Dublin's top 5 virgins...
No no, not that type of virgin, virgin cocktails.
Being a non drinker in Ireland is a funny aul thing. People want to know if I'm up the duff, on antibiotics, very religious, Amish, the child of an alcoholic, in recovery myself, blah blah blah. I'm none of those things, I just don't need alcohol to have a good time and I don't particularly enjoy the taste of it. Any of it. Which is where non-alcoholic cocktails come in. They're the best way to insert yourself into a boozy night out and not have to field quite as many (rather personal) questions about whyyyy you're not having a drink.
As an Irish person, not drinking comes with a whole gansey-load of probing questions and complications. So while you're busy defending your ability to have the craic (despite being *whispers* DRY...), hit up these Dublin spots for the best virgin action you're ever gonna get with your clothes on...
5. Coppinger Row.
That little street with no name between Clarendon St and South William St, Dublin 2
At number five, we've got Beyoncé's favourite haunt (nice one, Bey), Coppinger Row. We're all bounding in there to order whatever she ordered, so try out their Straight Edge cocktail, which is the freshest thing to hit our mouths since Aquafresh did the triple stripe. It's an apple and cucumber dream, with a hint of lemon and cardamom sugar. Marc Bereen whips it up good.
Wexford St, Dublin 2
That new place that used to be the front entrance to the village? Well it's a switzy little asian fusion effort that's getting ALL the attention at the moment, thanks in no small part to the wonderful non-alcoholic cocktails they serve. They have so much bite that you think you're drinking hard liquor, which works a treat for those of us who are temporarily off the sauce. They don't make you feel like less craic than a bag of sand for ordering one, either. Non judgemental service. High five.
3. Whitefriar Grill,
Aungier St, Dublin 2
Nigel is the manager (don't call him Nidge, he hates that) and he recommended me the L'Orange virgin cocktail to complete 'Operation Libation'. It's made with chunks of orange, fresh orange juice ("not that aul Squeeze gear" - Nigel) 7up, Grenadine and wedges of lime. They shake the bejaysus out of it, like many cocktails, and then it blows the bejaysus out of you with the tang. Great for a waker-upper if that's what you're after, and served with a smile (and some whopper grub, n'all n'anyway)
2. The Exchequer
Exchequer St, Dublin 2
Knocking around Exchequer Street? Pop in here and give The Virgin Popper a go... Doesn't it sound like it might contain cherries? Or is that just me? Anyway, it's equal parts cranberry juice and apple juice, with a dash of strawberry puree, shaken over ice with fresh mint, before being poured over ice and garnished with fresh strawberry. Tiernan O'Gara is the cocktail bartender there and he doesn't look at you like you've ten heads or check for a baby bump when you request a sober sauce, thank jaysus.
South William St, Dublin 2
The effort it takes to make a truly delicious, tangy and refreshing cocktail without throwing a bucket of alcohol in is immense, and whatever your teetotal poisin, Mark in Zaragoza will make it. I hate mint (it's the devil) and I love fruity stuff, and you can make as vague a request as that and get a delish bespoke cocktail to sip with your tasty tapas. And if you're into the stylish stuff, their fruit art (that's what I'm calling it) is second to none. The best I've had in the best atmosphere in Dublin.