Our top ten favourite UAE mocktails

If there’s one thing that restaurants in the UAE can be counted on to get right, it is the mocktail. We’ve seen some incredibly exotic varieties that boast ingredients we would never have thought of putting in a drink – including camel milk, dates, goat’s cheese, hot chillies, spices and gold. With the heat rising, […]

If there’s one thing that restaurants in the UAE can be counted on to get right, it is the mocktail. We’ve seen some incredibly exotic varieties that boast ingredients we would never have thought of putting in a drink – including camel milk, dates, goat’s cheese, hot chillies, spices and gold. With the heat rising, we went on the hunt for the tastiest, most refreshing mocktails to help keep cool this summer. Here, in no particular order, are a few of our favourites

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Genévrier & Juice (G&J)

If you haven’t checked out Palm Grill at the Ritz-Carlton Dubai yet, the soon-to-be-launched G&J mocktail is as good an excuse as any to do so. Set on the beach with breathtaking views, this breezy restaurant serves up some serious mocktails that take an impressive – almost obsessive – amount of work to prepare. For the G&J, bartenders first clarify grapefruit juice then add water, sugar, lemon salt, sea salt and blend. Then they carbonate it with a cream whipper and two cartridges of CO2. The drink is chilled while the mixologists move on to part two, which involves simmering juniper berries and coriander for 30 minutes, before adding sugar and orange zest. That is cooled and then chilled for four to five hours. It is then strained, lemon juice is added and the whole thing is popped into the freezer. Once frozen, bartenders make a granita (by scratching it up with a fork until it resembles coarse snow), add it to a glass and pour the carbonated grapefruit juice over it. The icy, slushy texture of the drink is rejuvenating and the slightly bitter taste is balanced by the sea salt. It’s sweet, sour and also has a botanical, spice-driven flavour. Considering what goes into this drink, it’s a steal at Dh35 and is set to be added to the menu this week. For a snack to accompany your mocktail try the ceviche mixto or the crispy fried calamari with lemon aioli.

• Dh35; Palm Grill, Ritz-Carlton Dubai

* Stacie Overton Johnson

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Long Peach Spiced Tea

The slim, unassuming Social Room bar adjoining Jason Atherton’s hotly hyped Marina Social restaurant is easy to overlook – but this stand-alone spot is well worth a visit, even without a reservation next door. The Long Peach Spiced Tea bursts with flavour – it is a light, summery drink that infuses a refreshing iced-tea base with an added festive punch: clutters of star anise, cinnamon, clove, cardamom and lemon. Also worth a try is Beet Around the Bush, a heavy, hearty stew combining beetroot and tomato juices, plus Worcestershire sauce and served with a cute jar of Tabasco. The vibe is chic and slick, oozing after-hours affluence, with smart, speedy staff, dim lighting and inoffensive house beats. The bar bites come recommended, too. Try the charmingly rustic homemade pizza or splash out on the decadent Wagyu sliders.

• Dh25; Social Room at Marina Social, InterContinental Dubai Marina

* Rob Garratt

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Jagger Jam Pot

For a taste of something new, try the Jagger Jam Pot at soon-to-open restaurant Tamba in The Hub, a chic new space inside the The Mall at World Trade Center Mall Abu Dhabi. The licenced restaurant is a modern, funky space with an interior that caters to the trendy elite. It looks set to be the next hot spot in the capital when it opens its doors on April 22. The chefs cook, grill, mix and make Indian dishes using techniques from global cuisines (this might be the only Indian restaurant in the world that uses a Japanese robata grill). The mocktails are inspired, with names such as Dragon Flower, the Kolkata Libation and the Telangana. The Jagger Jam Pot is made with guava juice, jaggery syrup, lime juice, masala syrup and cinnamon, served on a pile of ice. It’s light and spicy, fortifying and fiery: the perfect combination for a perfect night out.

Tamba, The Hub, The Mall at World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi

* Stacie Overton Johnson

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Black Cinnamon Mojito

Mocktails are often treated as second-class citizens in the beverage stakes, usually buried on the last pages of a menu. That’s not the case at lavish new Emirati restaurant Seven Sands. From a well-illustrated menu to informed staff, mocktails are celebrated in this alcohol-free venue, which is worth a visit if you want to see the breadth of flavours you can include.I like my mocktails with a bit of a kick – otherwise I feel I am sipping glorified fruit juice. The Black Cinnamon Mojito certainly makes an impression even before the first taste. It looks positively adventurous, with a mini rainforest emerging from the long glass: mint leaves, fat lime wedges and healthy chunks of blackberry. The real star, though, is a cinnamon stick, which gives the whole tropical affair welcome gusto. Ask the waiter to add a cinnamon stick and this mock-mojito is dynamite. Also worth trying is the Blue Azure, as pictured on our cover.

