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BARS + DRINK
At Tredwell's, Eames's Gun Powder
Gimlet uses fresh, cold-pressed lime juice
and green-tea syrup, while his Down the
Apples and Pears cocktail mingles vodka
with a fresh fruit purée of apple, pear,
elderflower and thyme.
"Mass-market cocktails, with all their
additives, sugar-coat the mouth and give
a massive high in the evening, which is
always followed by a cataclysmic low the
next day, and because of the way sugar
works, we crave more," says Alex Harris
at Behind �is Wall bar in Mare Street,
Bethnal Green. "It's not the alcohol we're
addicted to, it's the sugar."
To counteract this, everything at the
basement bar is produced in-house or
carefully selected to exclude artificial
additives and unnecessary sugar. Freshly
squeezed grapefruit is mixed with raw
honey, cardamom and ginger as a base
for a Negroni or Sidecar, and blackstrap
molasses are used in place of the classic
caster sugar syrup. High in B vitamins,
iron and calcium, this gloopy black sugarcane
syrup is actually low in sugar due to
the way it is extracted and boiled during
processing. �ere's even a cocktail garden
planned for the roof to grow ingredients
for super-local Bloody Marys.
"Years ago it was natural to use smallbatch
spirits from artisanal producers and
fresh ingredients in drinks, and you'd be
able to enjoy them with less of a hangover,"
says Harris, who believes the recent trend
is just an extension of what's happening
with food thanks to the growing interest
in the provenance of what
"First it was organic
wines, then it was the
craft beer movement, and
with people getting into
more natural diets, local
produce and grass-fed
meat - and thinking more about what they
put into themselves - it's only natural that
this transfers to cocktails."
So how about an asana with your alcohol?
Last year, Behind �is Wall offered Voga
(a yoga and 80s fashion mash-up) with
post-class cocktails, and the fitness bug
seems to be catching. �is summer, Drake
& Morgan launches a morning yoga
class and Tanya's Cafe in Chelsea offers
monthly health talks, fitness brunches and
collaboration with local fitness brands.
But can healthy living and healthy
drinking ever really co-exist?
"Any conscious effort to make a
healthier choice should be commended,"
says nutritionist Panagos.
"But you've got to ask:
what actually makes
a cocktail healthier?
Is it just that a fancysounding
has been added to an
otherwise high-sugar, high-alcohol mix?
And while agave sounds healthy, it is
still sugar. It's a question of balance and
For Newell at Drake & Morgan it's
everything in moderation. "People are
much more focused on drinking better
than drinking more these days - it's all
about quality over quantity."
PIMP UP YOUR PIMM'S
Move over quinoa, the latest superfoods aren't on your plate - they're in your
Piña Colada. Healthy cocktails aren't just about taking things out, they're also
about what you put in. Meet the superfood cocktails, transforming even the
most empty-calorie mixes into vitamin-rich elixirs.
At Grace Apothecary Bar in Belgravia, you'll get a dose of organic berries,
maca powder and chia seeds in your muddle, and at Nama Foods vegan
restaurant in Notting Hill, you can pick up juices pepped up with blue algae
and medicinal mushrooms.
At Oblix, on the 32nd floor of The Shard, bar manager Wendy Stoklasova
might mash some tamarillo fruit into the mix (it's halfway between a mango and
tomato), and her Forgotten Cosmonaut has sea buckthorn juice - purportedly
used in space to support astronauts' immune systems.
At Tanya's Cafe at MyHotel, Chelsea, the idea has completely taken over, with
owner Tanya Maher applying her raw, organic and
ethical food principles to everything on the drinks
menu, with spirits infused with raw honey, chia
seeds, spirulina and nuts.
"Our frozen Matcharita is made with matcha
green tea powder, which is high in skin-boosting
says. "And our
Rich is made with
acai berry powder
and cacao powder,
high in healthboosting
"It tastes like a
naughty treat but
the whole idea is to make up for the dehydrating eects
of the alcohol by using hydrating superfoods as well as
cold-pressed juices to create a balanced drink."
It's not just alcohol packing a punch
in the calorie department, there's the
artery-coating syrups and mixers too