Non alcoholic drinks Recipes

Welcome to Sober October

Hangovers and brain fog be gone.

NoLo is a secret worth sharing. Hidden behind a set of heavy doors on the 24th floor of Dusit Thani Dubai hotel, Dubai’s first dry bar is anchored not in alcohol, but creative zero-proof cocktails served in a dimly lit setting where lounge music and city views set the tone for conversation. But more on that in a minute. With the arrival of October, social drinkers across the UK are taking on the Sober October challenge, giving up alcohol in order to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support – an altruistic Dry January, if you will. And although the movement originated in the UK, anyone can sign up and participate, inevitably reaping a whole host of health benefits in the process. 

In fact, lower blood pressure, a regeneration of damaged liver cells, a reduction in insulin resistance, a healthier body weight, and a lowered risk of cancer with each year of sobriety are just some of the health benefits of quitting, according to American Addiction Centers. It’s no wonder that non-alcoholic concoctions have soared in popularity across the globe in recent years, but arguably, they’re most favoured in the Middle East owing to cultural and religious factors. Add to that the region’s well-documented obsession with social media, and the days of sodas and saccharine mocktails appearing on the last page of a drinks menu are gradually on the way out. Now, they’re Instagrammable, well thought out, and boast complex flavours suited to the adult palate.

“We have this word in Italian, sfigato, which comes to mind when one goes into a bar and asks for a non-alcoholic drink. It translates to ‘an unlucky person’. But we live in the Middle East, of course,” says Giovanni Depergola, the instructor of Dry Mixology and Bartending courses at the International Centre for Culinary Arts. “We are bartenders at the end of day, but we like to be called mixologists so we can charge more,” he says with a chuckle. “I’m also an educator, so for me, training is a very serious matter. My passion for dry mixology stems from the passion that I have for cocktails – all that showmanship, all that theatricality deserves a spot in the non-alcoholic category.” 

Non alcoholic drinks Recipes

As an F&B industry insider, Depergola noticed a gap in the market that had to be addressed. “All I saw was carbonated drinks and canned juices and, with time, I said, ‘Come on, we’re good at making cocktails, so why not use the same flavours, the same glassware, the same shaking techniques to serve something that we are proud of?’ Because I wasn’t proud to serve something in a can with ice and a slice of lemon.” Elsewhere, British entrepreneur Erika Doyle also noticed the lack of non-alcoholic drinks on offer, leading to the launch of Drink Dry, a one-stop shop for options that are not only premium, but also high in taste and low in sugar. 

“One of the misconceptions that people in the West have about the Middle East is that it’s such a huge market for non-alcoholic drinks because there are so many non-drinkers who want to drink, but can’t,” she says. “If you’ve always been told that drinking is bad for you, then our products aren’t the answer to all your prayers. Unlike ex-drinkers and the sober curious, I’m not giving non-drinkers a solution because they don’t have a problem to begin with.” Instead, Drink Dry is exploring how to introduce new ways of drinking to non-drinkers. “It’s likely that they’ve only been drinking very sugary drinks, so what we’re doing is introducing healthier ways of drinking without necessarily referencing their alcoholic counterparts.” NoLo, meanwhile, has added a social aspect to this rising trend, catering to mindful drinkers and health-conscious individuals ready for a night out. 

Dusit Thani Dubai

Incidentally, the name of this new drinking den is a portmanteau of ‘no alcohol’ and ‘low worries’, a carefree mindset reflected in its brightly coloured seating and anthropomorphic art. Over on the menu, of course, is where its star attraction – both classic and experimental cocktails – awaits. Created in conjunction with Lyre’s, widely considered the leading independent non-alcoholic spirits brand, they span the likes of Immune Highball, Thai Basil Smash, and Spice Date Espresso Martini. Those in search of the familiar, meanwhile, will appreciate Lyre’s zero-proof take on the G&T, the mojito, the martini, the Amalfi spritz, and the amaretto sour – all created to imitate the taste and mouthfeel of the originals. And in the meantime, the team at NoLo shares three alcohol-free recipes in honour of Sober October.

1. Lyre’s Mediterranean G&T


  • 45ml Lyre’s Dry London Spirit
  • 120ml Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic
  • 1 orange slice
  • 1 sprig rosemary (for garnish)


  1. Fill a tall glass ¾ full of ice.
  2. Pour in the ingredients and gently stir to combine.
  3. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

2. Date Old Fashioned


  • 60ml Lyre’s American Malt
  • 15ml date syrup
  • 4 dashes chocolate/walnut bitters
  • 4 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 date (for garnish)


  1. Stir all the ingredients in a mixing glass.
  2. Pour into a short tumbler over block ice.
  3. Garnish with a skewered date.

3. Bedtime Story


  • 30ml Lyre’s Amaretti
  • 45ml strong chai
  • 15ml coconut milk
  • 7.5ml maple syrup
  • pink salt and star anise (for garnish)


  1. Prepare the strong chai by steeping two chai teabags in 125ml near-boiling water for five minutes.
  2. Remove the teabags and let cool.
  3. Dry shake (without ice), then wet shake (with ice added) the ingredients.
  4. Strain into a cocktail or coupette glass.
  5. Garnish with star anise and a sprinkle of pink salt.

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7 Must-Try Cafes and Restaurants in Bahrain

Eat your way around the island.

Manama, the capital city of Bahrain, is known for its vibrant culture and diverse culinary scene. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the city offers an array of dining options that cater to every taste and preference. From traditional Bahraini cuisine to international flavours, Manama’s cafes and restaurants are a food lover’s paradise for every budget and occasion. It’s easily accessible (about an hour flight from Dubai, or a nine-hour road trip), and it isn’t your typical island getaway. Plus, it’s home to some of the best and innovative creatives in the region, and holds rich significance in the history of the Gulf region since the dawn of civilisation.

