Woodnose Sacré Review: A Non-Alcoholic Kahlua Substitute or Amaro Substitute?

non alcoholic amaro substitute with lemon peel on ice with bottle

Woodnose Sacré is an aperitif that is gaining popularity among those looking for a bitter alcohol-free drink. Some consider it a Kahlua substitute or a non alcoholic amaro. So what exactly is Woodnose Sacré? And how does it compare to other non-alcoholic drinks on the market? Let’s find out!

This spirit, which is made from organic maple syrup that has been tapped on a family farm and then fermented and aged in bourbon barrels, is fantastic.

To round out the flavor’s intensity: There’s also Fair-Trade, shade-grown artisanal coffee in the mix. It’s somewhere between an amaro and Kahlua, or between unsweetened iced coffee and balsamic vinegar.

Bottom line: Sacré is a unique and delicious amaro substitute, and can even be used as a Kahlua substitute in certain instances. The flavor is tart and bittersweet, with a hint of coffee.

Sacré turned out to be a very versatile alcohol free spirit.

Sure, you could use instant coffee to mix a coffee mocktail, but when there are good alcohol free options to elevate your drink to a more sophisticated level, why would you?

Best enjoyed in: On ice with a lemon peel or On ice with Club Soda

How it’s made: This unique beverage is made from Vermont’s family farm’s organic maple syrup, fermented and aged in bourbon barrels, and Fair Trade, shade-grown artisanal coffee.

It is only made with maple syrup as the sweetener, healthier than other forms of sugar – 104g/l of sugar. less than half the amoutn of sugar found in amaro.

Jump to Ingredients, Nutrition, and Storage

In order to thoughtfully review a product, it must be tested. Here’s the method used for taste testing all non-alcoholic drinks:

What Does Woodnose Sacré Taste Like…

  1. Neat
  2. On ice
  3. On ice with tonic or appropriate single mixer
  4. Brand recommended mocktails
  5. Get creative

#1: Neat

Woodnose recommends serving Sacré chilled. The aroma is complex, but comes in layers: coffee then sweet and very tart balsamic vinegar. Tasting it neat is like freshly brewed iced coffee with a strong balsamic vinegar punch. It comes off as sharp at first, but a creamy coffee flavor lingers in your mouth after.

checking the color of woodnose sacre non alcoholic kahlua substitute

#2 On Ice

Nothing much changes with the flavor of Sacré on ice, but it is very drinkable this way as an aperitif. Just add lemon peel! If you lean towards aperitifs and bitter drinks, this is a great option (see main post image for finished beverage).

#3 On Ice with Club Soda

Sacré on ice with club soda is another great aperitif. Bright but bitter, and reminds me very of an Italian aperitif. If only I had a plate of pasta to follow it…..

non alcoholic amaro substitute with club soda and lemon wedge

After testing Sacré in some simple and easy to make drinks, it is further tested in Woodnose brand recommended cocktails. Brand suggested drinks are a great way to learn a new product and its possible uses before getting creative.

Signature Pour aka Virgin Espresso Martini

non alcoholic espresso martini with coffee been garnish in a coupe glass


3 ounces Sacré Zero Proof

Directions: Shake vigorously with ice for about 15 seconds. Pour into a martini glass. Top with leftover foam. Garnish with espresso beans.

Verdict: Woodnose says this tastes most like an Espresso Martini, and I have to agree. It’s really nice having an alcohol free beverage option that doesn’t require a lot of fuss and mixing to be special.

If you like coffee mocktails, try this version of a virgin espresso martini. It would be a nice option for a non-alcoholic cocktail after dinner.

Sacré Dark and Stormy

non alcoholic dark and stormy cocktail with lemon wheel


  • 2oz Sacré Zero Proof
  • 4oz Fever Tree Ginger Beer

Directions: Pour over ice. Garnish with lemon.

Verdict: Delicious. Ginger beer and coffee? Who knew? Adding to the ever-growing list of ginger beer mocktails.

While a Dark and Stormy Cocktail usually includes dark rum, Sacré adds an interesting depth to this unique spin on the classic drink.

A Caballero in Vermont

amaro substitute in a non alcoholic mexican drink with chocolate lime and chili


  • 3 ounces SACRÉ
  • 1 teaspoon mexican chocolate syrup

Directions: Rim glass with sea salt, chili powder, and lime zest. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Verdict: This is really fun – bitter, chocolate, tart. It’s not sweet, but would be great for an after dinner dessert beverage. I made this in a mezcal copita, and it was the perfect amount. It was about two-thirds of this recipe.

This would be great with some orange zest too. Really fun beverage!

#5 Get Creative

There are a couple of very popular cocktails that are worth testing Woodnose Sacré in. It has proven itself an interesting non alcoholic amaro substitute.

