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Dry January: London's best mocktails and mixers for a healthy new year / Food & Drink
Dry January: London's best mocktails and mixers for a healthy new year

Where to quench your thirst in London when you’re off the booze

Where to quench your thirst in London when you’re off the booze

The mixologists at these London bars make interesting mocktails from alcohol-free products made here in the UK

The holiday season often throws us out of our normal rhythms of eating and drinking and by the new year, we’re ready to set healthy intentions and reboot our systems. January is a great month to put healthy habits in place, like drinking less or perhaps trying the full 31 days of Dry January. Luckily, a sober month – or even a few weeks – doesn’t have to mean sacrificing enjoyment when there are so many great alternatives to alcohol to try.

There are now some incredible brands that offer zero or low-alcohol substitutes to your favourite drinks. From specially crafted beers that are crisp and refreshing to aperitifs that leave you lucid and unconventional spirits to mix with tonics, there are so many great options for booze-free nightcaps.

Whether you think you’ve exhausted your options or you’re kicking off your dry streak a little later than usual, our guide on where to find London’s best mocktails and the home-brewed British beverages to look out for in Dry January and beyond might help you quench your thirst.

©Three Spirit

Brands to look out for:

First to the virgin drinks scene, Seedlip has three sophisticated spirits that are distilled with botanicals and herbs. Found in bars and restaurants across the country, the brand pioneered the way non-alcoholic drinks could be enjoyed. Founder Ben Branson has also recently launched Aecorn, a selection of alcohol-free aperitifs that are bitter, bold and made with Sussex grapes and acorns.

Everleaf brews botanical aperitifs in Bermondsey, London, with a recipe containing 14 sustainably grown herbs and spices. Pentire, based in Cornwall, specialises in distilling alcohol-free spirits that have a taste of the coastline –delicate aromas of seaweed, sage and citrus. Three Spirit’s trilogy of Social Elixir, Livener and Nightcap are bittersweet and curious, aimed to enhance the mood you're in. Lyre’s has a range of classic spirits that includes flavours that mimic rum, amaretti and gin. They also have an award-winning sparkling ‘wine’ that’s designed for celebrations.

Sommelier and writer Matthew Jukes just launched a range of tart-tasting non-alcoholic drinks called Jukes. Stocked at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Fortnum and Mason, The Wolsey and the Tate Modern, his Cordialities contain apple cider vinegar and have been crafted to have the same satisfying perfume as a glass of fine wine. In reds, whites and pinks, there’s a Jukes for every occasion.

If beer is your weakness, then Lucky Saint is widely regarded as the most authentic zero-per cent lager available, along with alcohol-free beer from the family-run Nirvana Brewery, based in Leyton in east London.


Bars where you can find them:

Nightjar, Hoxton

The menu at the Nightjar in Hoxton splits its drinks into pre-prohibition, prohibition (‘serious cocktails from a desperate time’) and post-war. Reimagined classics are given theatrical twists, and there is just as much delicious drama in their virgin drinks. Most of their mocktails are made with smooth Seedlip spirits. The Nightjar has vintage music every night of the week so no matter what you’re sipping, you’re in for some sultry jazz.

Nightjar, 129 City Road, EC1V 1JB | Visit their Instagram

Swift, Soho

With two bars to choose from, Swift in Soho has an extensive cocktail menu that’s won it many accolades over the six years it has been open. Decadent, comfortable and lavishly designed with art deco details, the downstairs bar has several tempting options for teetotallers on the menu, and any of their traditional cocktails can be made to be non-alcoholic. Try the Darjeeling kombucha and elderflower Tempest, or the herbal Conifer – made with Seedlip spirits. Or choose from the lighter menu Upstairs and try a virgin classic like a non-alcoholic gin and tonic.

Swift, Old Compton Street, W1D 4TQ | Visit their Instagram

©Three Spirit

Beaufort Bar at the Savoy Hotel, Strand

The glamorous Beaufort Bar at the Savoy Hotel will make you feel super-luxe, and it’s a great spot for a romantic evening. The drinks selection is outstanding and all inspired by the theme ‘interpreted magic’. So alcohol or not, the mixologists are specially trained to make spellbinding concoctions. The food on the menu has been curated to complement the cocktails.

Savoy Hotel, 91-92 Strand, WC2R 0EZ | Visit their Instagram

FAM Bar, Oxford Street

Smack bang in the centre of London, the Fam Bar is aimed at creating a neighbourhood, family-style atmosphere. It does this by focusing on a casual vibe, a vintage sound system, simple snacks and reliable favourites on the drinks menu. Refreshing zero-alcohol options are made with Everleaf aperitifs and Aecorn bitters.

FAM, Cnr. Picton place & Duke Street, W1U 1LG | Visit their Instagram

©Three Spirit

Lyaness, Southbank

The Lyaness’s cocktail menu centres around five ingredients: oyster honey, blood curaçao, green sauce liqueur, malt & grass amazake, and fruit furikake – all of which can be ordered to taste by themselves. While not all suitable for vegans (the oyster honey is literally made with oyster shells and honey, while the blood curaçao gets its depth and richness from pigs’ blood), the menu clearly indicates which cocktails are booze-less. Fresh and interesting flavours, such as fermented coconut and pine, are mixed up with Seedlip and Aecorn products to create exceptionally extraordinary elixirs. Try the 1-Up or the Brackish Rickey.

Lyaness, Sea Containers London, SE1 9PD | Visit their Instagram

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