Review: Spiritless Kentucky 74

Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirit

About seven months ago, I happened upon an advertisement for Spiritless Kentucky 74 Bourbon.  This advertisement did exactly what it was supposed to do: it sold an experimental teetotaler on the idea of an alcohol free spirit.  For someone who (previously) loved Bourbon, this was huge!

I should probably preface this by saying that when I ordered this distilled, non-alcoholic spirit, I was smack dab in the middle of one of my longest alcohol free stints.  I hadn’t yet reached my ‘Sobriety Day 1’.  At this point, I was still flirting with the idea of sobriety.

I say this because, back then, I tried to fill the void of alcohol with non-alcoholic versions.  I still love the occasional NA Beer (I’m talking to you, Well Being Victory Wheat), but I no longer crave the NA wine or NA mixed drinks or “alcohol burn” like I used to.  Now?  I am perfectly content with my seltzer water or Diet A&W Root Beer.

With that being said, when I made the Kentucky 74 purchase, I was still very much in need of Bourbon.  I placed the order at the end of September 2020 and promptly received an eMail: Thanks for your purchase! Your order will be shipping some time in October!

Mid November, after still not receiving my order, I sent an inquiry.  Sorry for the delay, you will be receiving your order in December, they stated.

December 20th, I sent another eMail explaining how this was going to be a Christmas gift (to me – they didn’t need to know that).  I received a response that due to shipping issues, it wouldn’t arrive by Christmas, but they were confident that I would receive by New Year’s.

On January 5th, I sent another eMail, asking when I could anticipate arrival.  They weren’t able to get all of the shipments out, they said, but it would be shortly.

At the end of January, I sent another eMail <At this point, I’m thinking that I had just been taken for the biggest NA scam of a lifetime>.  This response blamed COVID, blah, blah, blah, but promised that my order would ship within 2-3 weeks.

Do I need to continue? This sort of back and forth occurred up until today, when I finally received my bottle.

I don’t even fucking want it anymore. 

But, if it will help any of you, who are looking for a little crutch to get yourself through the alcohol cravings, here is my review:

COST: $35.99 and $4.90 shipping and handling

NUTRITIONAL VALUE: 15 calories, 4g carbohydrates, 1g sugar (can’t beat that with a stick!)

LOOK: The bottle is aesthetically pleasing!  It’s a nice, solid glass bottle with a decent punt indentation (which I always associated with top notch wine as having).  There was definitely some thought put into the label; this bottle would be a lovely addition to a bar shelf. 

SMELL: Honestly?  It smells like watered down Coca-Cola.

TASTE: Um…. this is a hard one.  So, it doesn’t taste like watered down Coca-Cola.  At least, not initially.  I tried it off and “on the rocks”.  Neat, it tastes like a sweet campfire.  Like what I imagine the water collected out of a fire pit after a hard rain knocked a marshmallow into the ashes would taste like.  On the rocks, the sweet flavor is faded, the smoky flavor is more prominent, however there is a slight chemical aftertaste that I can’t quite place.  It does not have the burn that the Ritual Brand Whiskey alternative has. Not bad, just not Bourbon.


  • I never mixed Bourbon.  At least, not the good stuff.  My favorite way to enjoy was with two cherries and a splash of maraschino cherry juice.  Kentucky 74 served the same way?  Watered down Cherry Coke.
  • Bourbon and Bitters: I actually enjoy plain seltzer water and bitters better. Kentucky 74 and bitters creates several different flavor layers that don’t seem to pair well with each other. Like a marshmallow dipped in A1 sauce.
  • Kentucky Mule: ginger beer, lime juice, Kentucky 74, and a mint sprig.  Pretty tasty cocktail, but the bourbon-alternative flavor is only a mild aftertaste. 

Overall, Kentucky 74 was disappointing. Maybe seven months of building expectations and anticipation left a sour taste in my mouth?

Spiritless provided a booklet with recipes on how to cut alcohol with their product. Maybe Kentucky 74 would function well in this capacity, but I feel it fell flat as a standalone.

I think the minds behind Spiritless are on the right path. Our society needs alcohol free alternatives, especially on the restaurant/bar scene. But the Kentucky 74 Bourbon alternative needs some work. If somehow they could intensify the flavor and add that Ritual burn, they would have a GREAT  product. Until then, I’ll just stick to sipping water out of our fire pit, if I’m looking for a Bourbon alternative.  Or not.

~ Cari

2 thoughts on “Review: Spiritless Kentucky 74

  1. Pingback: Review: Spiritless Kentucky 74 – Part II – viCARIously Speaking

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