As we have seen several times on this blog, alcohol free spirits are often a hit and miss. While e.g. Darcy O’Neal made a compelling argument, that there are no good alcohol-free gins (because of science!), there are several products I felt are reasonable good.
Having said this, for a long time I have made some house-crafted syrups. The infusions are quite good - and I would love to make them without sugar, however sugar is the best (and most “natural”) preservative - and a lot of products just won’t give you a good result. One of the homemade versions of a liquor was my N/A Campari clone. Honestly, it had a lot of flavor, but was pain to make. There have been so many botanicals your head would spin...
Lyre’s came then on the market, and their Italian Spritz is really good. I mean it. And their Amaretti is also as good as alcohol-free beverages become. I don’t think, that anyone can make something better at home. But I always wanted to get the Lyre’s White Cane especially for virgin mojitos.
So eventually it is here - is it any good?
Unfortunately I have to report, that the aroma is as fake as it could get. Think industrial vanillin, but turned on to the max. There are few other aromas, however they are dwarfing against the vanillin hit. Also - it seems to hit like a cheap perfume, or a thinner which just happen to smell faintly like food.
Still - I made a Mojito. And most colleagues really liked it. I used my optimized recipe - and it tasted like a Mojito - however made with the cheapest spiced rum you could imagine. Personally I still got the artificial vanilla scent which has been really obtrusive. I also tried it as a Cuba Libre - and it taste like Vanilla Coke - but with triple the vanillin.
Now - I say artificial and vanillin and Lyre’s have been mentioning on the bottle, that there are only natural ingredients used (I don’t know where they could detect nuttiness and a peppery finish). Natural ingredients can mean anything. I would even suggest that they used wood ketones or similar ingredients, which obviously are made from natural ingredients, however are extremely high processed.
At the end I cannot really suggest to use it. Make a rum syrup and use it instead of sugar in the Mojito. But no I find it far too extreme tasting to recommend it.
By the way, the Dark Cane and American Malt were also not really anything which floated my boat.