Below, read how Sacré stacks up as a Kahlua substitute in a non-alcoholic White Russian cocktail:

Virgin White Russian Cocktail Recipe

putting cinnamon garnish on a non alcoholic White Russian


  • 1oz Woodnose Sacré
  • Heavy cream
  • .5oz simple syrup

Directions: Fill a small glass with ice and add Sacré. Top with heavy cream. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon.

Verdict: With the simple syrup, it definitely tastes like a substitute for a White Russan cocktail. Without the simple syrup, this was an interesting beverage, but not really much different than drinking it on ice by itself.

Another very popular dessert cocktail is the Mudslide. While sweet drinks are not necessarily my preference, I was curious. Since I had a bottle of Spiritless Kentucky 74 handy, I wanted to test out a non-alcoholic Baileys by combining it with Woodnose Sacré, and here’s what happened:

Virgin Mudslide

mudslide mocktail with chocolate shaving garnish


  • 1oz Spiritless Kentucky 74
  • 1oz Woodnose Sacré
  • 1.5oz Heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup*
  • Chocolate shavings for garnish

Directions: Rim a coupe glass with chocolate syrup by putting syrup on a plate and dipping the rim of the glass in it. Put non-alcoholic whiskey, Sacré, heavy cream, and chocolate syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously.

Double strain into your coupe glass. Grab that chocolate bar you keep around (you know who you are). Using a microplane, create chocolate shavings on top of the cocktail for garnish.

*used Hershey’s Simply 5 chocolate syrup.

Verdict: Impressed by the resemblance to a Mudslide cocktail. This is an approved substitute and an intriguing combination to create a non-alcoholic Baileys.

What is Kahlua and how does it taste?

Kahlua is a coffee-flavored liqueur originally from Mexico. It is made with sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, and dark roasted coffee beans. Kahlua is best enjoyed on the rocks or in cocktails.

Vanilla Extract and Corn Syrup vs Maple Syrup

While Kahlua is made with vanilla extract and corn syrup, Woodnose Sacré uses maple syrup. Maple syrup is a natural sweetener that comes from the sap of maple trees. It is healthier than other forms of sugar and has a unique flavor that pairs well with coffee.

What is Amaro and what does it taste like?

Amaro (plural amari) is an Italian herbal liqueur usually served as an after dinner drink. Amaro can be somewhat sweet or extremely bitter, depending on the brand. It is often consumed neat, mixed with sparkling water or club soda, and even used in classic cocktails.

Woodnose Sacré vs Non-Alcoholic Coffee Liqueur

Woodnose Sacré tastes like a Kahlua substitute because it’s made with organic maple syrup and Fair Trade coffee. However, it doesn’t have the same level of sweetness as Kahlua, so it should be paired with a sweetener like simple syrup to be considered a substitute in mocktails with Kahlua.

Instant Coffee and Vanilla Bean in Coffee Mocktails

If you’re mixing coffee mocktails, it can be tempting to go with easy ingredients you already have a home: coffee, vanilla extra, and cream. You can do this, but you will be missing out on the sophisticated flavors that Sacré will bring to these drinks.

Frequently Asked Questions about Woodnose Sacré

How does Baileys Irish Cream compare to Woodnose Sacré?

Baileys and Woodnose are two very different things. One is Irish cream, which is a blend that contains irish whiskey, cream and cocoa. In order to make a non-alcoholic Baileys, a non-alcholic whiskey, cream, and chocolate need to be blended together with Woodnose Sacré.

Is Sacré safe to drink if you’re pregnant?

Sacre does not contain alcohol, so yes it is safe. However, always consult doctor about issues pertaining to your pregnancy.

Where to Buy Woodnose Sacré

Order a bottle of Woodnose Sacré from one of these online retailers:

Final Thoughts: Is Sacré a Good Kahlua Substitute?

Woodnose Sacré is a good substitute for Kahlua, but it is so much more. I found it to be an excellent amaro substitute, as an aperitif AND a digestif. These bittersweet drinks are in my zone.

However, if you have a sweet tooth, the combination of Spiritless non-alcoholic whiskey, cream, and Sacré made a convincing non-alcoholic Baileys in a Virgin Mudslide. On top of that, simple syrup with Sacré is a Kahlua substitute in a Virgin White Russian.

Woodnose Sacré is a surprisingly versatile beverage, and can easily be enjoyed on it own or mixed in creative mocktails.

Woodnose Sacré Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Ingredients: Ingredients: Water, coffee, organic Vermont maple syrup, organic bourbon barrel-aged fermented maple syrup, botanicals, spices.

Contains no milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, fish, shellfish, or soybeans. Organic; Vegan; Gluten free; Sustainably farmed

Nutrition: Serving size 3fl oz | 23 calories, Fat 0g, Sodium 3mg,  Carbohydrates 4.3g,  Total Sugars 3.7g, Protein 0g, Caffeine 11mg

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

Storage: Refrigerate after opening.

Picture of 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.