If you’re struggling to get out of bed and off to work in the morning after a December spent drowning your liver in mulled wine, cocktails and champagne, it might make sense to resist the poison for a couple of weeks and treat your body to a much-deserved break, but getting through the gloomiest month without help from your favourite tipple, especially if you’ve also committed to giving up your favourite comfort foods for the month too, can seem like a daunting task.
Just because you’ve decided to give Dry January a go, however, needn’t mean you have to stop frequenting your favourite bars and restaurants. Why not make this month much more manageable by tricking your brain into thinking it’s getting the good stuff with a couple of mocktails from some of the city’s finest establishment? OK – we know it’s not quite the same, and if you’re anything like us, we know you’ll probably give up Dry January just around the time you bother to take down your Christmas decorations, but when mocktails taste as good as these, you really don’t even need an excuse.
The Square Club – Clifton BS8 1HB
Situated at the top of Park Street in a Georgian townhouse and home to both a laid-back private members’ club for creatives and a restaurant that serves exceptional modern British cuisine with an international twist, sit in the elegant restaurant space or outside on the hidden terrace, perfect for all weather thanks to sun umbrellas and heaters, and sip on a selection of creative mocktails. Whether the Crimson Lemonade, made with fresh lemon, saffron syrup, raspberry shrub, cranberry juice, grapefruit bitter, burnt rosemary and thyme tincture, and Highland soda titillates your tastebubs, or the Negrono Balsamico – a delicious mix of aged Seedlip Grove 42, strawberry-washed Lyres Italian orange, Amaro Bitter Note 0%, Square bitter blend, orange zest and balsamic mist takes your fancy, Dry January will just fly by when you visit The Square.
And while you’re there, enjoy a delicious dish from the award-winning restaurant’s seasonal menu, which is renewed quarterly and crafted from locally sourced produce. With 20% off food, drinks and parties all throughout January, there’s never been a better time to visit.
Mud Dock Café – BS1 4RB
The place to go for after-work drinks in Bristol, Mud Dock Café is one of the city’s most charming spots to savour a selection of tasty treats and thirst-quenching tipples. When we visited Mud Dock Café last year, we chose a seat overlooking the water where we soaked up our characterful surroundings and enjoyed the likes of tempting tempura king prawns, cooked pavé of salmon with spicy tomato tagliatelle, and flatbread served with beetroot hummus and a deliciously creamy roasted corn and jalapeño dip.
With an extensive cocktail menu that includes mouth-watering mocktails for just £4 like the Blizzard, made with pineapple and orange juice, peach syrup, fresh lime and grenadine, the Mockito, featuring a mix of mint, fresh lime, tonic water and soda water, and the Virgin Mary, made with a combination of tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and fresh lime, Dry January doesn’t need to be so depressing when you’re sipping one of these delightful concoctions in a setting that boasts enchanting fairy lights, vast windows in all shapes, and potted plants and bicycles that hang from the ceiling.
Severnshed – BS1 4RB
Situated on Bristol’s buzzing harbourside within Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s 1843 boathouse and boasting some of the finest waterside views the city has to offer, thanks to its lively atmosphere and excellent bill of fare, Severnshed makes the perfect dining destination for any occasion. Before digging into the likes of cep and leek tart with a frisée and chive salad, grass-fed 21-day-aged steaks, gnocchi with woodland mushrooms, and butternut squash, sage and brown butter risotto, settle in for the evening with a mouth-watering mocktail like Severnshed’s Cos-No, a mix of Seedlip citrus, orange flower water, cranberry and lime, the Virgin Fresher, made with thyme, ginger, lemongrass, and soda, or the Tiki Mocktail, featuring Seedlip spice, pineapple, lime, and falernum.
With a resident DJ livening things up every Saturday from 8pm and live acoustic music from noon to 5pm on Sundays, where you can also enjoy Severnshed’s traditional and scrumptious Sunday lunch, although you may not be in the mood to party this month, Severnshed’s delicious mocktails, appetising modern European dishes, and bustling atmosphere will ensure an amazing start to the year.
Dhamaka – BS1 1XH
An exciting new addition to Bristol’s Old Town, Dhamaka reimagines Indian cuisine with its innovative menu of Indian street food. Focused on small plates from all corners of the country, enjoy the likes of poppadoms with must-try pineapple chutney, vegetable momos with spicy sesame and tomato dip, and pani puri chaat – a popular snack across India comprising crispy bubbles of wheat filled with potato, all washed down with a superb cocktail from their impressive Indian-themed selection.
When we visited Dhamaka last year, we started with two exceptional cocktails: the Watermelon Smash, a cocktail made with rustic muddled melon, Havana, and a hint of mint, and the West Bengal Margarita, made with tequila, mango juice, and black salt. If you’re giving Dry January a go, however, Dhamaka doesn’t disappoint with its selection of mocktails for £4.50 each. Choose from either the Giner and Watermelon comprised of watermelon, lemon juice, ginger ale, and black salt, or the Rum Free Colada, made with coconut water, pineapple juice, agave syrup, and lemon juice.
The Coconut Tree – Clifton BS8 1JT
Famous for its fantastic menu full of flavoursome Sri-Lankan-inspired fare, The Coconut Tree is a firm favourite with Bristol’s food and drink lovers and for great reason. Whether you’re visiting to sample a cocktail off of their impressive menu which features 12 handcrafted signature concoctions like their beloved Drunken Sri Lankan, served in the charming ceramic Ruby the elephant, or you’re looking to treat yourself to a true taste of Sri Lanka with a selection of devilled dishes, classic hoppers, or delicious curries, The Coconut Tree, with two locations in central Bristol, never disappoints.
For a non-alcoholic treat, choose their Innocent Sour, which blends Seedlip botanicals, sweet syrup and grapefruit tonic with lemon and aquafaba, or the Fallen Porn Star, a zero-alcohol sour that mixes Seedlip botanicals with passion fruit puree, pineapple juice, coconut and pineapple syrup. If you’re simply cutting back on your alcohol consumption and not giving up the stuff completely, their low-alcohol and low-sugar Lovers in Trinco cocktail makes the perfect guilt-free drink this month. Inspired by the aqua waters of Sri Lanka’s East Trinco Bay, this delicious cocktail is made with a mix of Ketel One Botanicals Cucumber & Mint, lemongrass, ginger, butterfly flower pea tea and lime.
Coal Grill & Bar – BS1 3BX
After searching the shops for the best January deals, walk up to the top floor of Cabot Circus and stop off at Coal Grill & Bar, a restaurant renowned for its extensive selection of scrumptious dishes and fantastic cocktails. When we visited this relaxed and inviting restaurant last year, we enjoyed two delicious cocktails from their two-for-£10 offering before tucking into starters like barbecue brisket sliders served on a brioche bun, mains like their 28-day-aged sirloin steak, and gooey chocolate sponge served with vanilla ice cream.
Unwind after a busy day trying to find the very best deals Bristol has to offer in the laid-back bar area and choose from mocktails like the Apple and Rhubarb Mojito, Rhubarb and Elderflower Cooler, or Raspberry and Pear Medley. Perfect for relaxed drinks and large social gatherings, why not gather all your buddies attempting a booze-free January and see if you can resist their speciality cocktails like the Oreo Mudslide, Cherry Bakewell, Baileys Espresso Martini, Raspberry Lynchburg Lemonade, or the Unicorn, a cocktail made with vodka, peach schnapps, lemon, passion fruit, strawberry, pineapple, and blue curacao.