One Nojito, Please

Bored with water and find soft drinks unhealthy? There’s good news for those of you looking for something alcohol-free to drink. Non-alcoholic options are on the rise.

Words: Ellen Scholtens

Alcohol-free and low-alcohol drinks are growing in popularity and beer producers aren’t the only ones to pick up on the trend. The wine world has also jumped on the bandwagon. And worthy substitutes have been added to ‘mocktail’ drinks lists as well, with a lower sugar content – a sensible move given the growing pressure from consumers these days. It’s no longer seen as a substitute for pregnant women or designated drivers, but for those who are looking for healthier options  So, here are some of the best places in Rotterdam to order alcohol-free drinks…

Recycling has been taken to the next level at Aloha, a former swimming pool wonderland complex. Oyster mushrooms are grown on coffee grounds in the cellar and the by-product of green coffee (cascara) is roasted and used as a sugar substitute in the iced tea. Meanwhile, the homemade ginger beer and lemonades are flavoured with syrups that have been made from leftover bits of grapefruit and fresh chili from the kitchen. Mocktails can be ordered in the restaurant, which has a terrace overlooking the Nieuwe Maas river. Included on the drinks list is Aloha Punch made with mango, passion fruit, lemon juice, pineapple juice and Earl Grey syrup, and Nojitos made with mint, lime, chamomile sugar syrup, sparkling water and cardamom.
> Maasboulevard 100

Gym & Gin
Plenty of gins are poured at this trendy establishment in the Kralingse Bos but the drinks list features a respectable number of non-alcoholic options as well, which is appropriate given Gym & Gin’s close association with the health club next door where everything revolves around ‘balance’ – living a healthy lifestyle without forgoing life’s pleasures. One favourite is the Full Blast Tomato, made with fresh tomatoes. Other fresh ‘slow juice’ options include the Energy and the Slanky. There is also a selection of Funky Lemonades with flavours such as cucumber and mint. If you feel like drinking an alcohol-free cocktail, try the Virgin Mojito or the Love for Litchi, made with lime, mint and lychee juice. One more for the road? How about the Berrylicious with red fruit, apple and pineapple juice?
> Kralingseweg 224

Anne & Max
In this green ‘city living room’ you can order juices and shakes, homemade lime and mint iced tea and Cascar, a sparkling coffee-cherry iced tea with a high caffeine content. There’s also homemade lemonade made with fresh lemons; a range of sodas, including ginger and lemongrass and cranberry and rosehip; plus 100 per cent organic slow juices. You are certainly spoilt for choice here.
> Korte Hoogstraat 20

They like to go freestyle with their non-alcoholic cocktails at this cosy club. You pick the ingredients and the bartender then mixes you your very own customised cocktail. You could go for a homemade lemonade with lemon juice and zest, grapefruit, ginger, kaffir lime leaf and honey, prepared in a kidde (metal spray can). Noah also serves a very exciting smoked iced tea.
> Wijnhaven 3

Am-e-hoela! That’s what Rotterdammers say if they don’t feel like doing something. Thename also refers to Hula, the Polynesian dance. In this tropical melting-pot with a Rotterdam edge, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on a far-flung island, sitting in one of those old American tiki bars that popped up in the 1930s. In this neo-tiki bar you can order exotic street food, homemade iced tea and Virgin Mai Tais.
> Mauritsweg 33

There’s a good selection of alcohol-free cocktails at the Nieuw Rotterdams Café, or NRC as the locals like to call it. Try the Blueberry-Rose Fizz, the No Red cocktail, the Apple-Ginger Fizz Spice or the Spiced Ginger-Lemon. Settle down and enjoy Rotterdam’s busiest nightlife scene in a wonderfully sober state.
> Witte de Withstraat 63

Cornelis bar & kitchen
Finally, the Stadshuisplein, a long-standing entertainment hub. The buzzing Cornelis Bar is known for its good wines but the drinks list also includes a Shirley Temple made with raspberry grenadine and ginger ale, crushed ice and lime juice, and a Virgin Mojito with all the classic ingredients minus the alcohol.
> Stadhuisplein 3

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