What food goes well with which alcohol-free drink?

Lauren Booker | November 2020 | 8 minutes

Find it hard to imagine enjoying your food as much with an alcohol-free drink in hand? Well, here are some tips for which delicious, adult, alcohol-free drinks go well with which food – as tested by our wonderful alcohol consultant and author of Try Dry®: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze, Lauren Booker.

2020 was a tough year, and many of us have found ourselves drinking more than normal. One in four of us who drink alcohol want to cut down in 2021. That's where Dry January® comes in: it's your chance for a total reset. In this blog, we'll give you an idea of great food and alcohol-free drink combinations.

If you’re eating out, it’s handy to have some alcohol-free options in mind that are going to enhance your dining experience.

You could ask your waiter what would suit your food choice. I’ve had some blank looks when doing this but also some amazing suggestions, including one venue that invented a lavender-infused mojito-style mocktail, just for me! I tipped well, told all my friends and it became my favourite restaurant.

If you’d rather just go with the flow here are a few ‘standard’ drinks that complement the flavours of classic meals.


A good tonic water with lemon or lime sharpens the appetite and doesn’t look out of place.


Chicken will go with pretty much everything, so for a refreshing change try cranberry and raspberry or any fruit juice topped up with lemonade.


Elderflower pairs well with the delicate flavour of most fish. Choose either a sparkling pressé or mix up a cordial with sparkling water. Robust fish such as salmon or sardines can take something a little more hearty, such as a St Clements mocktail (orange juice and bitter lemon).


A cloudy apple juice with a twist of lime complements beef dishes perfectly. For a touch of nostalgia, why not try it with dandelion and burdock too.


Berry cordials bring out the flavours of this rich meat as long as they’re not too sweet. Cherry colas also work well with lamb.


A classic pairing with pork is ginger, so a ginger ale or apple and ginger cordial will work well. Blackberry cordial is also delicious with pork.


For creamy pasta dishes, soda and lime cuts through to refresh the palate, and for tomato-based dishes a light tonic works well.


Something lime-based such as the classic lemonade and lime or a lime pressé tone well with the sweetness of mussels, scallops or prawns.


This is easy. Fresh coffee is the perfect partner to a tasty dessert.


Tomato works with cheese on a pizza and it works here – so try tomato juice with the cheese course. If you like, add a dash of Worcester sauce.

These substitutions are bound to hit the spot - now there’s no excuse not to stay sober over dinner! And you might even discover your new favourite drink-and-food combination while you’re at it. What’s not to love?

Books In Cabinet
If you want to read more helpful tips and advice like this, you can buy our book Try Dry®: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze, available online and in shops (and as an ebook for just £1.99!) Don’t forget to leave a review if you liked it!
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