Looking back on the gin-soaked, heady days of Boozy Friday, it occurred to me that we never gave any suggestions for non-alcoholic alternatives and I thought it was about time I remedied that. Now when I’m talking temperance options, I don’t mean the weak lemon squash suggested by the elderly ladies who came to visit my Brownie unit when I was young (we were 10! why were they lecturing us on the evils of the demon drink?!)
Instead, I’ve gathered my favourite drinks that actually, y’know, taste good and are healthy(ish), so whether you’re the designated driver, pregnant or still feel a bit drunk from the night before and it’s slightly scaring you, you have something to drink other than litres of tooth-decaying cola.
Apple juice and soda waterI like proper old fashioned cloudy apple juice (Innocent does a good one and it always seems to be on offer) mixed with soda water – it’s so refreshing and is my favourite breakfast drink.
These have fast become my summer soft drink of choice. The Brit brand uses a Japanese infusion method and blends of natural ingredients like persimmon, goji berries, lemon peel and challenger hops (whatever they are) to make these fizzy, additive-free drinks which are 49 calories per bottle to boot (no aspartame in sight, thank God). What I like most about them is the fact that they’re not too sweet and the flavours are quite subtle and grown-up. I was chugging this stuff while nervously watching Andy Murray win Wimbledon on Sunday. www.kojidrinks.co.uk
Pretentious artisanal lemonadeI buy Lorina lemonade as much for the bottles as for their contents. Just look, aren't they beautiful? They make a wonderful dinner party gift because they look so big and impressive, you can drink it AND your host can keep the bottle (and they cost £2.99 – win!) When your Lorina bottle is empty rinse with very hot water, scrub the label off and use to keep cooking oil in, or decant your cheapo bubble bath into it and keep in the bathroom. (Side note: if you have unobservant friends, warn them that you keep your olive oil in old gin bottles too, as they may try to mix it with tonic and drink it at parties.)
Lime and sodaNo, not the lime cordial topped up with soda water that must surely be the cheapest drink in a pub (10p people! TEN P!) but two real, actual limes, sliced in half and squeezed to death, dropped in a large tumbler with plenty of ice and soda water. Wow. This really is a zinger and the coolest, most refreshing thing you could drink on a dusty, stifling summer day in the city when you’ve just got home from work after a long, sweaty bus/tube ride and are desperately trying to bring your temperature down to less-than-boiling. If the lime is too sour, stir in a little bit of icing sugar.
Cream SodaI’ve recently rediscovered the delights of cream soda, which was my favourite pop when I was a kid. Despite the fact that it’s probably, possibly meant to taste like vanilla, I like the fact that it bears no resemblance to any known natural flavour under the sun (a bit like Red Bull, but I never drink that – I’m not a monster.) When you can’t find a chi-chi little deli or Waitrose to purchase your artisanal lemonade from, this is your corner shop saviour.
This thing I made with old raspberries and strawberriesThey were looking a bit squishy and I wasn't planning on eating them, but then I put them in a blender with ice and some icing sugar and it came out like this! Pretty good, eh?
Now tell me, when pressed, what is your non-alcoholic drink of choice? Are you a Rubicon fan? Does Ribena do it for you every time (mmm, Ribena, forgot about that...) Share!