Alcohol free events: tips and recipes from London’s bartenders


/ Last Updated:

By Go Ask eve

At eve, we arrange thousands of events every year, and we get it. As event planners, there’ll be weeks of back-to-back events, and there’s no judgement from us if you take a night or two (or seven!) off the booze.
We’ve chatted to some of the Capital’s most talented barmen to give you the lowdown on the very best mocktails out there and, drum roll please, one award-winning drink even includes bacon. Sure.

Bending the rules on booze

As we all know, the events industry is sociable and its undeniably fun to be part of. Attending an event usually means having your glass filled up more times than you can count, but the times they are a’changin. We’ve been chatting to people working across many of our London venues and events and the feeling is that bucketloads of free alcohol at an event no longer has to go hand in hand with having fun. (Of course, sometimes it does – we’re not perfect!)

So, what’s going on?

A millennial mindset

Millennials are wising up to the detrimental effects that too much alcohol can have on their health, thanks in part to being a more diverse generation, an increased awareness of mental health and financial concerns (thanks baby boomers). In fact, 29% of 16-24 year olds never drink these days, according to a recent study. We admire your willpower guys! The same study also found that young people who do drink alcohol are drinking much less.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner?

The capital is leading the way with 27% of Londoners saying they don’t drink at all. It’s the highest proportion of teetotallers in the country, according to a 2018 survey from the Office of National Statistics.

Girl smiling at event with drink

Jonathan Reeve of Liv-ex (formerly of has been sampling the dry life for the last 8 months after realising that drinking was so woven in to his lifestyle…

“I didn’t like that fact that I didn’t feel in control, I like to be in charge, so I wanted to test if I could stop drinking full stop. It means going through parties and events without drinking…

“An immediate and lasting revelation of the experiment is how much easier it now is to go alcohol- free, even compare with five years ago, the alcohol- free tide is rising, and on it floats an ever- growing raft of interesting non- alcoholic beverages. Like a modern day Noah’s ark. There are now many decent alcohol-free alternatives which look and taste just like the original they are imitating!

“I believe that there is room for, and a need for, both alcoholic and decent non-alcoholic versions of the drinks we know and love. There’s no way I’m giving up alcoholic beverages permanently – there’s a reason that over 6,000 years our fascination with wine and beer has consistently increased. Real wine and real beer are beautiful, enjoyable things. But it is good to know that a group of friends can now go to a bar and share a near-identical experience (in every regard but the intoxication), even though one half are drinking non-alcoholic versions of the same drink.”

Be Mindful with your drinking...

Rosamund Dean- author of Mindful Drinking: How Cutting Down Can Change Your Life says: “If you drink more alcohol than you should (and British people drank an enamel-dissolving 40 million litres of prosecco in 2016), then the magic solution is simply to drink a bit less. This is where ‘mindful drinking’ which is essentially training yourself to drink in moderation – comes in.

“I know what you’re thinking: “Yeah, but that’s impossible with my social life/work culture/Tinder dates/stressful job/bonding with ‘mum friends’/appreciation of a cold Gin and Tonic. But between work events and wine at home and cocktails with friends and Sundays in the pub, you could easily be drinking double the recommended limit of 14 units a week, which is bad news for your body and mind.

“You don’t have to give up drinking altogether, but wouldn’t it be great to wake up clear-head by being more mindful about how much you’re consuming!”

Banishing the booze

So, with all the facts out there, let us give you the lowdown on cutting down on the tipples at your next event.

Champagne hack – “If you want to look like you’re drinking Champagne at a party, but you’d prefer to go alcohol free, ask the barkeep for a ginger beer – it looks exactly the same” suggests Becci – our Head of Business Development.

Buddy up

If you’re going to an event with a friend or colleague, get them to partner up with you in the no-drinking pact. Having a bit of support will make it so much easier to keep your willpower strong.

