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We ask chef and author Clare Liardet why ‘mindful drinking’ is in and she shares three of her favourite summery alcohol-free drinks .

A non-alcoholic, veg-packed Bloody Mary might not be everyone’s choice of tipple, but with one in five of us in the UK now teetotal and many more of us trying to cut down, the thirst for virgin cocktails is on the rise.

This means you can now pop to a zero-alcohol bar or even head to a Mindful Drinking Festival to drink low or no-alcohol wine and beer. But, if you want to make your own at home, it’s never been easier thanks to chef Clare Liardet’s new non-alcoholic cocktail recipe book, Dry.

Here, she shares her thoughts on mindful drinking and three summery mocktails to serve up for friends and family…

Why do you think we’re drinking less alcohol right now?

“Drinking alcohol is taking second place to the importance of meeting friends and having fun, so going without alcohol more often means we don’t end up with an empty wallet (or a throbbing head).

“People enjoy feeling healthy and are becoming more aware of the effects of unhealthy lifestyle choices. Social media has an undeniable impact too, as everything is recorded nowadays and more of us are becoming wise to the fact that our parents, loved ones, friends – and even our boss – can view the unpleasant reminders of the night before!”

What does all this mean for our health?

“We all have access to a wealth of healthy eating, cooking and exercise information now. I think we’re all taking more responsibility for our own health, so a drop in alcohol consumption is an inevitable and healthy conclusion.”

Why are alcohol-free cocktails worth the effort?

“They can be fun, fresh and delicious. Whether you’re the designated driver and abstaining from drinking or you’re only having ‘the one’, non-alcohol options mean you can still sip on something delicious. Even if you are drinking alcohol, it can’t help but benefit your health to miss out on one or two rounds!”

Which are your favourite flavours this summer?

“Although ginger is seen as a warming spice, I love it on a hot summer day. It matches so well with lemongrass, lime, apple and raspberries…. I’ve yet to find something that doesn’t respond to a little ginger hit. Fresh herbs are also great. Don’t just stick to mint – try basil or tarragon for a gentle aniseed hit or rosemary for an aromatic taste. Then, serve it up in a copper Julep cup, which helps to keep your drink ice-cold for longer.”

Check out these three summery recipes…

1. Cucumber and elderflower cooler

An alternative to the classic gin and tonic, this is a deliciously sophisticated drink with aromatic notes of basil and rosemary. The cucumber gives the drink a clean, green freshness, which makes it the perfect aperitif.

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2. Beetroot Virgin Mary

This is a healthier version of the classic Bloody Mary, using beetroot juice as the base. The nutrient-rich juice is earthy and sweet, but be mindful that beetroots have the highest sugar content of any vegetable.

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3. Peach and lemongrass cup

This is a showstopper. It smells wonderful, and the woody, citrus notes of lemongrass stop it from becoming too sweet. This is one to make when the shops and markets are full of peaches, and you can come home with a whole boxful.

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Looking for foodie inspiration for your barbecue? Check out this grilled watermelon and halloumi salad.


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