Not drinking for a little while or planning a date with a tee-totaller?
Whatever the reason, it shouldn’t stop you exploring and enjoying our capital’s bar scene as more and more of London’s best bartenders are experimenting with new flavours and techniques to create cocktails that also happen to be alcohol-free.
So steer clear of sugary fruit juice mixes or obligatory soda and lime with our list of the top ten non-alcoholic cocktail menus in London. As well as looking out for innovation both in deliciousness (of course) and attractiveness – we also checked whether the non-alcoholic options were weighted equally to their boozy counterparts rather than an afterthought at the end of the menu.
It shows real skill and knowledge to create something incredible without the complexity offered by the addition of alcoholic spirit, so it’s not surprising that this list includes some of the best bars in the world. Have any favourites that aren’t on the list? Hit us up with the non-alcoholic drinks you’re imbibing on Instagram by tagging @drinkupldn and we’ll check them out! So, in no particular order...
1. The American Bar at The Savoy
Teetotallers need not feel any less glamorous than their drinking dates at The American Bar, who have added a delicious option made with Seedlip non-alcoholic spirit to every page of their cocktail menu. The team have approached the creation of these drinks as they have the rest of the menu, so you can expect the same delicious liquids and jaw-dropping presentation that this award-winning bar is known for.
Try: Garden of England: Seedlip, cranberry juice, coffee tonic and Potash Farm roasted hazelnut syrup.
Notes: Served in a beautiful terrarium on a bed of dry flower petals and bark. The coffee tonic gives this long drink a deliciously bitter and grown-up aftertaste.
Cost: £11.50 vs 16-£50 for alcoholic cocktails
2. Eve Bar
This luxurious underground den below The Frog by Adam Handling replicates the drinks from the pairing menu upstairs – which means a full page of delicious and innovatively-created “Non-Intoxicating” options that are designed to go well with food, and that all use seasonal ingredients.
Try: Carrot: Coconut, Lime
Notes: Extremely light, fresh and clean, with just the right amount of citrus, this drink naturally makes a perfect non-alcoholic aperitif.
Cost: £7.50 vs £12 for alcoholic cocktails
3. Gong Bar
Non-alcoholic cocktails with a view - the team at Gong Bar have dedicated a whole section of their cinema-inspired menu to non-boozy options. Aptly-named the Animation/Superhero section, this menu includes some incredibly unusual (but delicious) combinations of ingredients.
Try: Oo De Lally: Beetroot, lime, chocolate and vanilla, English mustard.
Notes: Inspired by Wolfgang Reitherman, one of Disney’s most famous animators, this tasty savoury/sour cocktail is served in an unusual wooden mug with a chocolate coin garnish. Don’t be scared by the English Mustard - it barely comes through but just adds a subtle spice.
Cost: £11 vs £18 for alcoholic cocktails
4. Connaught Bar at The Connaught
Delicious drinks in glorious surroundings, you can enjoy the impeccable service at The Connaught whether you’re drinking or not. They have added a carefully-created non-alcoholic option to each page of their Expressions menu, with drinks inspired by exotic and faraway places – so expect some very special ingredients.
Try: Carried on the Breeze: Osmanthus flower tea, orange blossom syrup, lime juice, tamarillo Kombucha.
Notes: Kombucha (fermented tea) – which we’re seeing more and more on London’s drinks menus adds real complexity to this drink and there’s a delicious savoury hint at the end.
Cost: £11 vs £18-£20 for alcoholic cocktails
5. Be At One
You’ll find a Be At One on many a street corner these days - but don’t let the familiarity of this bar chain put you off, instead be joyful that a good non-alcoholic cocktail need never be too far away, because these guys really know their drinks. They have put together an extensive list of non-alcoholic options, each highlighted both on their own page, and throughout the menu by a small “angel” icon. Thumbs up to Be At One!
Try: Drop the Beet: Seedlip Garden 108, Beetroot Shrub, Droplet Celery Bitters.
Notes: This short cocktail uses the beetroot shrub and Droplet celery bitters to add a grown-up element and Seedlip Garden 108 for complexity - it’s sweet and drinkable with an interesting herbaceous finish!
Cost: £4-£6 vs £6-£10
6. Sexy Fish
Creating a strong non-alcoholic offering has been important to the guys at Sexy Fish since the start, and their new menu, which launches this month, is no different - we were lucky enough to get a sneak-peek at what’s on offer and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. The recipe-book design of this menu means you can replicate your favourite at home! Bonus!
Try: Something Tiki: Orange juice, toasted coconut cream, yuzu, Tonka bean, garnished with a mermaid tail biscuit spread with kaya jam.
Notes: If you like Tiki drinks you will love this fruity but adult concoction – made even better by the mermaid tiki mug it’s served in (and mermaid tail garnish!)
Cost: £7-£8 vs £12-£30 for alcoholic cocktails
7. The Alchemist
Non-alcoholic options are certainly not a second thought for the team at The Alchemist – with a well thought out selection of non-boozy choices sitting pride of place within the beautifully-designed main menu with some fantastic savoury options and, of course, a molecular twist.
Try: The Bubblygum: Bubblegum, apple, cranberry, lime, bubbles.
Notes: This drink gives you all the smoke, mirrors and Instagram opportunities this molecular mixology bar is well known for. A little on the sweet side for our palates – but so much fun.
Cost: £4-£5 vs £8-£10 for alcoholic cocktails
This drink gives you all the smoke, mirrors and Instagram opportunities this molecular mixology bar is well known for.
The guys at Dandelyan have been pioneers in the non-alcoholic realm, and are completely committed to ensuring their booze-less drinks offer their guests the same complexity and intrigue as the rest of the menu. They’re launching a new list this month, and this time, rather than having boozeless drinks in a separate section, they’ll be celebrating flavours throughout the menu – with or without booze, creating drinks that are designed to work in both an alcoholic and a boozeless format.
Try: Everything! This menu launches in the next coming days and we’re yet to get our eyes on it – so we’ll see you at the bar where we’ll be working through the list!
Cost: £7-£8.50 vs £12.50-£14 for alcoholic cocktails
9. The Permit Room at Dishoom
An unexpected entry on this top ten, Dishoom offers soft versions of classics on their “Cosy Tipples” list – think “Dry Old Fashioned” and “Sober Martini” as well as longer drinks on their “Sharbats etc” menu, totalling two full pages of non-alcoholic options.
Try: The Sober Martini – Juniper, ginger and gentian root in grape and cucumber waters
Notes: Whilst this cocktail doesn’t quite pack the same punch as a classic Martini, you’ll feel like you’re ordering the real thing when they ask you “olive or twist?”
Cost: £3.90 - £6 vs £7.50 - £9 for alcoholic cocktails
The team at Scout have extended their promise to use just seasonal produce from UK growers, farmers and foragers, onto their “Non Alc Cocktails” and their sustainable and innovative methodology has resulted in a list of seriously interesting drinks.
Try: Meadowsweet: Oak Aged Meadowsweet, Non Alc Vermouth, Cherry, Vetiver.
Notes: Scout have turned non-alcoholic vermouth into a reality, and this sweet/savoury cocktail using oak aged tea is definitely reminiscent of a Manhattan. YUM.
Cost: £6 vs £11 for alcoholic cocktails
Quick note: For those abstainers who may feel on the verge of a wobble when faced with any hard-liquor descriptions, this bar is a great option as cocktails (including alcoholic varieties) are described in flavour rather than listing specific ingredients, which means no spirits mentioned at all on the menu (although beer and wine is listed as normal).