The experts' guide to shaking up Dry January cocktails

Rob Crossan

18 January 2021

Three of London's finest mixologists on the mocktail recipes that never fail to impress

18 January 2021 | Rob Crossan

Let’s face it, you’re going to need an iron will to see out Dry January in 2021. But, should you have the fortitude to get through this, the longest and coldest of lockdown months, without a boozy tipple, your options are no longer confined to sipping on fruit juice interspersed with endless cups of herbal tea.

With the number of people choosing to cut back on their alcohol intake booming, the options for those going dry have never been greater – even in some of the capital’s most traditional bars. We asked three of the very finest mixologists in London to create a non-alcoholic cocktail recipe for you to create at home; here's what they came up with...

Salvatore Calabrese, The Donovan Bar at Brown's

Image courtesy of Janos Grapow

A genuine legend in the world of London mixology, Salvatore Calabrese’s story began in his home village on Italy's Amalfi coastline, where he worked in small, local bars and created his first cocktail at the age of 12. Moving to London in 1980, Calabrese worked in such august hotels as Dukes and the Lanesborough before moving to his present position at the Donovan Bar at Brown's Hotel in Mayfair. A former President of the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild, Calabrese’s cocktail books have sold in the millions and, to his fans and those in the industry, he is usually known simply as 'The Maestro’.

The cocktail: Ginger Alert

Calabrese says: “This is a drink designed to give your system a wake-up call with a fusion of ginger and apple flavours. This was one of the first non-alcoholic drinks I created some 20 years ago. It has all the nutrition you need and is the perfect pick-me-up to get us through the winter months. Of course, a dash of whisky or rum can be added…"

Ingredients

  • 100ml clear apple juice
  • 50ml clear pear juice
  • 20ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small piece fresh ginger
  • Ginger ale

Method

  1. Pour the apple, pear and lemon juices into a shaker with ice.
  2. Grate the ginger into the shaker.
  3. Shake well to infuse the ginger flavour.
  4. Strain into a highball with ice.
  5. Top with ginger ale and stir.
  6. Garnish with a wedge of apple.

Benoit Provost, The American Bar at The Stafford

Benoit Provost only planned on staying at the American Bar at St. James’ Stafford hotel for a year when he arrived in 1993 to improve his English. 27 years on, he's still there, continuing the tradition that the bar director at the hotel must be French. Starting out at the Lycée professional catering school in St. Nazaire, Provost now leads the team at one of only two traditional-style American hotel bars left in the capital. Paul Newman, Margaret Thatcher and the Queen have all dropped by for a drink over the decades and the bar continues to excel at old-school US-originated drinks, offering a great Gimlet and one of the finest vodka martinis on earth.

The cocktail: French 99

Provost says: “This is a twist on the classic French 75 or, in French, simply a Soixante Quinze. The original alcoholic version dates back to World War One and was named after the French 75mm light field gun because it had such a kick that it felt like being shelled by this powerful weapon. The drink was featured in the movie Casablanca. This version is fresh and zesty and gives you all the benefits of kombucha.”

Ingredients

  • 35ml Atopia Spiced Citrus
  • 15ml lemon sherbet
  • 15ml clarified lemon

Method

  1. Pour all the ingredients into a shaker.
  2. Shake for 10-12 seconds and strain into a champagne flute.
  3. Top with the kombucha.

Anna Sebastian, The Artesian Bar at The Langham

After training to join the army post-school, London-born Anna Sebastian nearly ended up at Sandhurst but, instead, began her bar career in the cocktail joints of Islington. She eventually rose to a position in the American Bar at the Savoy before becoming bar manager at the Artesian Bar at the Langham hotel in the West End. A devotee of champagne and margaritas, Sebastian transferred her skills during lockdown to work with Under One Sky – a non-profit organisation that helps the homeless.

The cocktail: The Zeo

Sebastian says: "I wanted to create something that embodied the joy of spring time after the long months of winter, especially during this time. Spring is a natural time of change, hope and brightness and I wanted this drink to reflect that with its flavours. The Zeo has a plethora of botanicals giving a great base to build on with Æcorn, fresh lime and peach and jasmine flavours. I think we are all commonly waiting for spring to hopefully come out of this time!”

Ingredients

  • 50ml Zeo Botanical Dry Non Alcoholic Spirit
  • 20ml fresh lime juice
  • 10ml Æcorn Dry Aperitif Non Alcoholic
  • 10ml sugar syrup
  • London Essence White Peach & Jasmine Soda

Method

  1. Shake the first spirits, lime juice and sugar syrup hard.
  2. Pour into a highball glass with lots of ice.
  3. Fill to the top with the soda.
  4. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

Read more: The best non-alcoholic spirits for Dry January