London's best mocktails
This wooden-clad Hackney hideout prides itself on its organic, additive-free and seasonally-led tipples. Arrack, sake and herbal liqueur blends all grace the alcoholic drinks menu but the bar's rather virtuous Temperance option is equally exotic. Here, a sour kombucha base is mixed with fennel seed, pomegranate molasses and cardamom tonic. With flavours this busty, who the hell even needs booze?
Going teetotal in Polpo's Dive Bar, just off Shaftesbury Avenue, is surprisingly do-able and that's entirely thanks to the Rock Shandy. Shun the bar's ever-popular 'Spritz Hour' for a glass or five (go on, you're allowed!) of this sherbet-y lemonade swirled with bitters and fresh limes and you can enjoy all the fizz without having to suffer the Aperol shakes the morning after.
In this Shoreditch speakeasy the order of the day is most often any spirit over 40 percent ABV. Though for those on a strictly sober night out, there is a solid choice of faux-tails (my words, not theirs) to choose from. But if none of those tickle your fancy, simply flag down the barman, explain exactly the flavours, fruits, depth and dryness you're after and he will shake up something to satisfy.
The cocktail menu at Dishoom King's Cross's Permit Room is a comprehensive read, so for the dinky but delectable list of booze-free options, head straight to the back page. Serving up an Indian twist on a South American classic, the froth-topped Virgin Bombay Colada is laced with a warming chai syrup, and exploits the freshness of crushed coriander and the zing of limes to balance out a sweet and oh-so velvety pineapple and coconut cream base.
At the home of guilt-free consumption in London, the list of non-alcoholic drinks (the only drinks served) is vast. No need to scan the whole menu, however, simply pick straight from the top and go for the camp-as-Christmas Cocotini. Made from mix of red berries and refreshing coconut water, this mock martini is shaken with crushed ice and then drizzled with lime juice for a zesty, wince-inducing aftertaste. Granted, it's not the most ingenious concoction, but boy is it delicious.
Sure, visiting The Rum Kitchen and ordering a rum-less tipple does seem a little pointless. That said, if you can resist the temptation to sample one of the many Caribbean-imported distils on the drinks menu, this virgin drink is an absolute belter. Punchier than Mike Tyson at a Punch and Judy show, the mix of ginger ale, lime, and zingy grapefruit juice will transport you to Jamaica and back with absolutely no sign of jetlag the next day.
Located in the 'Size Zero' section of the cocktail menu at Mayfair's most sultry seafood restaurant, the Seedside is so convincingly alcoholic-tasting that even Shane MacGowan would be fooled. But how? Made from bark, spices and citrus peel in a similar process to the herbal remedies of 17th century London, Seedlip is the "world's first booze-free distilled spirit". Sugar-free, calorie-free and sweetener-free too, when blended with sugar, mint, lime and soda, it’s leagues tastier than a gin and slim.
Read more on less sinful drinking
Step away from the mocktail. For all its good intentions, it's not the only way to go if you're on a health kick and want to curb the calories. We've found a bevy of low-calorie cocktails in London that are big on taste, big on booze and in some cases, a very big deal. So from superstar martinis to healthy mojitos and even nifty negronis, enjoy these guilt-free picks around town (but maybe not all at once).
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