The bad news: January is not a month known for excess. The good news: for those who want to watch their waistlines and still let their hair down, there are plenty of opportunities to do so, with many bars across London offering low-calorie cocktails.
At the recently opened B.Y.O.C. Camden—which stands for ‘Bring Your Own Cocktail’—guests are invited to bring their own sealed bottle of base spirit, and watch as the bar staff create whatever they desire from various garnishes, juices and syrups.
This unique venue is decked out in the style of a 1920s speakeasy during the Prohibition era: there are several bars dotted around the venue, some of which are styled like gambling tables. The bar staff, who are also dressed in 1920s attire, will shake and stir your drinks to create something completely bespoke.
At Drake & Morgan’s The Parlour, located in Canary Wharf, the lengthy cocktail list includes delicious drinks that won’t give you a guilt trip. The Skinny Russian Rose Martini is made from Smirnoff Black vodka, lychee liqueur and ginger syrup, then garnished with a rose petal. It’s just 80 calories, and it tastes as good as it looks. Alternatively, the Skinny Hummingbird Cosmo is a fresh take on the traditional Cosmopolitan cocktail and is made with Little Bird gin, raspberries, elderflower and a squeeze of lime. And, while you are there, make sure you lose yourself in the secret garden-inspired lounge.
With its mismatched furniture, including a wardrobe that doubles as a door, Callooh Callay in Shoreditch is as popular as it is interesting. The drinks menu features vegetable cocktails, which are currently all the rage. One of the most popular is the Fernet Me Not, with Tanqueray gin, lemon, Fernet-Branca, cucumber and Prosecco, and the Pea-ter Rabbit, with carrot shrub and pea and anise vermouth. And, as vegetables have a lower sugar content than fruit, they are a ‘skinny’ alternative to fruit-based cocktails. Healthy—and the perfect way to get rid of the January blues!