I Tried Jukes – the Nonalcoholic Wine Served in Some of the World’s Best Restaurants
This chef-loved NA ‘wine’ makes happy hour feel so much fancier. By Rochelle Bilow
Nonalcoholic wines, beers, and zero-proof cocktails are having a moment. If you’re abstaining from alcohol, there’s no shortage of products on the market that mimic the flavor, ritual, and even the taste of booze. But in any flood of new trends, there’s always a standout or two. In this case, it’s Jukes Cordialities, the high-end wine alternative so good that Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide proudly feature it on their drink menus.
Jukes was founded in 2020 by Matthew Jukes, an internationally known wine professional, for a particular consumer: discerning adults with high standards for dining and drinking experiences, even when refraining from alcohol. In other words: Jukes was crafted to enhance the dining experience — just like traditional wine. Highly lauded restaurants around the world, like Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Clare Smithy’s Core, list Jukes Cordialities right alongside their best bottles of Bordeaux.
Jukes is low calorie, low sugar, vegan, and free from alcohol. And yet, beverage professionals and Michelin-starred chefs swear it hits the spot when you’re craving a glass of fine wine. It’s available in two formats: as a concentrate, meant to be mixed by the drinker, and as a premixed sparkling beverage, sold in cans. The best way to try Jukes is with their three-box set, which contains their white, red, and rosé wine alternatives.
Jukes Three Box Set
I write a lot about nonalcoholic drinks. I’m not sober but these days I am drinking less, so I have both professional and personal interest in this topic. Over the last handful of months, I’ve tried dozens of drinks that brand themselves as nonalcoholic spirits alternatives, and I’ve noticed a trend: Just about every beverage on the market wants to be considered a zero-proof happy hour option, even if it isn’t remotely reminiscent of alcohol.
I’ve sampled tons of sparkling waters, teas, and adaptogenic drinks that call themselves NA drinks. Although that’s a technically correct term, let’s face it: A liter of seltzer doesn’t quite satisfy the craving for a glass of red wine. Because I’m a wine drinker when I do imbibe, I decided to narrow my focus on nonalcoholic wines — that’s how I discovered Jukes Cordialities.
The company sent me a sampler of their products, including concentrates of Jukes 1, their white wine alternative; Jukes 6, the red wine dupe; and Jukes 8, their nonalcoholic rosé option. The base of these drinks is apple cider vinegar, which lends complexity and ensures they don’t veer off into the “sugary juice” category. Jukes 1 is a citrusy, herbaceous white with a zingy lemon finish; Juke 6 is a deep, dark red reminiscent of brambleberries and baking spices. Jukes 8 is a juicy, melon-forward concoction that’s a nod to both rosé and skin-contact wines.
I also received a package of their sparkling canned drinks. These are pre-diluted cans containing Jukes 1, 6, and 8. Sold in sets of three boxes, each box contains four 8.5-ounce cans. I tried all of the products, sipping each option solo as I cooked, and then trying them paired with dinner.
Jukes The Sparkling Collection
I was not planning on falling in love with this product, but for Jukes and I, it was love at first sip. All three of the concentrates plus the sparkling cans are highly sophisticated, culinary-leaning drinks with a distinctly grown-up feel. Even the minimalist labels are gorgeous and intriguing. Opening the miniature bottles and pouring them into a stemless wine glass made the whole thing feel so much more elevated than a basic at-home drink.
My gripe with so many nonalcoholic wine alternatives is that they’re too sweet — which makes them horrible for pairing with food. Jukes is respectfully restrained in this category. The invitation to mix a custom concentrate is also very clever: Every drinker will find their sweet spot. My only complaint about the process is that the bottles of concentrate are so small; if Jukes offered a large format of their red 6 formula, I would buy it in a heartbeat. The pre-mixed cans are a nice single-serve option without all the fuss of playing chemist, plus they’re perfectly portable.
I was originally drawn to Jukes because of their presence in the fine dining industry. But after trying these nonalcoholic wines at home, I can confirm that you don’t have to book a reservation to appreciate the complexity. They taste like wine, and they are worth checking out. The fact that there’s no longer any room for traditional wine bottles in my wine rack is proof.