The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

The best non-alcoholic drinks in Sydney

February 7th, 2016  |  Published in Latest


You no longer have to cosy up to a bottle of lemonade or keep re-ordering Coke if you’re after a booze-free night out. Many top restaurants are now offering inventive drinks for people who are skipping the alcohol for health, religious, philosophical and I-don’t-want-to-lose-my-provisional-licence reasons.

I wrote about this recently for Good Food, covering the national trend in inspired drinks that don’t have a drop of alcohol in them, as well as the best places in Sydney to enjoy these creations. They’re not just overpriced iced teas or hyped-up cordials, either. At Rockpool, Max Gurtler makes strawberry water with smoked verjus and yuzu (as an alternative to rosé); Bentley’s Phil Gandevia’s awesome non-alcoholic menu was one of the big inspirations behind the story, particularly his frothy wattleseed, West Indian Spice and buttermilk concoction – it’s pretty much the most drinkable thing you can have with a dessert; and Ambrose Chiang at Momofuku Seiobo has been reigning strong with his imagination-charged DIY experiments (like his peachy cloud formation of French earl grey tea, lightning-struck with French earl grey caramel).

You can read my stories here and here.

It was great fun researching the features and among the many things I wish I could’ve squeezed into my word count was:

a) the amazing drinks that Ambrose gets into Momofuku Seiobo (besides the ones he hand-makes in the restaurant), which include a custom rose petal and geranium kombucha produced by Black Radish in Marrickville and a fantastic Loire juice made from gamay grapes – it’s so good that people literally come to the restaurant just to drink it and have even tried to buy bottles directly from Momofuku Seiobo; I’d be tempted to smuggle out some of that Les Ricasses, too.

b) how wild booze-free beverages can be – Orana has seasoned juices with a briny bunya nut solution and even plonked green ants into its non-alcoholic pairings; Biota will caramelise grapefruit or go for a cheese-board vibe by making a drink with pear, walnut and sheep’s whey.

To all that, I can only say cheers!

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Hi, I'm Lee Tran Lam. When not blogging with my mouth full, I'm usually writing, presenting Local Fidelity on FBi radio, making zines, producing podcasts or continually breaking promises about how I really am gonna get through my book pile one day.

All the good pictures on this blog are by photography ace (and patient boyfriend), Will Reichelt, (all the dodgy ones can be credited to me)!

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This is a blog I do for pure fun and zero influence – there's no sponsorship, sneaky advertorial or advertising. I pay for all the food mentioned, 'cos it seems the ethical thing to do.


This is a blog about eating and drinking in Sydney, Australia (with the odd cross-border or off-topic detour). BYO appetite.

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