Welcome to Like A Virgin, a column in which we recommend a different zero-ABV drink each week. They’re not “near beers,” they’re not “mocktails”—they’re delicious beverages that anyone and everyone should try at least once. Got an idea for a future Like A Virgin column? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As someone who spent far too many years trying to get and stay sober, I am unequivocally grateful that the non-alcoholic beverages market is exploding. Hell, I’m grateful the market exists at all, because it wasn’t all that long ago that the idea of zero-proof liquor sounded like a fantasy. That being said, though I truly appreciate that so many brands are trying to give sober folk better beverage options, it seems the market has yet to reach the point where the majority of those options taste good.
Though non-alcoholic drinks can (and should!) be enjoyed by everyone, sober people have long been expected to take whatever we can get and smile politely as we choke it down. Now, though, we’re finally being seen as people who deserve nice things. And when we spend a chunk of change on these new NA beverages that promise to make us feel like we belong, those beverages should not taste like liquid garbage.
Bad non-alcoholic spirits deliver the most painful emotional sting because they, like their boozy equivalents, are not cheap. They’re something you buy to savor, and if the bottle you bought tastes like botanical battery acid, it’s hard to justify exploring the genre any further. At $39.99 for a 750-mL bottle, I don’t blame anyone for being wary of Monday Gin, which, while fully non-alcoholic, manages to be more expensive than many top-shelf “real” gins. But that’s why I write this column every week: because sober people shouldn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars gambling on “fake booze,” hoping they stumble upon something palatable. Monday Gin is not merely palatable or passable—it’s downright extraordinary.
This is not the first faux gin I’ve deemed worthy of its price tag, but truth be told, neither of my previous picks truly tasted like gin; they were simply tasty in their own special way. I fully expected the same from Monday, so before tasting it, I pushed away my memories of gin’s unique flavors, reminding myself to judge this new offering as a distinct beverage. I didn’t expect to be floored by my first sip, much like I didn’t expect that I’d ever be able to taste gin again after getting sober.
Monday Gin is one of the only non-alcoholic spirits I’ve tasted that’s truly good enough to be enjoyed neat or on the rocks, though I personally like drinking it in a 1:2 ratio with Q Tonic, no lime or garnish required. Even if you like getting creative behind your home bar, try to restrain yourself with Monday; keep things simple so that not a single flavorful note is obscured. For forty bucks, you should savor every last drop.