I am off the booze at the moment.* I’m not a big drinker, in fact my alcohol consumption was fairly low on normal weeks, but I am missing it: a cold beer with food or cocktails on a night out. So I am on the look out for non alcoholic gems.
So what to drink when you’re not drinking?
I know a lot of people would say just drink water. I drink lots of it during my working day, and I always ask for a jug of tap water with a meal, but it gets pretty dull pretty quickly. Slices of fruit help but I have my limits.
Pubs, Bars and Restaurants
Out and about I find pubs the worst for choice. It drives me mad that often the alternatives to alcohol are either really sweet (J20 coats my teeth) or fizzy yet bland (bloaty) or caffeinated (I don’t drink tea or coffee so caffeine really hits me).
Tonic water ticks quite a few boxes. Not sweet, not too fizzy, and with ice and lime I can kid myself into thinking it’s a long G&T! I discovered at Festival Number 6 last year a range of flavours from Fever-Tree who had a bar there. There was a really refreshing lemon one which I can’t get locally but have become quite partial to the Mediterranean version.
I love old school flavours which leads me to Fentimans, I really enjoy their Dandelion and Burdock and get it more and more in pubs and restaurants. The Rose Lemonade also deserves a spot in my hall of fame but it is super sweet so that’s more of a one off than a session option.
Non alcoholic cocktails can be an option when we’re out, but some err on the sweet side. I had a great one in Jamie’s Italian in Liverpool which was lychee, lime, mint and soda water. At the same time Andrew had a ginger mojito. Both were worthy of being recreated at home. Sakana in Manchester came up with something fruity and lychee based when I asked for a mocktail there. Maybe I need a few shares in a lychee farm to help me.
One of my favourite places to eat in Manchester at the moment is Iberica but there is nothing non alcoholic on the menu. The first time I went, with a pregnant friend, we were able to get the waiter to make us something akin to a fresh lemonade, but on subsequent visits no such luck. Places need to wise up – there is money in selling premium non alcoholic options and I consider my drinks part of the night so I don’t think it is too much to ask to have a short list available.
I am currently working my way through the shelves of the local supermakets!
I love ginger beer and Fentleman’s is my preference but it is an expensive habit. Old Jamaica sugar free is better for the waistline than the full fat version but not as fiery.
I’ve just discovered that San Pellegrino limonata is available in Sainsbury’s in cute little Orangina style bottles. Far tastier than the stuff which passes for lemonade in two litre bottles and makes me feel like I am on holiday!
I’m trying to drink more milk and have discovered that a drop of Spice Drops chai masala mix in a massive glass gives me the chai flavour which I love but without the caffeine. Am off to India in a few months so probably need to build up my caffeine tolerance because chai is the one caffeinated tea I love.
Talking of hot drinks I’m very much a hot Vimto girl but it’s not quite the time of year for that, and it doesn’t lend itself to being ordered in a pub!
So I’m reaching out, I need your help! What do you order at the bar if you’re not drinking? Or maybe you’ve never drunk alcohol for whatever reason- what’s your tipple of choice? Let me know in the comments below, on Facebook or Twitter and save me from hydration frustration!
* No, before you ask, I’m not pregnant!