Every Curious Elixirs Booze-Free Cocktail, Ranked

Alcohol-free beverages are becoming increasingly popular at restaurants and bars, and it's created a rush for companies to develop products that can meet the taste needs of the consumer while still being marketed as a cool, ABV-free alternative to traditional cocktails. One of the companies doing just that is Curious Elixirs. Its booze-free cocktails, which are also vegan and made with organic ingredients, are developed by a team of herbalists, bartenders, and food scientists for maximum flavor and an ethereal drinking experience. Each sip is filled with a blend of botanicals, roots, barks, and flowers to create an entirely plant-based and nourishing drinking experience with the social vibe of a cocktail. Its entire lineup is also gluten-free and caffeine-free. 

Curious Elixir cocktails are currently available on the company's website, where customers can purchase singular flavors or opt for its Curious Cocktail Club, a monthly variety pack that includes an assortment of four flavors. We sat down, cocktail glass in hand, to try Curious Elixir's entire flavor lineup. We based our rankings on several factors. Overall, we looked for a cohesive beverage that mimicked the flavors of the alcoholic cocktail that it was trying to recreate. We also examined if the intended flavor of the booze-free cocktail actually tasted like the ingredients the company included on the label or if the taste got lost or muddled by other flavors. Here are the flavors that exceeded our expectations and the ones that fell short.

8. No. 4

No. 4 is filled with the bright, bursting flavors of summer. It's essentially a non-alcoholic Apreol Spritz but with an infusion of non-alcoholic Prosecco, American ginseng, holy basil, and turmeric. It's also set on a backdrop of traditional flavors like blood orange and green mandarin, which brings a citrusy, floral element to the beverage. 

This was the first beverage we sampled from the Curious Elixir lineup. The flavor was complex yet pleasant, yet we were a little confused by the myriad of flavors and aromas present. The main problem with this flavor is that it contains turmeric, which provides a beautiful orange hue to the beverage, but also overtakes every other flavor present in the bottle. The spice also burns the back of your throat, which mimics the effect of alcohol on the mouth. In this case, turmeric is both a blessing and a curse, but we thought the curse weighed a little heavier than the former. 

When you open this booze-free cocktail, you get a pleasant whiff of grapes and blood orange, but the grape flavor is lost when mixed with the blood orange and what tastes like grapefruit. We also don't entirely know what holy basil is, but whatever it is, you can't find it in this bottle. Overall, this flavor has potential but needs direction. 

7. No. 1

The profile of the No. 1 is supposed to resemble that of a classic Negroni Sbagliato, which is traditionally made with a bitter Italian liqueur (Campari), gin, and bubbly Presseco. Curious Elixir's variation on this beverage contains aromatic aperitifs Gentian and Rhodiola, which have roots in traditional medicine. The body of the beverage contains notes of pomegranate and orange juice, along with carbonated water, to give it a little bit of a bubbly backdrop. 

This beverage was definitely effervescent and produced a beautiful froth when we opened the container. The odor of the beverage, as well as its flavor, was more reminiscent of a bubbly apple cider than a play on a Negroni. We also noticed some notes of lemonade, which could have been considered in the pomegranate or grapefruit camp. But there was very little orange floating around, which was disappointing and a bit astray from what we expected from the flavor description. There also wasn't a gin-like burn on the back of the palate. 

It's not that No. 1 was a poor choice to sip on, but its flavors just didn't reflect the description. In fact, the flavor tastes like No. 4, just without the turmeric. 

6. No. 8

No. 8 is Curious Elixir's first non-alcoholic spirit, compared to its other products, which are considered "cocktails" and designed to be consumed at any time of day. This flavor is designed for after-dinner sipping, like an amaro, port, aperitif, or digestif. No. 8 includes a fruity blend of blueberries, blackberries, and figs, as well as a trio of adaptogenic mushrooms designed to increase natural immunity and promote relaxation. What more could you want from an after-dinner drink?

Our main concern with No. 8 was that it was going to be medicinal like an after-dinner digestif tends to be. And this beverage was delivered on those promises. The one prop we will give this beverage is that its advertising accurately reflects what was in the bottle. The blackberry and fig juice flavor was the first thing to hit our palate, as well as the punch-you-in-the-face flavor of blackstrap molasses. We didn't detect any woodsy flavor of the mushrooms because we were overwhelmed by the berry and fig juice flavor. The ginger didn't burn on the back of the mouth like the other beverages, which was a pleasant change. 

Never many fans of after-dinner spirits, we are admittedly biased when assessing this bottle. Although it accurately reflected the ingredients on the label, it wouldn't be a beverage we would have again. 

