Alcohol-free spirits are no 'spirits' at all

Arkay also comes in cans.
A year or two ago, I received an inquiry from a woman who said she liked the taste of whiskey, but not the effects of its alcohol. How, she asked, can I find an alcohol-free whiskey?

You can't, I told her. Without alcohol, it's not whiskey. End of subject, or so I thought.

Now, the UK company ArKay is marketing what it calls the world’s first alcohol-free, whisky-flavored drink. It is in the process of being shipped to markets worldwide.

"The world`s first alcohol-free whisky-flavored drink is designed for the socialite to the construction worker," says the company. "The exceptional taste of whisky without the alcohol making a perfect beverage that anyone can consume. The design of ArKay was to allow anyone with medical conditions or with religious beliefs to drink without guilt. ArKay tastes and looks exactly like traditional whisky. It is suitable for drinking straight up, on the rocks, or with soda or your favorite mixers. "

Unlike whiskey, ArKay is made with artificial flavorings and other ingredients, but they are used in accordance with European Economic Community (EEC) regulations and within U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. Both the flavor and ingredients are conformed to Halal guidelines. ArKay researched and tested its beverage for five years before release.

The never-shy Scotch Whisky Association is no fan of the product. In a statement, it said, "Such promotion is taking advantage of the high-quality reputation of the product that is whisky, which is a distilled spirit produced from natural ingredients, when it is in fact just a soft drink with artificial flavorings."

It kind of reminds me of radio the shock-jock Don Imus’s ad-lib when he was speaking of a sponsor -- Buckler, a non-alcoholic beer: "Buckler, it makes you pee just as much as beer."

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