What to drink when you’re not drinking
January is a tough month. Across the world, people who have over-indulged over the Christmas period (myself included here!) decide to do take things easy in January – to replenish their bodies with good food and more exercise. And after Christmas, where it feels acceptable to drink your first glass of prosecco at 10am (just me?), it’s time to give your liver a break and cut down or cut out alcohol altogether.
But non-alcoholic drinks can be a real struggle! I don’t like drinking sugary drinks like coke a lot, but it feels incredibly dull to just have water, especially if I’m in a pub. Somehow, even though wine and beer is still full of sugar, they don’t leave that same sugar coating on your teeth and tongue that I sometimes feel with soft drinks. And while I love juice, there’s only so much orange juice I can stomach. The lure of a crisp glass of white wine starts to feel very appealing after a few weeks of good behaviour.
So, what to drink when you’re not drinking? Here are four drinks that are alcohol free, don’t taste super-sugary and will keep you on the straight and narrow…
- Lime and soda. I hate processed lime and soda. I find the fluorescent green cordial is sickly sweet and who knows what bad stuff has been pumped into it to make it that colour! BUT fresh lime and soda is delicious. Squeeze the juice from a thick slice of lime into a glass of icy soda water and drop the slice into the glass. Add a sprig of mint as well and stir vigorously. A slice or two of cucumber wouldn’t go amiss here, either. A lot more flavour than a plain glass of soda water, and best of all, if the soda is on tap, it’s often free in the pub. I actually saw someone having a slice of grapefruit and soda in the pub recently, but I’m not sure how available that is…
- Non-alcoholic beer. This used to be a really weak and flavourless substitute for the real thing (hello, Becks Blue, I’m looking at you), but there are SO many good brews out there now. Bavaria is easy to find and comes in both lager and weissbier versions. BrewDog do their excellent Nanny State (currently only available in their bars though – BrewDog, when are you going to let us order this online?). A lot of (nice) pubs I’ve been to recently have different options behind the bar – it’s definitely worth asking to see what’s on offer. For example, at the Approach pub in Bethnal Green, they have a couple of different alcohol free beers. I had a bottle of Tannenzäpfle and then a bottle of Rothaus – both delicious, German, alcohol free beers.
- Iced herbal tea. This is super easy to make at home, but also surprisingly easy to make when you’re out! Most pubs have herbal tea. All pubs have ice. Order a mint or lemon & ginger tea and a glass of ice and, once the tea has cooled a little, mix. Simple. (Although perhaps not one to order in a busy bar with lots of jostling!)
- Fruit boost. Put a small amount of mixed berries (or any other soft fruit like plums or peaches) and some mint or basil into a glass, smush up a bit with your straw, then top up with soda. This is a little bit sweeter than the others, but tastes fresh and is also full of vitamins, especially if you eat the fruit up at the end.
Do you have any other booze-free staples? Please share your recommendations!Keep in touch