5. No. 6

If you like Pina Coladas ... then you'll enjoy No. 6. More specifically, this flavor was inspired by the tropical Painkiller cocktail, which is traditionally made with dark rum, orange juice, cream of coconut, and a dash of nutmeg on top. But, the No. 6 makes the beverage both low-sugar and non-alcoholic by including coconut and oat milk to craft this creamy concoction. The company also included the essence of blackstrap molasses, rather than the syrup itself, to keep the sugar content (and the calories) low. 

No. 6 is the only product in the brand's selection that is made in a can and sans carbonation, so traveling to your ideal tropical destination is easy. However, we found that this characteristic came to the can's detriment. It would have been better if it had a Nitro-like float to it, but it just came out like a bottle of pineapple juice that had been sitting on the counter for too long. 

The pineapple flavor was paramount in this beverage, as well as the nutmeg. We were glad that the nutmeg didn't overtake the rest of the beverage. The coconut was also relatively subdued, which was a good option for pairing this beverage. There was also a pleasant orange profile, which brought this flavor together more cohesively than the other ones we sampled. It was light, bright, and had just a tinge of rummy flavor. More froth, and we'd be golden. 

4. No. 7

No. 7 was a limited-release cocktail from the brand that is designed to taste like an elderflower-liqueur-based French 77. Curious Elixirs takes the booze out of the equation for this cocktail but leaves the floral elements of Chardonnay grapes and elderflower essence paired with lavender and green tea extract. 

The aroma of this bottle was definitely elderflower-forward at first whiff. Its flavor was the most booze-like of any of the bottles we sampled. The grape flavor was the moderate yet pleasant backdrop to the otherwise obscure flavors that hit our palate first. Our primary issue with this cocktail was that it tasted like a light beer (and gave us flashbacks to college keg parties) — and not a good beer at that. There was also a very clear undertone of green tea that tasted borderline fermented. Some honey may have curbed this odd flavor, and a little less lemon. We also couldn't detect the juniper or the lavender. 

If you want to have a booze replacement, this is the closest you'll get to. We just can't promise that the sips are going to be pleasurable. 

3. No. 3

If you want to de-stress, reach for a bottle of No. 3. The Cucumber Collins inspired this blend of calming and soothing flavors like cucumber and lemon. It's infused with ashwagandha extract, which is supposed to reduce feelings of stress and increase energy. 

Cucumber doesn't have much taste to it, so we were concerned about how this flavor would be emulated in the beverage. And this fear was actualized when we opened the bottle and smelled a powerful aroma akin to a sour limeade. The beverage itself doesn't elicit the same burn on the back of your throat as the No. 4 did, which earned it some brownie points. As far as flavors go, we really only detected the lemon, which could have easily passed for a lime. There's also a subtle bitter flavor in this beverage that we couldn't quite identify but was pleasant nonetheless. Unfortunately, this selection didn't help us find our zen as we would have expected. But, it was a beverage with enough flavor balance to ensure we would consider drinking it again. 

2. No. 2

It's fair to say that No. 2 has a lot going on. It's a mixture of the pineapple margarita and the Dark and Stormy, which is made with dark rum, bitters, lime, and ginger beer. We were admittedly hesitant to try this beverage because its many flavors, while they go well together, might easily overwhelm one another. We were also interested in trying this flavor because its ingredients included damiana, a medicinal flower that doubles as an aphrodisiac. 

When we opened this bottle, we immediately noticed the smell of pineapple. But, once we took a sip, we got the impression that this beverage was just ginger beer in a fancy bottle. The ginger seared the back of our throats in a pleasant way that isn't far from a non-alcoholic ginger beer — or an alcoholic concoction. But there were no other flavors we registered besides the bubbly root. Although it was a really good ginger beer (and one that we indeed finished off the bottle), it lacks the title of a "cocktail." 

1. No. 5

Whiskey fans, this one is for you. The No. 5 has notes of oaky dark cherry and chocolate, as well as floral infusions like elderberry to boost immunity and ginger to aid in digestion. This cocktail also contains small amounts of organic smoke and cayenne, which packs the perfect back-of-mouth heat. 

The odor of this bottle was strong on the whiskey front and had borderline savory tones from the liquid smoke infused into the elixir. At first sip, we were entranced by this bottle's flavors. There was heat from the cayenne and the salt and an underlying oaky flavor from the inclusion of chickory — so much so that we almost thought it tasted like an alcoholic rootbeer gone rogue. We didn't think that the cherry flavor in this beverage was as medicinal as the No. 8 bottle that we also sampled. There were some subtle, yet not overpowering, orange and elderberry notes as well. This was our favorite beverage out of all the Curious Elixirs because it was complex, like a good cocktail should be, and had mature flavors that really elevated it from the title of "mocktail."