ounces Drink Monday Whiskey
- 1-ounce Lyre’s Apertifo Rosso
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 1/2 ounce Averna Amaro (alcoholic)
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters (alcoholic)
In a mixing glass with ice, add all ingredients and stir. Strain up into a coupe or Classic Manhattan glass.
A Black Manhattan is a Manhattan with Averna instead of sweet vermouth. This makes it denser, darker, and spicier. The Averna for all those reasons, pairs well with the Drink Monday Whiskey and this cocktail will be a nice, low-alcohol option for someone who wants a drink that packs a punch.
And since I am such a fan of Lyre’s Apertifo Rosso, I made a reversed Manhattan with it, which was nice, so I’m going to share that recipe as well! And you can do this either completely alcohol-free or use cava to top it instead of seltzer for a lower alcohol option!
Reversed Manhattan (either NA or low-ABV, you choose) Recipe:
- 2 ounces Lyre’s Apertif Rosso
- 2 ounces cava or seltzer water
- 1-ounce Drink Monday Whiskey
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters (alcoholic)
- In a mixing glass with ice, combine all ingredients but seltzer water (or cava), stir.
- Strain into a rocks glass with 1 large cube, top with your choice of seltzer water or cava.
I had to make another iconic stirred cocktail: the Old Fashioned, with the Drink Monday Whiskey. I went more classic with this recipe, choosing not to muddle fruit. The result was like the Drink Monday Whiskey, a little disappointing. While there isn’t anything wrong with this, it simply doesn’t taste like an Old Fashioned. Still, as a mocktail it is good, as an Old Fashioned substitute, it falls a little flat. I would therefore recommend muddling two orange wedges and a Maraschino cherry in your non-alcoholic Old Fashioned, to compete with the heat of the cayenne spice the Drink Monday Whiskey packs.
Please note that bitters do contain alcohol, making this not entirely alcohol-free, the wildly low in alcohol.
Drink Monday NA Old Fashioned Recipe:
In a rocks glass:
- Add a sugar cube
- 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
- 1 dash of orange bitters
- 2 orange wedges
- 1 Maraschino cherry
- 1/2 ounce filtered water
- Muddle, stir until sugar is dissolved
- 2 ounces Drink Monday Whiskey and ice
- Express orange swath over the cocktail, drop-in drink
- Garnish further with a skewered Maraschino cherry
Next, I couldn’t resist the urge to make this into a Hot Toddy variation. I thought the heat from the spice would do well with the mellowing hot water, and a dash of honey syrup would also add a little body. Making honey syrup, it’s just like making simple syrup. Add equal parts, of honey, to filtered water and mix until it’s cohesive. This is a great Toddy to drink if you feel a cold coming on, it will soothe your throat and clear your sinuses!
Drink Monday Toddy Recipe:
- 2 ounces Drink Monday Whiskey (hot tip: make this 1 ounce of the Drink Monday and 1-ounce bourbon for a more rounded, alcoholic version!)
- 1/4 ounce honey syrup
- 4 ounces of hot water
- 1 lemon swath
- In a toddy mug, combine all ingredients but lemon swath and stir slightly.
- Express lemon swath over toddy and drop in for garnish.
Pros and Cons of the Drink Monday Whiskey in a Stirred Drink:
- The Drink Monday Whiskey does well with herbal liqueurs like the Averna Amaro.
- The Drink Monday Whiskey also pairs well with a full-bodied, alcoholic sweet vermouth, though you should change the proportions so that the sweet vermouth balances the Drink Monday’s spice.
- The Drink Monday Whiskey does not taste like whiskey, so making it in many stirred classics won’t recreate the same flavors.
- The Drink Monday Whiskey doesn’t have anybody, so you still need to add sugars or actual alcohol to get that mouthfeel of a cocktail. (They often feel watery.)
Drink Monday Whiskey as a Highball
The simplest and easiest way to consume Drink Monday Whiskey is possible as a highball. I say this because I don’t think the Drink Monday Whiskey is good to sip on its own. Adding soda water is a nice and easy way to calm the hits of the cayenne pepper and the hard hits of the lemon juice. I recommend experimenting with flavored seltzers as well. Grapefruit, for example, pairs well with it.
And if you’re still getting too much of the lemon and spice, I’d recommend adding a half-ounce of either simple syrup, honey, or agave. It will cut and balance those harsh flavors.
FAQs About the Best Drink Monday Whiskey Cocktails:
Answer: The greatest challenge is that the Drink Monday Whiskey doesn’t have anybody or roundness to it, so adding sugar is a necessity to make a mocktail feel like a cocktail. Furthermore, that spiciness overtakes a drink easily, which makes even more sugar necessary.
Answer: Absolutely. I would not sip on this product.
Answer: If not consuming sugar or calories is your intention, then yes. But if you’re just looking for a tasty drink, without alcohol, adding sugar helps.
Answer: Taste your products on their own first. Try to identify some tasting notes and think about if it were food, what would you pair that with? Next, I always add the two ingredients together in a shot glass, about a bar spoon at a time, to see how they pair together. Time for a third — and maybe more — ingredients! Remember, it’s okay to make mistakes! This is why I start small. Once you like what you’ve done, make the proportions bigger and have fun with it!
Answer: If you are going to split the base with an alcoholic product, I’d recommend avoiding rye. The spice of the rye won’t mesh well with that cayenne hit of the Drink Monday. And overall I’d just say get creative, maybe make your flavored syrups. You can try different juices, maybe some exotic ones, and you can even amp up the spice of the Drink Monday to make more of a spicy Margarita cocktail. Just don’t let yourself be limited by classics and their proportions because remember – this is not a whiskey, this is a non-alcoholic spirit.
Final Thoughts on The Best Drink Monday Whiskey Cocktails
It’s an exciting time to be sober, whether it’s a trial or a new way of life, the industry is supporting that. With new products like Drink Monday’s Whiskey and other non-alcoholic spirit options, the future is bright.
While I do think that Drink Monday Whiskey has a little way to go as a non-alcoholic whiskey option, it offers a lot of opportunities for fun ways to mix. As far as an option for something that isn’t a boring old soda or lemonade at a bar, I’m excited to see what more bartenders and restaurants come up with down the line.
In short, this is a whole new world that I’m excited to be a part of. I hope that some of these recipes either inspire you or taste delicious to you. Happy mixing, happy sipping, and happy sobriety!