Caleño Light and Zesty Review with Recipes Tested

caleno light bottle

Caleño describes itself as “A Non-Alcoholic Tropical Free Spirit” and that’s 100% true. It’s completely unique to other non-alcoholic spirits, having inca berry as the prominent botanical.

*Update: The name has changed to Caleño: Light & Zesty since writing this review, so the name has been changed to Caleño Light and Zesty Review to reflect this.

Bottom line: Caleño fits best in tropical drinks, which are traditionally sweet.  Caleño makes a delicious caipirinha mocktail. It’s a very convincing beverage substitute.

It has a very tropical flavor: It tastes like sweet lemon, pineapple essence, with a hint of bitterness.

It seems sweet, but is completely sugar free, which makes Caleno an interesting choice in sweet mocktails for anyone looking to cut the sugar.

Ten botanicals are individually distilled under steam distillation, then carefully blended for the final product. Caleño performed well in most mocktails tested, and the flavor is in a league of its own – a fun addition to your home bar, whether or not you drink alcohol.

Best enjoyed in: Non Alcoholic Caipirinha

Ingredients, Nutrition and Storage

In order to thoughtfully review a product, it must be tested. Below is the method taken for taste testing all non alcoholic spirits:

What Does Caleño Taste Like…

  • Neat
  • On ice
  • On ice with tonic or appropriate single mixer
  • Brand recommended mocktails
  • Get creative

#1 Neat:

Neat, Caleño smells fruity, but a strong scent unfamiliar to me (inca berry is supposed to be the prominent botanical) There’s also a slight scent of juniper and papaya. It smells very unique. It tastes tropical – sweet lemon, essence of pineapple, and a hint of bitterness.

#2 On Ice:

On ice, the fruitiness starts to fall back, and it’s a bit lighter.

#3 On Ice with Tonic:

Tropical flavors stand out, but tonic is a good mixer for Caleño. I recommend using a 1:1 ratio to really taste the Caleño. It’s still nice if you use more tonic, but the flavors start to get more delicate the more diluted you make it. Here’s the recipe for a Caleño and tonic.

#4 Brand Recommended Mocktails featuring Caleño:

Here are a few mocktails Caleño features on their website, and what they actually taste like:



  • 50ml Caleño
  • 20ml Pineapple juice
  • 15ml Fresh lemon juice
  • 15ml 2:1 Sugar syrup or gomme
  • 6-8 Mint leaves

Directions: Shake it, strain it, and garnish with a sprig of mint

Verdict: Tropicali is a nice mocktail! Not surprisingly, it’s sweet and tropical. There are a lot of flavors going on, but they seem to blend well. Despite the added ingredients, you can still detect the inca berry standing out in this beverage.

Caleño Collins


  • 50ml Caleño
  • 10ml Fresh lemon juice
  • 10ml 2:1 Sugar syrup or gomme

Directions: Build and top with soda water and slice of lemon zest.

Verdict: The inca berry in this spirit adds a different flavor in this Collins mocktail, but it’s actually really nice. It’s a tropical Collins – very light and refreshing. I’ve recommended it as an option for a new brunch mocktail.  

Cafe de Cali


  • 50ml Caleño
  • 25ml Espresso
  • 10ml 2:1 Sugar syrup or gomme

Directions: Build ingredients over ice and finish with a dash of tonic water.

Verdict: This is a bit odd, like putting fruit juice in your coffee. Maybe that sounds good to you. If so, feel free to give it a try.  

#5 Get Creative with Caleño Light and Zesty

Since Caleño is such a tropical-natured spirit, I experimented with a Caipirinha. Not only was the non-alcoholic Caiprinha a success, it was my favorite mocktail with Caleño. Here’s the recipe:

Non Alcoholic Caipirinha

testing a non alcoholic caipirinha with caleno


  • 2oz Caleño
  • Half of a lime, quartered
  • 1 heaping barspoon light brown sugar (or Demerara sugar)

Directions: Muddle the limes and sugar in a cocktail shaker. Add Caleño and ice and shake. Pour everything into a rocks glass without straining, limes and all.

Verdict: This beverage brings me joy. While I did not have Demerara sugar on hand to make a true caipirinha, the light brown sugar worked very well. Caleño Light and Zesty is no doubt an approved substitute for cachaça in a non-alcoholic caipirinha.

Where to Buy Caleño Light and Zesty

If you like tropical flavors and are looking for something that doesn’t taste like alcohol, you should try Caleño. The Non Alcoholic Caipirinha is evidence enough of its tastiness.

Click here for the best available price for Caleño Light and Zesty on Amazon.

Caleño Light and Zesty Ingredients and Nutrition


Water, Glycerine, Botanical Distillates and Extracts (listed below), Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate (preservative)


Botanicals listed:

Inca Berry, Juniper, Coriander Seed, Green Cardamom, Sicilian Lemon Peel, Cassia Bark, Lemongrass, Liquorice Root, and Clove Bud

Nutrition: per 100ml: 39 calories, Fat 0g, Sodium 0mg,  Carbohydrates 9g,  Sugar 0g, Protein 0g*

*Nutrition information was found on the bottle and might be subject to change.

Storage: Refrigeration not necessary. Good for three months after opening. Recommended shelf life of one year for an unopened bottle.

Angela T.
Hi, I’m Angela! Ever since alternative beverages made their debut, I’ve been on a mission to find the best. As someone who loves wine and making craft cocktails, I approach each new beverage with curiosity and a healthy dose of skepticism. I hope these honest reviews will help you learn which non-alcoholic drinks are best for you.