Drinking Living

The Best Alcohol-Free Bars And Cocktails In London

8th January 2019

Where to drink when you’re not drinking.

Forget mindful eating, mindful drinking is the next new thing. More of us are seeking social drinking without the hangover, and studies say one in five adults in the UK are now teetotal – the highest in a decade! So if you’ve jumped on the wagon for good or you’re just dabbling in a dry-as-much-as-you-canuary, this is the guide for you. Here’s to how to ditch the sugar-laden juices and boring alternatives out there thanks to London’s best alcohol-free cocktails, along with tips and ideas for making your own at home from the genius mixologists behind them.

 

Health-conscious mocktails at Redemption

best bars for alcohol-free cocktails in London

A restaurant-bar with a difference, Redemption is vegan and totally alcohol-free with a menu of mocktails that make the usual pub offering laughable. Get a wake-up hit with their Espresso Remolacha – a potent mix of cold-pressed beetroot juice shaken with a double shot of espresso. Or try the Pious Pina Colada; a tropical combination of fresh pineapple juice, lemon juice, frozen pineapple chunks, coconut kefir, coconut yoghurt and coconut milk.  Notting Hill, Covent Garden and Shoreditch. redemptionbar.co.uk

DIY. Make Redemption’s Black Beauty Martini for yourself. Mash and macerate together 10 fresh or frozen blackberries, 4 leaves of ripped basil and 25ml of maple syrup, then chill overnight. Shake vigorously in a cocktail shaker with 150ml of coconut water, 15ml of freshly squeezed lime juice and a handful of ice cubes for 10 seconds. Pour into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with a lime twist. 

 

Distilled and spiced with Seedlip

seedlip

The world’s first non-alcoholic distilled spirit, Seedlip is taking the drinks scene by storm. Try their Citrus spirit with notes of blood orange, ginger, lemongrass and peppercorn, mixed with Indian tonic water and a twist of grapefruit for an alt G&T vibe. Available at some of London’s best bars, from The American Bar at The Savoy and Dandelyan (below) to Nightjar and The Ned. The American Bar serve up a mean Sherwood Forest Cocktail of lemon-infused Seedlip, kefir cultured milk, gooseberry jam, egg white and sorrel. No booze and you won’t notice. Around London. seedlipdrinks.com

DIY. Making your own mocktails at home is certainly getting easier with imitation spirits and wines cropping up that include Seedlip, Botanique – a botanical fizz aimed at booze-avoiding wine lovers and perfect for Bellinis – and PUNCHY Drinks; the world’s first 0% abv Spiced Rum Punch.

 

Booze-free (and sustainable too) at Dandelyan

Awarded the world’s best bar in 2018, Dandelyan raises the bar with innovative alcohol free that mimic the body and brightness of their more potent mixes, while striving to be as sustainable as possible in the process. We asked for advice on how they make their mockails without overloading on sugar; “To get savoury notes we often use ‘teas’ made from herbs and spices, such as dried chillies and fruits. Changing what you use as an acidulant works too – citrus often needs quite a lot of sweetness to balance it out so using vinegars and tart juices can lead to a cleaner, drier profile.” says the man behind it Mr Lyan, aka Ryan Chetiyawardana.

At sister restaurant-bar, CUB, the team are turning the leftovers from opened bottles of Krug Champagne into vinegar. “It’s the exact same liquid from the bottle but without any alcohol content. Soda is added, as well as chamomile and pear to enhance the flavours of Krug. It’s alcohol-free but still feels like a little luxury at the start of the meal”.  Dandelyan, Mondrian Hotel, Southbank & CUB, Shoreditch. Mrlyan.com

DIY. Experiment with herbs and spices to add natural sweetness and depth to tonic water or juices – try muddling in fresh herbs like mint or basil, adding ginger or chilli, or ribbons of fresh cucumber. CUB make a mean celeriac & sea buckthorn drink, using juiced celeriac, sea buckthorn (for savoury funk), Thai basil and a dash of gooseberry juice. 

 

The classics at Mark’s Bar

Downstairs at Hix Soho, you’ll find Mark’s Bar with a decent offering of non-alcoholic tipples that make it worth the trip. They’ve teamed up with Seedlip this January to create a cocktail list that, in their words, is “more interesting than a Virgin Mary or sparkling fruit juice”. Soho. hixrestaurants.co.uk

DIY. Experiment with creating your own dry, sour, bitter and savoury drinks using mixers, teas, brines, salts and shrubs. Take Shrbdrinks’ sodas for example. Inspired by Prohibition-era shrub making, they make sodas by steeping ingredients in apple cider vinegar, then adding spring water and a touch of fizz for a lightly sweet, subtle-tasting soda. Pickle juice from The Pickle House adds a delicious sour tang to cocktails, as does Wild Fizz Kombucha. Or turn your cold brew into a virgin espresso martini.

 

Tonics, vinegars and ferments at Rawduck

Okay, so technically not a bar, Rawduck restaurant in Hackney has an impressive drinks offering worth shouting about. Interesting drinking vinegars, kombuchas and other ferments are all made in-house and champion seasonal ingredients and flavours. Delicious drinks with depth of flavour that just happen to be alcohol free. Hackney. rawduckhackney.co.uk

DIY. Kombucha is a brilliant alcohol swap and is incredibly easy to make at home. Its naturally fermented fizz and flavour tastes somewhere between a mulled cider and a drinking vinegar – a delicious drink that’s not overly sweet.

 

For anything from low-ABV beers to Seedlip spirits to kombucha, check out the Low & No range over at farmdrop.com.

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