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5 summertime alternatives to alcohol in Edinburgh

Looking forward to summer but worried about your liver? Why not refresh yourself with these fantastic alternatives to alcohol in Edinburgh.

Published: May 21, 2015
Categories: ,

Across Scotland, good weather is always met with celebration. And Edinburgh’s no different. But warmth and sunshine can take a toll on your liver. It only needs a fleeting greeting from Mr Blue Sky and suddenly it’s “taps aff” bottles of easy-drinking lagers and sweet fruity ciders.

Yet what alternatives are there when you’ve had enough alcohol and there’s still another round of Meadows golf to go?

Bubble Tea at Frisky

(13 Forrest Road EH1 2QH & 37 Lothian Road, EH1 2DJ)

The Asian sensation is at its most sophisticated when brought to you by frozen yoghurt stalwarts, Frisky. Bubble tea, also known as pearl milk tea, combines silky iced green or black tea and chewy tapioca blobs or fruit jellies. I know, it sounds weird, but damn it’s satisfying. If bubble tea really doesn’t float your boat though, you can always try a froyo with any one of a number of toppings, from healthy mango to moreish chocolate chips. Both Frisky outlets are open ‘til 11pm, so there’s no need to stay for one more pint either.

And if you've never been to Frisky before, make your first visit this Friday to their Lothian Road shop. To celebrate their third birthday, Frisky are offering any flavour medium Froyo with as many toppings as you can cram on for just £3.

Bubble tea

Milkshakes at Mary’s Milk Bar

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(19 Grassmarket EH1 2HS)

If you’ve not yet had a handmade gelato at Mary’s 50s-style ice cream parlour, you’re seriously missing out. Classic and innovative flavour combinations are offered up side by side, and delivered with charm. From salted caramel, strawberry with black pepper and dark chocolate with pear, to Stilton and grape, cherry Bakewell or malted milk, there’s something for... Sorry, drifted off there for a moment and now I can’t hear myself think over over my rumbling stomach.

(Psst! S Luca, on Morningside Road, is also known for the excellent ice cream they’ve been making for nearly 100 years now, or try the gelateria at Contini Caffe at the top of the Royal Mile which has a great view of the castle.)

Mary's milk

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Iced Tea at eteaket

(41 Frederick St EH2 1EP)

Leaf tea experts eteaket know there’s more to tea than milk and two please, love. All of their incredible selection of black, green, white and fruit teas are available iced - and some of these are even made in to cocktails, such as the Royal Earl Grey G&T. (But let’s keep the mention of alcohol here between you and me, yeah?) Blooming Marvellous, a Sencha green tea blended with sunflower petals and rosebuds is gentle and aromatic, whilst Cranberry Apple Riot packs a fruity punch. Try the Bollywood Dreams Chai iced latte with condensed milk and thank me later.


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Roots Soda,

(Available at various bars and to take away from Vino Wines)

This is not just me saying, ‘no alcohol? Why don’t you suck it up and order that Screwdriver without the vodka?’ Trust me. Roots Soda is epic. Made from real fruit juices and hand bottled with some very funky labelling in Granton, both flavours blow your regular sodas out the water and are well worth the price tag. Kaleidoscope is a mix of orange, strawberry, balsamic and basil that’s worth savouring, whilst Hoodoo combines citrus, pomegranate, hibiscus and chilli to create a kick for the more adventurous fizzy pop drinker.


Iced Coffee at Brewlab

(6-8 South College St EH8 9AA)

Coffee aficionados Brewlab already sell some of the best coffee in the city, in terms of both beans and brew methods. Recently they’ve been working on adding to their core offering by perfecting their cold brew. Ground beans are steeped in chilled water for up to 18 hours, which results in a much sweeter liquor than brewing it hot then cooling it. Available as an iced latte, on draught or in hand-labelled bottles, their caffeinated elixir will get you through the long summer evenings.


A part-time soupmonger with Union of Genius, Amy also writes for Edinburgh Foody and Bite magazine. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Edinburgh's eating options, achieved through an unrivalled dedication to consuming everything the city has to offer. Amy's three great loves are bacon, craft beer and meal planning.

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