London is indisputably the current cocktail capital of Europe, with Dukes, Browns, Swift, Trailer Happiness and Artesian (to name but a few) all testament to the city’s maximal measure of mixologists. The sophistication of the capital’s cocktail lists (with their exotic ingredients and startling juxtapositions of flavours) combined with the wellness phenomenon spearheaded by Generation Abstemious has in turn led to a thirst for non-alcoholic cocktails that look, smell and even taste, as good as the real thing, and almost every bar worth its salted rim now has a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails (particularly noteworthy are Dandelyan, 69 Colebrooke Row, Bar Termini, the Bulgari and the Green Bar at the Café Royal).
There is even Club Soda, a mindful drinking movement, which is running the UK’s first Mindful Drinking Festival at Bermondsey Square Hotel on Sunday August 13 (free entry but online registration required), spotlighting a select group of alcohol-free craft beers, wines, infusions and lower-sugar sodas. Key players in the non-alcoholic revolution such as The London Essence Company, Fentimans and Square Root Sodas will be in attendance. Their focus on higher-quality ingredients with specific provenances has helped lead to a mocktail explosion that includes ingredients such as aloe vera, capillaire, dandelion root, hawthorn, shiso leaf, kumquat and allspice, and mixologists will be on hand to create cocktails that combine these alcohol-free concoctions with “spirits” such as Seedlip, a sugar-free, distilled zero-alcohol tipple that comes in two flavours, Spice and Garden, and is packaged to look like a craft gin.
As well as the Seedlip Garden Sour (recipe below) there will also be Botonique Sterling Serve (a cheeky concoction that recalls dry white wine, gin, vermouth, champagne, tonic and absinthe) and Eisberg’s Rosé and Grapefruit Spritz. “It will be the first drinks festival where only the glasses get smashed,” say Club Soda founders Laura Willoughby MBE and Jussi Tolvi.
Seedlip garden sour
50ml Seedlip garden
35ml cloudy apple juice
15ml lemon juice
5ml cider vinegar
Sprigs of rosemary and thyme
Dash of sugar and egg white
Serve in a cocktail glass and garnish with rosemary needles