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Have You Tried Mother Root Ginger Switchel?

If you've had the opportunity to take advantage of the Government-backed scheme Eat Out to Help Out this month, then I'm sure you've enjoyed some tasty pub meals and hopefully had chance to sample some of the dishes you might not normally try.

As well as delicious food, the Eat Out to Help Out initiative also offers savings on non-alcoholic drinks, but for some this is where choice can be a bit limited.

Thankfully not so at the Virgins & Castle as we have a great selection of drinks on our Temperance Bar. Of course as a great local, long-standing pub, we’ve got a large selection of beers, wines and spirits. During the Eat Out to Help Out initiative that we’re taking part in, these drinks will still be available, but won’t be eligible for discount and so we’ll be pointing people to our Temperance Bar. This is our selection of non-alcoholic drinks that can be enjoyed in the garden, relaxing in a snug or along with a delicious pub meal.

You may have seen that we published our top 10 non-alcoholic drinks from our Temperance Bar in the local press and one that I was really excited to be serving was Mother Root. We caught up with Bethan who is the founder of this cool and quirky brand and discovered what was behind the creation of the medicine bottle styled aperitif

It all started in my kitchen in Peckham when I was pregnant with my first son Fred.

I really believe that pleasure is the fundamental ingredient for leading a healthy and fulfilled life. And now, more than ever, in a time of heightened anxiety we rely on small rituals in life that bring us joy (whether that’s taking a walk, meditation, cooking a delicious meal, or for me, pouring a glass of something delicious at the end of the day).

The idea for crafting a non-alcoholic drink that would suit this moment, came from my own experience. While pregnant, I saw a need for an end-of-day drink that was alcohol-free, but still just as satisfying in terms of flavour, provenance and serve.

Doing some research at home, I was drawn to an old American recipe famed in the prohibition-era. This is how I came to craft Mother Root’s Ginger Switchel which is a modern twist on this long-lost recipe. It’s an all-natural zingy and refreshing blend of Pressed Ginger Juice, Blossom Honey, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and a chilli kick.

Vinegar-based drinks have a long history, dating as far back to early times of Ancient Greece. But it was centuries later, in the turbulent days of 17th-century England and colonial America, that they became a popular drink, often known as “shrubs” and “switchels”.

Switchel was once America’s most popular drink. By day, it was thirst-quenching drink that farmers kept chilled in mason jars in the streams ready for their breaks. It was also the punch that filled the bowl (often spiked with rum) in the centre of the Senate. By night, it spiced up numerous cocktails, but was a particularly favoured drink during the prohibition-era, providing a warming kick without the alcohol.

I crafted this to be enjoyed as a pre-dinner aperitif. Something you can look forward to on those days when you are "not drinking" (because, let’s face it, for many of us in lockdown, we’ve been drinking even more than usual).

It makes a great cocktail ingredient, but the easiest way to enjoy it is over ice with soda or tonic as a revitalising spritz to toast the end of a day (preferably relaxing in a snug at the Virgins & Castle).


We have a great selection of non-alcoholic and low alcohol drinks in our Temperance Bar at the Virgins & Castle. Our team can make some great recommendations, whether it's a prohibition-era inspired Mother Root, a non-alcoholic gin, beer, sparkling wine or even our own Virgin Mary cocktail.

You can find out more about Mother Root as well as how to buy online on their website or follow them on Instagram @motherrootldn

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