In this list are some of some of Manama’s popular and best-loved classics that are sure to delight your taste buds and leave you with an unforgettable dining experience.

Photo credit: Monsoon


Monsoon is an institution that has only gotten better with time; for nearly two decades, it has held its place as one of Bahrain’s top restaurants. From its idyllic and serene atmosphere to authentic Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese dishes and adventurous drinks, Monsoon is perfect for date night, lunch with the girls, or a large gathering with friends and family. The menu has something for everyone, including a set menu, sharing platters, sushi plates, and mains geared towards the adventurous and conventional foodie alike. The drinks menu is innovative and tightly curated with changing specials, and the excellent service elevates the entire experience. 

Monsoon, Adliya, Manama. +973 1774 9222, @monsoonbahrain

Photo credit: Lumee Street

Lumee Street

Lumee refers to dried limes, called loomi, which are a key ingredient used in Gulf cooking to season everything from soups, stews, fish, meat, barbecues to tea and desserts. In its powdered form, it’s also a component of baharat, adding a sour and sweet note to dishes. At Lumee Street, this spice is the star in a fast-casual street food concept and though ubiquitously incorporated throughout the menu, it always manages to surprise in a wonderful way without being repetitive. Speaking of which, Lumee’s menu brings together a mixture of Middle Eastern staples interspersed with regional flavours, like the Lumee Achar Hummus, Tikka Lumee, and Chicken Tah Chin.

P.S.: Make sure to leave room for dessert – the Rahash Chocolate Chip ice cream is not to be missed. 

Lumee Street, The Avenues at Sea Front, Manama. +973 1743 4300, lumeestreet.com/

Photo credit: Mahnoor Bari

The Orangery

Head down to The Orangery for some amazing coffee and decadent cakes made fresh daily (I loved the San Sebastian cheesecake, signature blueberry and lemon tea cakes, as well as the chocolate cake with creme brulee filling). Whether you want to take in a view of the water at Bahrain Bay or soak up the chill Mediterranean street vibes of Adliya, The Orangery comes through with the dessert fix. If it’s late in the day or coffee isn’t your thing, take the plunge and sample from the wide selection of exotic teas – there are 17 types to choose from. There are also plenty of goodies – macarons, homemade jams, cookies, and specialty coffee – to take home that can also make for great gifts. 

The Orangery Tearoom & Patisserie, Adliya and The Avenues Mall, Manama. +973 1736 9696, @orangeryme

Photo credit: Darseen Cafe

Darseen Cafe

Located inside the Bahrain National Museum, Darseen Cafe is great for a bite to eat after touring the museum, but I did it the other way around based on a solid recommendation: arrive early at the museum to have the breakfast platter at Darseen first and then leisurely explore the exhibits. I’m so glad I did it. 

The breakfast platter – good for two, but can be done solo if you’re ambitious – consists of an eclectic mix of traditional local breakfast staples: hearty, filling yet light and deeply aromatic foul medammes, qeema, eggs your way, a spiced scrambled egg and tomato, and Bahraini kebabs, served with a side of light, crispy bread and a great iced Spanish latte. The flavours were well-balanced and complementary rather than repetitive; overall, familiar foods done well. 

P.S.: If you’re still thinking about the heavenly samboosa at the Expo 2020 Dubai’s Bahrain pavilion (and why wouldn’t you?), you can get your fix at Darseen.

Darseen Cafe, 2209 Block 322 Building 455, Manama. +973 7733 6600, darseencafebahrain.com  

Photo credit: Mahnoor Bari

English Rose Tea Room 

This bright, floral cafe is the perfect cosy spot for those long-overdue catch up sessions, to get some work done on a quiet afternoon, or if you’re looking for a change of pace on a night out in Adliya.

The honey cake is superb, as are the teas, and the breakfast comes highly recommended. Plus, there’s outdoor patio seating if you want to drink in the vibe with your afternoon tea while you people-watch. The eatery is owned by a friendly Bahraini and British couple passionate about food, who have made sure to include authentic English staples like fish and chips and a full English breakfast, along with some delicious fusion fare. 

English Rose Tea Room, Unit 200, Road 3806, Adliya, Al Qudhaibiya, Manama. +973 3311 1193. @theenglishrosebh

Photo credit: Mahnoor Bari

Café Lilou

Don’t be intimidated by the menu in French; once you get your bearings (and with Café Lilou’s helpful staff) you’ll be well on your way to enjoying one of Bahrain’s most reliable and well-loved Parisian-style cafes. Start off with the apple and peach iced tea and the Bouchées Vagabondes, which is essentially arancini, consisting of perfectly fried breaded white risotto balls filled with mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, pesto and parsley in tomato sauce. Follow with a main or head straight to dessert with the collection of patisserie.

Café Lilou, Building 108, Road 3803, Block 338, Adliya, Manama. +973 1771 4440, @cafelilou

Photo credit: Iskenderun Grills

Iskenderun Grills

For some of the best grills with a Turkish flair, head to Iskenderun Grills, a lowkey affair opposite the Marina Beach Garden Park that’s been around since the 1980s. The mixed grill is a star for the high quality of meats, and the hummus is top-notch. Don’t miss the lamb chops, sandwiches, and shawarmas. The starters are great and Iskenderun offers great value for money overall for a budget-friendly meal.

Iskenderun Grills Restaurant, Tarafa Avenue, Manama. +973 1729 3334, @skandroonbh


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