Caleno Light & Zesty Non Alcoholic Spirit Review. Tropical Gin

What type of drink is Caleno Light & Zesty?

On the bottle this claims to be a non alcoholic spirit but on the company website they call it a non alcoholic tropical gin

Basically this is an alcoholic spirit but without the alcohol. You get all the flavours and botanicals from a gin but with zero alcohol.

They are marketed exclusively to adults and if you have never tried a non alcoholic spirit, you will soon as their number and market share are soaring year after year.

To find out exactly how a non alcoholic gin is made, read my article on it here

Caleno Light & Zesty Ingredients

Like any good gin or gin like spirit, the flavour is all form the botanicals. In an alcoholic gin and the non alcoholic versions, juniper has to be the dominant ingredient and flavour but as this isn’t strictly a gin, Caleno have opted for Inca berry as the prime flavour

The other ingredients are…

  • South American inca berry
  • Pineapple and papaya
  • Coriander
  • Juniper
  • Green cardamom
  • Lemon peel

That is certainly an interesting mix. I don’t really know what inca berry is meant to taste like but it will be very interesting to see how the sweet and tropical flavours of pineapple and papaya can integrate into a spirit which is usually quite dry.

Caleno Light & Zesty Nutrition

One of the big benefits of non alcoholic gins versus alcoholic gins is the absolutely huge calorie saving. Does Caleno Light & zesty deliver this benefit too?

It’s nutrition stats are…

Values per 100ml or 100g
Calories 39kcal
Caleno Light & Zesty Nutrition

Ok, not too bad, this has more carbs than a pure non alcoholic gin and subsequently more calories but what is the saving compared to an alcoholic gin?

The USDA state a standard measure of gin (and all distilled spirits) has 97 kcal per 1.5 fl oz (44ml). So if we are to compare like for like we would get this…

Drink Kcal per 1.5fl oz
Standard Gin97
Caleno Light & Zesty17
Calories vs alcoholic gin

That is still a huge calorie saving isn’t it? But you tend not to drink a gin straight so we should add in some mixers to see what the overall calorie count is.

Lets look at a few FeverTree Tonics on the market…

FeverTree TonicKcal per 150ml mixerSugar per 150ml mixer
Elderflower Tonic Water5111.7g
Light Indian Tonic Water234.4g
Premium Indian Tonic Water4210.7
Aromatic Tonic Water5611.7g
FeverTree mixers

Clearly that is a large range depending on which mixer you go for so you can make the healthier choice with mixers too.

What happens if you combine the best and worst?

SpiritTonicTotal caloriesTotal sugar
Caleno Light & ZestyFeverTree Aromatic Tonic7311.7g
Caleno Light & ZestyFeverTree Light Indian Tonic404.4g
G&T combinations 

Again a big range. I review all my gins with FeverTree Light Indian Tonic, if i am going to drink lots i might as well get all the calorie saving i can and to be honest the mixer tastes great.

For a closer look at the nutrition of gin and non alcoholic gin then read my article on it here

Is Caleno Light & Zesty alcohol free?

Not quite. To be called “alcohol free” the alcohol by volume (ABV) should be <0.05% whereas this has an ABV of 0.5%.

Although in practical terms here, there won’t be much difference between 0.05% and 0.5% ABV. Both are non alcoholic and won’t contain enough alcohol to affect you at all.

Consider that orange just has an ABV of over 0.5% too. So having a drink of this is the equivalent of diluting a shot of orange juice down with tonic and drinking it. Would you worry about the alcohol in that? I doubt it.

You can find a full article of the surprising alcohol levels in foods and drinks here, i think you will be shocked.

Labelling in the non alcoholic and alcohol free world are very confusing, with different countries having different rules.

My article on how to navigate your way around the terminology and labelling can be read here

The Look

The bottle has funky art, blues and greens certainly gives the feel of a cool refreshing drink over the oranges and reds of the dark and spicy version. It does a good job of making you want to take a bottle off the shelf.

The Aroma

I certainly get a different smell that the pure alcohol free gin drink like Gordon’s or Tanqueray. They smell of gin basically but without the strong alcohol whiff in the back of the nostirls.

This smells sweeter and with less juniper you wouldn’t be screaming gin at this. I can smell the pineapple with some cleaner botanicals. Light and zesty would be an apt description of the aroma.

The Taste

It is a bit like the alcohol free gins, in that you get a mouth drying feeling, but it certainly tastes sweeter despite the no sugar or sweeteners. Those carbs are doing something.

You can start to pick up the juniper mixed in with the sweeter fruit flavours. I think the primary flavour is the inca but i’ve no idea what inca tastes like really and i’m none the wiser after a good few gulps.

I do get the citrus lemon as a main flavour.

It is refreshing but tastes less like an adult drink than say Gordons or Tanqueray due to the increased sweetness.

On Canelo website they do call it a “tropical gin” and not just a non alcoholic spirit like the bottle states. So they are defiantly pitching in that area.

It’s a strange one, it is enough gin like that you wouldn’t really like it unless you like gin. But its different enough from gin that if you liked gin youd probably just prefer a Gordons.

I can see this as a summer holiday, by the pool, not too serious type drink.

The depth just isn’t there, there are superficial flavours but they just aren’t as powerful or long lasting as Gordon’s or Tanqueray.

The Verdict

It a decent “light and zesty” non alcoholic spirit but it isn’t good enough in its own right to boss the pure gins. It is more in line with Sipsmith FreeGlider in that it is nice enough but a bit forgettable.

The Score

7/10 – It is prefecty pleasant and if you’ve never tired say Gordons or Tanqueray then you might think this is really rather good. Try them tho. 

Where to buy

You can find out the tastes prices on Amazon by following my link here

You can try these at Wise Bartender as well, a brilliant non alcoholic retailer

For UK readers, Light Drinks has this and others, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 5% off

*Affiliate Disclosure – if you click on the links and buy from these providers, i might receive a small commission*

Does Caleno Light & Zesty get you drunk?

No, you can not get drunk drinking Caleno Light & Zesty

I crunched all the numbers and have written an article about how you can’t get drunk on 0.5% gin here

In general you are unable to get drunk from non alcoholic (<0.5% ABV) gin and it is impossible to get drunk from alcohol free (0.0%) gin. The volume of non alcoholic gin required to raise your blood alcohol concentration to the legal intoxication level is not possible to consume or digest.

Can you drink Caleno Light & Zesty and drive?

You can drink any amount of Caleno Light & Zesty and be safe to drive.

You can reasonably drink up to 320 measures of Caleno Light & Zesty (<0.5% ABV) without increasing your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08%.

This equates to about 30 bottles. Aside from the amount of fluid that it, you would be spending a lot of money to drink that amount.

Some factors such as size, age and sex and can have an affect on this.

I have crunched all the numbers for you to see my working out in this article

Is Caleno Light & Zesty Gluten Free?

Caleno Light & Zesty is gluten free

Is Caleno Light & Zesty Vegan?

Caleno Light & Zesty is vegan and confirmed on

For a full overview of why a non alcoholic gin may not be vegan then read my article on it here

Review Overview

Pleasant but there are betters gins in the space


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