Drink of the Week: Almave Blue Agave Spirit

It’s natural to see ebbs and flows among any booming industry, and non-alcoholic spirits are no different. Since U.K.-based Seedlip more or less kicked off the concept in 2015, there has been a Cambrian explosion of products in the spirit-free sphere. This is great news for drinkers (or non-drinkers, as it were). The increasing interest from consumers and breadth of experimentation among producers has allowed for innovation and, more importantly, evolution in the category, and the new Almave Blue Agave Spirit is a good example.

Re-creating not just the flavor but the full sensory experience of sipping a spirit is no easy task. In particular, dupes (liquids made to mimic a specific spirit, such as whiskey or gin) are especially hard to nail because you already have an expectation for how it should taste. To create Almave, Iván Saldaña, co-founder of Casa Lumbre, started logically with the same blue Weber agaves that would be used to make tequila. The agaves are cooked in brick ovens, milled, and then—rather than being fermented—the liquid is immediately distilled to concentrate the flavors.

Rather than replicating the spirit exactly, the Almave, in my opinion, tastes enjoyably reminiscent of tequila, bearing earthy, vegetal, slightly sweet flavors. Without the kick of alcohol, it has the potential to get lost against extra strong flavors. But mixed in a classic Margarita or Paloma, the Almave makes for a delicious, spirit-free sipper. $36, almave.com

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