With people being more health-conscious these days, low-abv cocktails have been enjoying a good run. But now, bartenders are attempting to take it even lower – down to zero, in fact. But isn’t that just mocktails, we hear you ask. The short answer is yes. The long answer is that non-alcoholic cocktails are now more than just your regular lime and watermelon coolers.
For the longest time, non-alcohol drinkers have been shunned by bars and friends. They’ve been relegated to be the designated driver during nights out, and they hang out in the corner sipping on Coke or iced lemon tea. Worse, they’re only given a few standard two or three choices of mocktails in the menu. Virgin Pina Coladas and saccharine virgin Mai Tais, anyone?
But that era of being sidelined is soon to change. More bars across the world are not just moving towards low-abv cocktails, but also making non-alcoholic versions of regular craft cocktails. It looks and tastes as good as a cocktail, minus the buzz. If you’re already deep into imbibing, you may not understand. But for those seeking a healthier lifestyle without wanting to compromise on social outings, non-alcoholic cocktails is the answer. And for those who don’t consume alcohol in the first place? Now you have more options than just Coke.
Bars in KL may not be catching on the trend that quickly, but we’ve been seeing some of the newer bars in town make special sections in their menus for craft non-alcoholic cocktails. We’ve rounded up those bars so you non-imbibers can head there the next time your alcoholic friends suggest a night out. This way, you can guarantee that everyone will have a good time.
If you don’t see your favourite bars below, fret not. Most cocktail bars in KL will whip up a zero-abv cocktail for you if you request for it.
When Pacific Standard Bar in Alila Bangsar first opened, they already had a dedicated zero-abv segment in each section of their cocktail menu. The bar has four themes within its menu: Hollywood Highballs, Trip The Lights Fantastic, L.A. Noire, and Sweet Tooth. Each section features different flavour profiles and levels of intensity, but the best part is that each section has several non-alcoholic cocktails to choose from. We like the No-Groni, a zero-abv version of the Negroni with the same flavour profiles and no alcohol.
Read our full review of the Pacific Standard Bar here.
Similar to Pacific Standard Bar, the popular Bar Trigona also has its own dedicated zero-abv cocktail section in the drinks menu. It was part of the original menu lineup, perfect for those who still want to soak in the bar ambience without committing to an alcoholic drink.
Read our full review of Bar Trigona here.
Despite being a rum bar, JungleBird also offers several non-alcoholic cocktails for the non-imbibers. On the current menu is a virgin mojito and a virgin colada – apt, as JungleBird is a Tiki bar after all. However, owner Divyesh Chauhan teases that the bar’s new menu will have several new zero-abv cocktails, including a kombucha-based one.
For zero-abv cocktails that are as fancy as the real thing, be sure to visit OpenHouse KLCC. Star bartender Shawn Chong (of Omakase + Appreciate and Los Sombreros) has curated the menu for the modern Malaysian restaurant, crafting a whole page of zero-abv cocktails alongside actual cocktails. His non-alcoholic cocktails feature Seedlip, non-alcoholic artisanal liquors that feature similar flavour profiles without the abv. As OpenHouse is a modern Malaysian restaurant, the cocktails also have local and familiar flavours such as red date longan syrup, assam boi, pandan, calamansi, and more.
Read our full review of OpenHouse KLCC here.
Like most other cocktail bars in KL, you can request for a zero-abv cocktail at PS150. However, they do theirs differently. In the bar menu, you’ll find a mocktail section with the words: Tropical Fruit, Berry, Orchard Fruit, Citrus Fruit Floral, Herbs, Sweetness, Nutty, and Spicy. Before you start thinking that it’s an extremely complex drink, these are actually the flavour profiles that you can consider. Tell the bartender your flavour profile of choice, and they’ll concoct a mocktail for you that will taste just like it.