Beware the refill

Fancy a glass or two, but not 10? Keep a close eye on the roaming staff refilling your glass while you’re deep in conversation. They’re a stealthy bunch!


eve’s top three alcohol-free bars in London (with top tips from their barmen!)

If you’re trying to come up with an alcohol-free drinks list for your next event, you’ll get plenty of inspiration from these guys.

1.Redemption – Old Street

Redemption is a healthy-eating bar that’s free from alcohol, dairy, sugar and wheat. It looks great and the mocktails are so aesthetically pleasing you’ll want to photograph them instead of drink them. Try the Pious Pina Colada – a tropical combo of fresh pineapple juice, lemon juice, frozen pineapple, coconut kefir, coconut yoghurt and coconut milk. It’s a glass of beachside heaven.

Zoey Henderson, Head of Operations at Redemption says: “We have been serving non-alcoholic cocktails and beers for 5 years now and finally people are realising its cool not to drink!

“We have always made our cocktails from scratch using botanical ingredients and techniques to create innovative serves. We now have an amazing selection of non-alcoholic spirits in stock and can make some serious drinks that give traditional cocktails a run for their money!

“My favourite is ‘black magic’ we use Borrago botanical spirit blended with activated charcoal, coconut water, lemon juice and the star ingredient aquafaba (chickpea water) to give it expert sour foam!”

  1. The Connaught – Mayfair

The Connaught Bar at (you guessed it) The Connaught Hotel in Mayfair has a mocktail menu to die for. Our favourite virgin tipple is hidden in the menu’s ‘innocence’ section. “The mocktails are slick and inventive, made with the same love as a regular cocktail. One of our highlights  is ‘The Chill Out’ made with homemade chilli syrup. It’s got a kick! It’s got so much zing from the natural heat of the chilli, complemented with the sweetness of passion fruit for the perfect sweet and sour cocktail.”

  1. The Anthologist – City of London

The Anthologist, owned by Drake & Morgan, has a real emphasis on freshness. The tables and the windows are bursting with fresh basil, and fresh lemons and limes spill over every surface.

Mixologist and Bar Supervisor Filip Gregor, takes great pride in crafting incredible custom drinks. Virgin drinks and mocktails are his speciality now after realising that alcohol-free mocktails need to be made with the exact same care and attention as a regular cocktail.

His homemade infused syrups are a key ingredient, and there’s really nothing you can’t infuse — herbs, fruits, vegetables and even meat (we were gobsmacked too!). One of Gregor’s favourites is his bacon-infused Virgin Mary with tomato juice, salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce, lemon and Worcestershire sauce. So good, this drink won the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition last year.

“Sometimes less is more,” says Gregor. “With just a few ingredients you can create a classic,” he says.

At our eve launch party, we’re serving a non-alcoholic cocktail specially made for us by White Label cocktails. James from White Label Cocktails says: quotes to come from James

Make your own mocktails

Homemade mocktails are certainly getting easier with imitation spirits and wines cropping up like Seedlip, Botanique – a botanical fizz – and PUNCHY Drinks – the world’s first 0% abv spiced rum punch.

Get busy…

What you need:

Mixers ­– fruit juices, flavoured water and tonics
Teas – herbal teas and iced tea work like a charm
Espresso or coffee for a virgin take on the classic Espresso Martini
Olive brines – for that classic Dirty Martini flavour
Shrubs – we don’t mean your garden plants, we mean a concentrated syrup that combines fruit, sugar and vinegar. The result is a sweet, acidic mixer that can be enjoyed on its own or in a variety of mixed drinks

eve recommends:

We just can’t get enough of Shrbdrinks’ sodas. Inspired by Prohibition-era shrub making, they make sodas by steeping ingredients in apple cider vinegar, then adding spring water and a bit of fizz for a lightly sweet, subtle-tasting soda. Pickle juice from The Pickle House adds a zingy sour tang to cocktails, as does Wild Fizz Kombucha. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!

More from eve