What To Drink When You're Not Drinking: The Best London Brands

By Lydia Manch Last edited 30 months ago

Last Updated 03 January 2022

What To Drink When You're Not Drinking: The Best London Brands
Photo by Kangan Arora from Londonist Flickr pool.

All the sense of occasion, none — or very little — of the ABV. These are some of our favourite London breweries, distilleries, chocolate-makers and cocktail-slingers doing great alcohol-free options for when you want to brighten your night in, boozelessly.

All available for delivery, and all 0.5% alcohol or lower.

Kompassion Kombucha — the Scotch bonnet kombucha

Photo: Kompassion Kombucha

London's not short of kombucha breweries doing variations on the fermented, tangy tea — but for something that feels fierce enough to make it a good substitute for the kick and heat of alcohol, Kompassion's Scotch bonnet is the one. Looks good in a champagne coupe, fizzes lightly like a celebration, and mixes well with non-alcoholic bitters if you want to get showy with it.

The Hackney Wick brewery offers deliveries by cargo bike, and there's a subscription option with your kombucha delivered in refillable bottles. The empty bottles are collected, sterilised and reused weekly, like a milk round.

Details: £20 for six x 330ml bottles or £6.50 for a large bottle through the subscription service, delivery across a lot of London (Tuesday for north of the river, Friday for south) — check the website for postcodes.

Kompassion Kombucha. Order here.

Beavertown Brewery — Lazer Crush 0.3% IPA

The Tottenham brewery's non-alcoholic offering's crisp, light, citrusy, slightly tropical — and also nice, easy, bit summery. Mostly the same adjectives we'd throw around about Beavertown's core IPAs, really, so if you're a fan of those, enjoy.

Details: £1.60 a can, delivery across London.

Beavertown Brewery. Order here.

Others to look out for: Nirvana Brewery — a Leyton-based alcohol free brewery, with a range of seven beers, two of them 0% and Shrb Bier, a Walthamstow-based company making unfiltered, unfermented beer — with a range of four, all 0%.

Islands Chocolate — the hot chocolate buttons

Image: Islands Chocolate.

If you're off alcohol, why not go for a different drink completely — hot chocolate? A south London chocolatier making seed-to-bar chocolate — where the beans are made into the end product at their place of origin — Islands was behind our best, richest, most everything-will-be-okay hot chocolate of the winter. You may have spotted them in mainstream takeaway spots including Gail's Bakery, but for ease of access and cost-per-park-thermos, buy your own direct from Islands.

The 70% hot chocolate buttons are vegan-friendly, and they also do a drinking chocolate and a cocoa, all of it from family-run farms in St Vincent.

Islands Chocolate buttons. £10.50 for a 250g bag. Delivery across London.

Others to look out for: Dark Sugars — the Brick Lane chocolate shop has six hot chocolates available for delivery, including classic milk chocolate, white chocolate, chilli chocolate and 'pitch black' options.