• Dh28; Seven Sands, JBR, Dubai

* Saeed Saeed

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Maripossa Rossa

With stunning views along the corniche, Asia de Cuba occupies prime real estate in the capital. The chic, outdoor space and ­ultra-cool vibe is hard to resist by day or night. While it’s most definitely a place to see and be seen, the restaurant and bar also knows how to deliver when it comes to taste (the generously portioned bento boxes are a must-try lunch item, for example, and they all cost less than Dh95 – try the Cuban. You won’t be disappointed). The food is good, but this is also one place where it is totally acceptable to skip the meal and just pop in for a drink or two. For a cosmopolitan twist on a breezy, summer mocktail, try the Maripossa Rossa. This light, rose-coloured drink is a combination of lime juice, watermelon juice, spiced syrup, hibiscus syrup and an egg white. The ingredients are shaken to perfection over ice, with the egg white leaving a frothy foam on top for visual appeal. Garnished with a skewered raspberry, the drink is upscale and sophisticated – a shining example of all that is right in the often under-appreciated world of mocktails.

• Dh45; Asia de Cuba, Abu Dhabi

* Stacie Overton Johnson

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Berry Berry Driver

I firmly believe that a meal or a drink can taste better or worse depending on the setting in which it is served. There are few places in the capital more serene, more relaxing – or with better views – than the ­beachside-dining restaurant aptly named the Beach House at the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island. Pull up a chair on the quaint terrace, admire the view of the stunning turquoise water and order its Berry Berry Mocktail. This brightly coloured beverage contains raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, lime juice, cranberry juice and is topped with a dash of grenadine. They’re all popped into a blender with a load of ice to make a bright, invigorating drink that will keep you cool on the hottest summer days.The flavour and the freshness of the berries shine and this is one mocktail that ranks high on our list. Simple. Pure. Fresh. Don’t miss it.

• Dh33; Beach House, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

* Stacie Overton Johnson

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Milk and Honey

This mocktail is Bread Street Kitchen’s signature “driver’s choice” according to staff – and one sip reveals why. It’s divine and tastes like a tropical treat – creamy, smooth and sweet with just a hint of spice. It is a mix of freshly squeezed pineapple juice, black cardamom syrup, a dash of lime juice, coconut milk and manuka honey. It is served in a tall glass over ice with a glug of chilled seltzer water, topped off with a sprinkling of crushed pink peppercorns, a sprig of rosemary and a slice of cucumber. The lingering taste is of cardamom, which is a nod to Arabia and gives the mocktail a unique depth. One of the most impressive things about the drink is that all of the fruit juices are squeezed on the spot – not a carton in sight – which makes all the difference.

• Dh35; Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay, Atlantis Hotel, Dubai

* Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane

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A Ghaf, a Goat and a Camel

The opening of this luxurious bar is the talk of the town and it is a must-see for tourists and residents alike. In keeping with the 24 carat-gold surroundings, mixologists at Gold on 27 have come up with a prodigious mocktail menu that incorporates gold leaf and gold pearlescence powder. Element 79 aside, another standout creation is A Ghaf, a Goat and a Camel, inspired by an old saying that “death will not visit a man, even at the time of a famine, if he has a Ghaf tree, a goat and a camel”. The main ingredients are cascara milk, bourbon vanilla, white peach nectar and – to make it interesting – goat’s-cheese foam and a beetroot chip garnish. It is a heady mix of sweet and savoury that will convince you drinking cheese is the next big thing. This mocktail is only just eclipsed by the panoramic views of Dubai and the Arabian Gulf from every table. Nibble on the bar’s nori tempura chips and drink in the view. Reservations must be made in advance – mark my words, the gold rush is most definitely on.

• Dh80; Gold on 27, Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai

* Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane

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Fashion Fresh

It’s one big fruit party with this zany offering from Barfly. Amid the tranquil surroundings and subdued lighting of the Venetian Village, Fashion Fresh certainly looks arresting, with its combination of rhubarb jam, mango purée and a mix of red and green apples. The resulting taste is tangy and the apples give it a nice acidic punch. To convince yourself that this sweet offering is somewhat healthy, note that it is garnished with beetroot.

• Dh50; Barfly, Venetian Village, Abu Dhabi

* Saeed Saeed

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Lemonade Batrounieh

Upscale Lebanese restaurant Byblos Sur Mer digs deep into the country’s history to serve dishes that are authentic and inspired, and they all come with a little something extra – a modern, personal twist, says executive chef Danny Kattar, to make it unique. The restaurant’s list of mocktails is no different. The Lemonade Batrounieh wins big points for taste and visual appeal. It comes from the Batroun region in northern Lebanon. Batroun is one of the oldest cities in the world and there’s a lot to take in while visiting the popular tourist destination. One thing not to miss if you visit the region is the fresh lemonade for which it is renowned. For an authentic taste of Batroun without leaving Abu Dhabi, try the version served at Byblos. Fresh lemons are cut and soaked in crushed ice, rosewater and sugar for 48 hours to infuse all the flavours. The lemons are then squeezed by hand into the infused juice to obtain optimum flavour. It is strained and served in an icy copper tumbler, garnished with imported Turkish delight, mint leaves and a cinnamon stick, which you are supposed to soak in the juice and suck for an extra hit of ­flavour. When it’s 45 degrees outside, your body will thank you for this mocktail.

• Dh27; Byblos Sur Mer, InterContinental Abu Dhabi

Source: art & life

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