Hanukkah Elderberry Mocktail with Dhos Gin Free

Mocktails are all the rage these days. You can get all kinds of different concoctions made with bespoke syrups, garnishes, and much else. Many of these taste delicious, but often there’s one thing they don’t taste like: actual spirits.

In short, a fancy mocktail can be nice. But sometimes you just want something simple, like a gin and tonic–only sans alcohol. That was hard to achieve before. But one Oregon company is working to change that.

Dhos Spirits produces small-batch, high-quality, American-made spirits that just happen to be alcohol-free. Dhos’ drinks are also low in calories (some have zero) and certified pesticide free.

In short, there’s a lot of things to like about Dhos’ creations. They’re perfect if you’re pregnant, following Dry January, on a diet, can’t drink alcohol for a medical or religious reason, or simply choose not to imbibe–yet you still want a drink with a spirit-forward taste.

Dhos sent me some samples of their alcohol-free gin and other spirits to try out. I’m no stranger to tasty Hanukkah food, so I decided to put them to good use making a gin-free cocktail to celebrate Hanukkah using a recipe from Dhos (with some of my own modifications.)

Making a Hanukkah Mocktail

Dhos Gin Free Gin is a non-alcoholic gin made with the same care and quality of a traditional gin. It’s made with botanicals like coriander and fennel seed, and is way lower in calories than traditional gin.

To make the Hanukkah cocktail, I modified a recipe that Dhos’ mixologists sent to me. Here it is:

Hanukkah Mocktail

  • 2 oz Dhos Gin Free
  • .75 oz Lemon juice
  • .5 oz Elderberry syrup

Shake in a cocktail shaker and serve in a martini or highball glass. The original recipe calls for Creme de Violette, but the ones I found all had alcohol, so I substituted the elderberry syrup.

Making my Mocktail

To make my Hanukkah mocktail, I started by putting ice into an OXO Good Grips cocktail shaker. I measured out 2oz of the Dhos Gin Free. I immediately noticed that it had the distinct juniper berry scent of gin–a good sign!

Next, I added in lemon juice and elderberry syrup. Dhos’ recipe calls for Creme de Violette, but when I looked for that in the store, it had alcohol. So I substituted elderberry syrup, which has a similar color and a flavor profile that I felt would complement the botanicals in the gin.

I shook up the drink and poured it into a highball glass. It had a lovely blueish, purplish color–very appropriate for Hanukkah, where blue is the dominant color!

Tasting the mocktail, I was immediately struck that it had a strong, spirit-forward flavor, despite not having any alcohol. Dhos feels like a true substitute for the taste of gin, rather than just a mixer moonlighting as a pretend spirit. The drink was complex, herbaceous and refreshing–a perfect thing to sip in the evening with the menorah burning.

My only issue was that the drink felt quite dry, probably because Dhos doesn’t have added sugar. That’s great from a caloric standpoint, but next time I’d probably add a bit of simple syrup to sweeten things up.


Overall, I was impressed with Dhos’ Gin Free. It’s nice to see people putting the same care into making non-alcoholic spirits that a craft distillery would put into the boozy kind. If you want to celebrate the holiday season (or any season, really) with a cocktail sans the alcohol, I’d definitely recommend checking Dhos out.

You can buy Dhos spirits from their website, or order a bottle on Amazon. Because it’s alcohol free, you can ship it right to your house without the hassle of sending alcoholic spirits!

As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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