The Australian lyre bird is said to be the best mimic on earth.
The bird can mimic the calls of at least 20 other birds... and other, less natural sounds like car alarms and chainsaws (check out this incredible video of the bird narrated by David Attenborough).
So you can probably guess why Lyre's - an Australian brand of non-alcoholic spirits - chose the bird as its namesake.
Lyre's has a range of 13 "impossibly crafted" non-alcoholic spirits, including a Dry London Spirit (its gin alternative), American Malt (whisky) White Cane Spirit (clear rum).
It's an impressive roster for a new brand. And an incredible amount of time, thought and science went into making these flavors as close to their alcoholic counterparts as possible. And so far, the effort is paying off...
In April, Lyre's won ten medals at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, including two gold medals for their Aperitif Rosso and Dark Cane Spirit. And these weren't medals for the non-alc category. Lyre's was actually tasted against its alcoholic peers.
"The judges tasted Lyre's against alcoholic counterparts in the aperitif, coffee liqueur, fruit liqueur, nut liqueur, other whiskey, and sugar cane spirits categories. It was exciting to discover non-alcoholic products that could sit on the back bar like an alcoholic spirit and the medals reflect how impressed we were with the quality across the range," Anthony Dias Blue, the competition's founder and executive director said of Lyre's.
Lyre's is now available for purchase in the TZP Bottle Shop. Before they were made available to the general public, The Zero Proof was lucky to receive early bottles of the Amaretti and White Cane Spirit to taste.
We tasted both spirits on their own, then mixed a cocktail with each. We'll start with the Amaretti:
Lyres Amaretti Review
The amaretti definitely smells like an alcoholic amaretto. But you don't get that alcoholic bite when you take a sip. However, it's a nice, sweet drink with toasty vanilla notes. It's got a good texture - bordering on syrupy (thanks to the 5 grams of sugar per ounce).
Don't let the sugar content dissuade you. The spirit's sweetness is actually the interrupter - the quality that keeps you from gulping it down.
Lyre's Amaretti is great treat for a sweeter mixed drink or end-of-night sipper. And the flavor is well blended (a lot of non-alcoholic spirits can "come apart" or taste a bit fragmented when you drink them).
We mixed an amaretto sour with the Amaretti. And, honestly, we liked it better than a regular amaretto sour. The cocktail tastes less sweet and you get more of a marshmallow, caramel flavor - like a piña colada.
Overall, it's an incredible substitute for an amaretto sour. You wouldn't tell the difference between this and its alcoholic counterpart. This is the best non-alcoholic dessert drink we've had.
Non-alcoholic amaretto sour recipe:
2 oz Lyre's Amaretti
¾ oz OJ
½ oz lime
¼ oz lemon
¾ oz of simple syrup
1 egg white
Put all of the ingredients in a tumbler, add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Pour into glass.
Next we tried Lyre's White Cane Spirit - a white rum alternative.
Lyres White Cane Spirit Review
Unlike the Amaretti, the White Cane Spirit has a good bite. And the nose actually knocked me back a bit with the smell of alcohol (although there is zero alcohol).
When you drink the White Cane Spirit neat, it almost has a cola flavor. You also get some tropical flavors like coconut... and the spicy bite at the end. The spirit is a bit watery on its own.
We mixed a simple Cuba Libre to taste the spirit in a cocktail.
Like the Amaretti, once mixed, the White Cane Spirit did a wonderful job of replacing an alcoholic rum. Simply put, the Cuba Libre tasted like a rum drink. It lacked the bite of liquor. But it has that white rum flavor.
Non-Alcoholic Cuba Libre Recipe (build over ice in a glass):
2 oz Lyre's White Cane Spirit
4 oz cola
½ lime squeezed
The Zero Proof was impressed with Lyre's offerings - especially when mixed into non-alcoholic cocktails.
You can find Lyre's on Amazon. The 750ml bottles cost $44.99 each and come with a four-pack of Fever Tree mixer. Or you can buy two bottles together for $71.98.
We'd highly recommending adding a bottle of Lyre's to your non-alcoholic bar. Not only does the bottle make a beautiful addition, but it's a great mixer for your favorite non-alcoholic cocktails.