The soft option
Published 07 January 2020

Teetotallers and designated drivers deserve better than sugary sodas and mass-market drinks when eating out. Happily, a number of restaurants have come up with more creative ways to quench their customers’ thirsts.

There’s a page on the drinks list at Etch in Brighton that is devoted to soft drinks of every stripe. Keep it local with Wobblegate juices and Regency tonic from Sussex.

The bartenders at Charlotte’s Bistro in Chiswick make all their own purées, cordials and infusions. Seasonal delights might include rhubarb iced tea or Kew punch made with homemade eucalyptus syrup.

There’s a choice of two alcohol-free drinks flights available with Isaac McHale’s multi-course tasting menus at the Clove Club in east London. Choose either juices or ambient teas including microlots of rooibos and pu’er from small estates.

Nationwide group Hawksmoor’s ace bartenders do not overlook non-drinkers. Earl Grey iced tea, Steady Pete’s Ginger Brew and the addictive cornflake milkshake are just some of the options.

Timberyard in Edinburgh keeps its foragers busy with a drinks list that includes sea buckthorn, pickled elderflower, and rhubarb and pickled larch.

Published January 2020

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