Stirring Stories

What To Drink When You Are Not Drinking

A Rock Shandy is best drunk in the sun, overlooking water.  This version of the non alcoholic cocktail was mixed at the Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town.

A Rock Shandy is best drunk in the sun, overlooking water. This version of the non alcoholic cocktail was mixed at the Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town.

For reasons not quite clear to anyone, about a quarter of all drinkers in the UK give up the stuff in January.  Some claim health benefits after a gloriously drunken December holiday.  Others wish to save money.  Regardless, it creates a problem – what to drink when you are not drinking?  Your choices are usually water (boring) or a selection of sickly sweet carbonated drinks or fruit juices.  It is debatable whether there are any health benefits in giving up alcohol and replacing it with sugar.

In South Africa I discovered the Rock Shandy.  This drink is a delightfully grown up non alcoholic mix of one part carbonated lemonade (or Sprite/Seven Up), one part soda and a generous dash of Angostura Bitters, sometimes garnished with a slice of lemon and a Maraschino cherry.  The bitters turns the drink an appetising shade of Campari-like orange and provide a slight bitterness that adds depth and body.  In Malawi a popular variation is to replace the soda water with spicy ginger beer.

If you have managed to make it this far into the New Year without a drink, congratulations!  Mix up a Rock Shandy and look forward to that first martini in a few days.  Cheers!

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The Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel in London, voted the Best Bar in the World 2013, has a delightfully inventive non alcoholic cocktail menu.  My favourite is the non alcoholic G&T made by infusing tonic water with gin botanicals (primarily Juniper).  Drunk over ice with a slice of lime, you barely notice the absence of spirits.

2017-04-12T12:17:39+00:00January 30th, 2014|