30 July 2014

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London's best bars for non-alcoholic cocktails


Mark's Bar at Hix - Mark's_Bar_at_Hix_2009_-_downstairs_bar.jpgWhether you’ve decided to stay off the sauce for Lent, are shunning booze as part of a detox, or just prefer to go out on the town without feeling worse for wear the next day, there's no need to take the fun out of your bar ordering. Check out Square Meal’s pick of the best juices, teas and mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails) on offer at London’s bars.

The Connaught Bar at The Connaught, Mayfair

This super-glam bar serves superbly balanced virgin cocktails. Try the 'tea rinfresco' (meaning ‘I refresh you’), a blend of ginger syrup, lime juice, lychee purée, mandarin juice, Earl Grey tea, and soda water.

Dishoom, Covent Garden and Shoreditch

Beer with curry is not the Indian way: the done thing is to accompany your spicy food with a fruit juice, lassi or punch. There are plenty to choose from at Dishoom, from the rose-and-cardamom lassi to the house punch (a mixture of exotic fruit juices, coconut and Darjeeling tea) and 'Thums Up' (sic), a sweeter version of Coke from India.

Hawksmoor_Spits_2012_-3.jpgHawksmoor, various locations (pictured, left)

Hawksmoor’s cocktail list is a mouthwatering potted history in mixology. At the end is a selection of fun non-alcoholic drinks, from fruit juices to ‘cornflake milkshake’ and apple mojito. Try one…if your resolve doesn’t falter before you reach them.

Kenza, City

This sultry, luxuriously decorated bar has a good selection of Middle Eastern-style cocktails on its list, including mazouza, a blend of peach and lychee, and adara, a virgin bloody Mary made with harissa.

Mark’s Bar at Hix, Soho (pictured, top right)

Although the cocktails at this cool underground hangout are hard to resist, there’s an admirable range of high-quality fruit juices on offer for the non-drinker. The Sunday Times' restaurant critic (and noted tee-totaller) AA Gill also rated the mocktail he was served here as ‘the best non-alcoholic cocktail I’ve ever had, based on green tea and lime.’ And if it’s good enough for him…

Tea-tox at Bam-bou - Tea-tox_at_Bam-bou_2010_-TeaTox2_5_6_5.jpg

The Red Bar, Fitzrovia (pictured, right)

Bam-Bou’s bar serves an interesting variety of non-alcoholic drinks, including fruit mocktails. Try a virgin colada (freshly pressed pineapple juice, coconut syrup, milk and lime juice) or a zingy green martini (lemongrass, ginger, apple juice and kaffir lime). Alternatively, sip on pai mu silver needle tea (a rare white tea), rose of the Orient (green tea flavoured with rose buds), organic pai nettle and mistletoe, or tea made with camomile flowers.

Saf, Kensington

Vegan raw food trailblazer Saf serves non-alcoholic botanical cocktails such as thyme time (thyme leaves with lime juice, vegan Worcestershire sauce, celery bitters and orange zest) and lavender mule (ginger, lavender, lemon and sparkling water). Its wide selection of juice blends and signature teas will also make you forget the trials of Lent.

Wabi London, Covent Garden

With its glamorous dining room and theatrical dishes, Wabi London ensures that special-occasion feel even if you're off the booze. Many of the Asian-inspired cocktails can be made without alcohol and can be matched to dishes on the tasting menu – ideal if everyone else in your group opts for wine pairings. Try the red lotus (a blend of lychee sorbet, yuzu juice and pomegranate juice), or  the duchess (a mixture of lychee juice, lemon juice, lemongrass sugar and ginger beer).

Wahaca Mezcal - Wahaca_Mezcal_Bar_2010_-_untitled.jpgWahaca Cocktail and Mezcal Bar, Canary Wharf (pictured, left)

This offshoot of Thomasina Miers’ chain of Mexican canteens serves the refreshing soft drinks found in the restaurants, such as hibiscus water (cranberry-flavoured Mexican flower juice), horchata (almond and rice milk with cinnamon) and virgin mojitos, as well as hard liquor alternatives.

Watatsumi, Covent Garden

The natty little bar at this sushi newcomer just off Trafalgar Square serves super-tasty mocktails. Try the mint blossom (passion fruit, mint leaves, apple juice and elderflower cordial and ginger-lemon syrup) or the house virgin mojito (fresh lime and mint fused with blueberry syrup and cranberry juice).

This feature was updated in January 2013.

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