About Caleño Drinks
Caleño is a non-alcoholic drinks company founded by Ellie Webb. After heading on an alcohol-free night out with some friends, Ellie found herself feeling completely uninspired by the range of alcohol-free options that were available. It raised the question of why should choosing not to drink mean that you can’t have fun and enjoy great drinks on a night out? So, she took it upon herself to start experimenting with her own alcohol-free spirits. Her passion for creating delicious alcohol-free spirits was only further fuelled when she returned from a trip to Colombia completely inspired by her Latin roots. Wanting to bottle the feeling of vibrant colours, tropical flavours and Latin beats, she created Caleño.
Caleño Drinks Non-Alcoholic Spirits
On their website, Caleño have two alcohol-free spirits to choose from: the Light & Zesty and the Dark & Spicy. The two spirits are available in 20cl and 50cl bottles, as well as in a variety of different multipacks. They also have a range of merchandise and bar accessories available on their site. I tried out their Tropical Twin Pack which is a gift set containing a 20cl bottle of both Light & Zesty and Dark & Spicy. As I always do when it comes to reviews, I tried the two spirits both straight and with a mixer of my choosing. Here’s what I thought of them.
Caleño: Dark & Spicy Review
Out of their two spirits, the Dark & Spicy definitely caught my attention just from the name alone. I feel as though dark spirits haven’t been massively explored in the alcohol-free market. There seems to be so many great gin alternatives but a serious lack of dark spirits. As a keen lover of both dark and spiced rum, I was really excited to see how Caleño’s alcohol-free Dark & Spicy would stack up against some of my favourite alcoholic rums. Caleño describes their Dark & Spicy spirit as ‘packed with dark pineapple tropical notes, ginger and kola nut spices’. So, I put it to the taste test.
Firstly…what’s it like straight? Well, it’s absolutely full of spicy flavours. I was really impressed with just how much flavour came from the Dark & Spicy just by itself. Nothing watered down about it at all. The ginger was really coming through as was the slight sweetness from the pineapple. As per Caleño’s recommendation, when it came to choosing my mixer I went for ginger beer for a maximum spice sensation. All I can say is that it was absolutely incredible. The spice from the ginger beer completely elevated the spirit and really brought out the flavours. Sometimes ginger beer can mask the taste of spirit but Dark & Spicy really held it’s own.
For the perfect serve, you’re going to want 50ml Caleño Dark & Spicy, 150ml ginger beer, a slice of lime (and a squeeze of lime juice) and PLENTY of ice. I have to admit that I got through the 20cl bottle pretty quickly. And it’s left me desperate to a) get myself a few more bottles and b) start experimenting with some cocktails! Honestly, all I can think about is how desperate I am to try it out in an alcohol-free spiced mojito.
Caleño: Light & Zesty Review
Next up is their Light & Zesty. Caleño describes their Light & Zesty spirit as a ‘distilled, light and zesty blend of tropical, citrus and spice botanicals’. Which, as a description, I can’t argue with at all. When I tested it out by itself it definitely had light and citrusy flavours. But for me, it tasted a bit too similar to a lime cordial when it was by itself. As is the case for spirits, however they aren’t really supposed to be served by themselves. So I decided to give it a go with a classic light tonic.
For me, the Light & Zesty just didn’t have the same wow factor as the Dark & Spicy. It was just a bit too light for me and a bit too zesty. But at the end of the day, it’s right there in the name; it’s supposed to be light and zesty! I’ll be giving the Light & Zesty another go in some cocktails as I think the strong citrus flavours could really work in something like an alcohol-free French 75.
Have you tried any of Caleño’s alcohol-free spirits before? Which one do you think would be up your street? And let me know if you’d like to see me test out some cocktails with Caleño Light & Zesty!
Looking for more alcohol-free options? Check out Sea Arch Coastal Juniper.