Forget sickly sweet ‘mocktails’ made with fruit juice. These days, alcohol-free cocktails are chic, sophisticated and, most importantly, delicious. Whether you’ve overdone it on the booze at Christmas, you’re taking part in Dry January, or you just fancy trying something a bit different, London’s bars and restaurants have you covered with lots of creative low- and no-alcohol cocktails.
From alcohol-free twists on classics to totally new concoctions, there are plenty of options to work your way through this month – and beyond. Kensington cocktail bar Amaro is bringing a teetotal twist to aperitivo hour with its Aperibaldi cocktail that’s made with alcohol-free aperitif Crodino, while Mayfair restaurant Apricity has created a booze-free Espresso Martini that uses spent coffee grounds. Meanwhile, Lyaness, the award-winning bar from cocktail whizz Mr Lyan, has you covered with The Goldblum Whiptail, a unique mix of tree caramel, burnt pea pods, and lime blossom.
Bars and restaurants across the UK capital are embracing the low and no alcohol trend, which is continuing to grow in popularity – and not just for Dry January. The IWSC’s Low & No Awards has been a huge success since its launch in 2019 – and entries for the 1.2% and lower category were up more than 225% in 2022, proving that alcohol-free and low ABV tipples are here to stay.
With so many innovative drinks on offer, there’s no need to go into hibernation if you’re not drinking. And of course, sipping on these means you’ll be hangover-free in the morning, too. We’ll raise a glass to that.
Here’s our pick of the most exciting alcohol-free drinks at some of London’s best bars and restaurants.
Nine ace alcohol-free cocktails from top London bars and restaurants
The Hogweed Java
This Mayfair restaurant is all about conscious cooking with foraged ingredients and sustainable produce – and that extends to its drinks menu, too. Apricity’s latest seasonal creations include The Hogweed Java, a fresh take on the classic Espresso Martini. It’s a mix of hogweed seeds, which bring a citrussy and spicy flavour, and a syrup made with spent coffee grounds, for that essential caffeine hit. It’ll give you a buzz without the booze.
Pretty in Pink
This month, Bethnal Green bar Coupette has a whole Dry January menu, so there’s no danger of you going thirsty should you be abstaining. With its lovely rosy hues, the bar’s Pretty in Pink cocktail looks particularly appealing. As well as being aesthetically pleasing, it delivers on taste, too. With New London Light’s non-alcoholic spirit as the base, it’s balanced with a mix of sweet and bitter flavours – strawberry, vanilla, lemon and pink pomelo soda.
In the basement of Soho’s Argentinian restaurant Sucre, you’ll find Alma, a cocktail bar from the same team. Here, they offer an alcohol-free version of a few of their cocktails, including the Himalaya. Made with osmanthus tea, jackfruit coulis, tamarind cordial and fresh lime juice, it’s full of punchy and fragrant flavours, so you won’t miss the booze one bit.
Kaya Yen Orgeat
Dreaming of tropical beaches and balmy nights right now? Head to speakeasy bar Nightjar Carnaby for an alcohol-free tipple that’s pretty much sunshine in a glass. Made with Atopia’s 0.5% Spiced Citrus spirit, the Kaya Yen Orgeat cocktail is full of fragrant flavours like Thai coconut and almond orgeat syrup, coconut water, mango purée, fresh galangal and lime leaf.
For a taste of aperitivo hour without the spirits, Italian cocktail bar Amaro has you covered. This Kensington spot has created an alcohol-free version of the Garibaldi cocktail. Traditionally made with Campari and orange juice, the Aperibaldi gets its bitter notes from non-alcoholic aperitif Crodino, which is balanced with freshly squeezed orange juice, strawberry cordial and lemon juice. Bellissimo!
The Goldblum Whiptail
Mr Lyan, aka Ryan Chetiyawardana, is known for being a cocktail-making genius, and his non-alcoholic concoctions are no exception. At Lyaness, his bar at the Sea Containers hotel on the South Bank, you can opt for a booze-free version of some of his creative cocktails. Don’t miss The Goldblum Whiptail, which mixes unusual ingredients – tree caramel, burnt pea pods, lime blossom – with the non-alcoholic spirit Seedlip Garden instead of gin.
The Six Elements
This chic, 1920s-inspired bar at Mayfair hotel The Beaumont specialises in bourbons, American whiskies and classic cocktails, but that doesn’t mean teetotallers will be short-changed here. It has a few alcohol-free options on the menu, but try The Six Elements, a refreshing mix of jasmine and rose syrup, lime syrup, agave syrup and pineapple juice.
Marine Drive Spritz
Restaurant group Dishoom is known for its tasty Bombay-inspired food, but it also serves up brilliant cocktails. If you fancy a refreshing spritz without the hit of booze, try the Marine Drive Spritz. It’s a mix of citrusy non-alcoholic spirit Crossip, Cabernet rosé grape juice and soda.
The Royal Fizz
Who says waterside drinking is only for the summer months? At Bruno’s, a new bar at floating restaurant Caravel, you can sip cocktails on the canal all year round. Housed in a barge, this watering hole has a solid selection of non-alcoholic drinks. Try The Royal Fizz, a fragrant and fruity mix of earl grey tonic, peach and lemon.