The renaissance of mocktails: where to try some of the best

Forget fruit punch — booze-free concoctions are now classier and more complex than ever. Here's where you should be drinking them

By Christopher Beanland
Redemption Bar, by Andrea Waters and Catherine Salway.
Redemption Bar, by Andrea Waters and Catherine Salway.
Photograph by Catherine Gratwicke

The basics
Brits are giving up drinking en masse — and not just for Dry January. Recent figures show 30% of 16-24 year olds in England don’t drink at all, with sales of alcohol-free wines and spirits on the rise. So, it’s only natural booze-less cocktails would follow suit. Once little more than sugary mixtures of fruit juice, mocktails are now being produced with the care and complexity of cocktails. And they’ve been embraced by the pros, including award-winning mixologist Mr Lyan, at his now-closed London bar, Dandelyan (his next venture launches this year). His mantle has been seized upon by bartenders at the likes of east London’s Sager + Wilde, Angelica in Leeds and Juniper in Edinburgh. Elsewhere, in Chelmsford, Essex, there’s an alcohol-free bar, Abstinence, while Liverpool is home to a completely dry pub, The Brink. The rise of the mocktail has also been powered by 0% spirits, which taste and behave like alcohol, making booze-free beverages more rounded. Many of these emulate gin: Seedlip’s Garden spirits are in hundreds of bars and new launch Ceder’s is backed by drinks industry behemoth Pernod Ricard. You can also enhance a mocktail with aperitifs; Campari offers a no-alcohol version, Crodino, and there’s a new bittersweet 0% aperitif from Britvic called Monte Rosso.

Around the world
The UK isn’t the only place going sober. In the US, renowned bartender Julia Momose created a 0% pairing menu for Chicago restaurant Oriole, and is due to open a new bar, Kumiko, in the same city, with non-alcoholic options. Booze-free drinks are also big in health-conscious cities such as LA (check out Gracias Madre’s ‘on the wagon’ menu) and Sydney (try Bloodwood’s virgin negroni).

Try it at home
There are several new mocktail recipe books out there. Seedlip, The Cocktail Book, by founder Ben Branson, is crowned with a 0% martini recipe (£14.99, Bantam Press). Meanwhile, Redemption Bar, by Andrea Waters and Catherine Salway, founders of the London bars of the same name, features a pineapple margarita (£12.99, Kyle Books).

Published in the March 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller Food

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