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By being serious about our health and the state of the planet, vegans sometimes get a reputation for being serious about everything. Not true!
Vegans like to kick up their heels as much as anyone. And what better way to unwind and have some fun than with some vegan cocktails?
By paying attention to the ingredients you buy, you can have a multitude of options available whether you are looking to share a quiet drink after work or host a festive party for a crowd.
We have put together a list of recipes and ideas which are suitable for all occasions, from holiday parties to summer get-togethers.
It’s easy to concoct a wide variety of vegan cocktails which will liven up any gathering and still allow you to maintain and enjoy your vegan lifestyle.
10 Vegan Cocktails You Need to Try
1. Cranberry Mojito Punch
Rum-based mojitos are especially popular right now. Add cranberry juice to this rum drink for a splash of color and a snap of tart flavor.
Cranberries not only have many health benefits, but they add a festive flair to drinks during a holiday party or a summer BBQ.
As an added bonus, the cranberries are loaded with Vitamin C.
If you want to whip up a batch of tasty vegan cocktails, you can’t go wrong with this refreshing and sparkling punch recipe.
2. Vegan White Russian
If The Big Lebowski is your idol, you may think you are going to have a problem enjoying White Russians like Jeff Bridges while maintaining your vegan lifestyle.
Substitute coconut milk or coconut creamer for milk and mix with Kaluha to enjoy a vegan variation of this iconic cocktail.
You can also use soy milk as well.
These warming drinks are great for cold weather gatherings. You can use coconut milk or nondairy creamers in any cocktails which call for a cream base.
Even traditionally cream-based liquors are getting in on the act: Baileys announced last year that it would be selling a vegan version of its famous Irish Cream liquor.
3. G & Fizz Prosecco Cocktail
This vegan cocktail is classy, but it has a surprisingly strong kick from the three liquors in its ingredients.
Mix prosecco sparkling wine with a splash of elderflower cordial and gin.
Serve in a tall glass garnished with mint or cucumber. Aaah!
(Note: see below on the section about wines.
Check your prosecco to make sure it is vegan-friendly. As we discuss below, some wines use non-vegan ingredients in the fermentation process.)
4. Blood Orange Margarita
A tequila margarita can mark the beginning of a beautiful evening. There’s nothing like that blue agave alcohol for freeing the spirit and getting you dancing.
Most margaritas are made with lime based-mixes, but if you want to change things up a bit try a different fruit.
Sticking with freshly squeezed juices also keeps you away from the additives and preservatives many mixers contain.
This recipe uses blood oranges for their distinctive color and taste. It also adds a splash of ginger beer for an extra zing.
5. Mulled Wine
If you are like me, you may have assumed that all wine is necessarily vegan.
Wine is essentially fermented grape juice: isn’t that vegan?
The problem is that many wineries add what are called “fining agents” to their wines during the fermentation process.
Albumin and gelatin are commonly used fining agents added to wines. Although they are acceptable for vegetarians, if you are keeping a vegan diet you definitely don’t want to consume them.
Although the United States does not require wines to label if they are vegetarian or vegan-friendly, you can shop for wines that actively market to vegans and which proactively label the ingredients used in their processes.
Once you have selected a vegan-friendly wine, you can make vegan mulled wine to warm up you and your guests on a cold winter night.
Heat two quarts of vegan wine on the stove top and mix in cut up apples, pears, and oranges. Add spices like clove, anise or cinnamon and stir over a low flame for about 30 minutes before serving.
For a warm weather alternative, sangria can be a delicious vegan option. Select a red or white wine that markets itself as vegan, and add chopped apples, pears or peaches.
6. Lemon Drop
The Lemon Drop is a great example of a traditional cocktail which is having a renaissance. The fact that it is also vegan-friendly is just icing on the cake (to mix metaphors).
To make this delightful concoction, simply shake together 1.5 ounces of vodka, one-half ounce of Triple Sec and .75 ounces of lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed.
Add one teaspoon of simple syrup and shake vigorously with ice, then strain and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon peel and enjoy!
7. Cucumber Gin Martini
One of my favorite vegan cocktails is the cucumber gin martini.
Cucumbers are cool, crunchy and almost completely calorie-free.
Gin has also been known for decades to have health benefits.
You can drop thinly sliced cucumber rounds into a pitcher or container of Bombay Sapphire gin and let them infuse for a few days. It’s like the cucumber water you see at the spa or the gym, except with gin!
Once the gin has infused the cucumbers, strain the liquid into a martini glass and mix with a dash of dry vermouth.
Some trendy bartenders use cucumbers to create what are called “Botanical ice cubes:” they chop up cucumbers and combine with simple syrup, then freeze in ice trays.
Once everything has frozen, they shave this concoction into cocktails like a martini for an amazing flavor that happens to be healthy as well.
These botanical ice cubes really raise the bar for vegan cocktails.
8. Vegan Beers
Although technically not a cocktail, no list of vegan cocktails would be complete without mentioning this libation: beer.
Like wineries, some distilleries may add ingredients which do not conform to a vegan lifestyle.
Interestingly, larger breweries are more likely to create vegan beer because they mass produce their products.
Smaller microbreweries are more likely to use gelatin, bone marrow, casein, or isinglass (a fish bladder derivative) to filter their beers.
PETA and Barnivore posts a list of beers which are vegan compliant.
They also list many ciders which you can consume as well without worrying whether they will interfere with your vegan lifestyle.
9. Mint Juleps
Mint juleps are an example of another cocktail that has come back into vogue. Their preparation takes some effort, but it’s worth it to invoke the gracious air of Southern hospitality.
It’s easy to adapt the usual mint julep recipe to ensure that it complies with the requirements for vegan cocktails. Just make sure you use vegan sugar.
Combine one cup of water with one cup of vegan sugar and boil them together. Once they have combined effectively, take the mixture off the stove and stir in one cup of fresh mint leaves.
Stir, and let the mixture steep for 2 hours.
Strain the liquid from the leaves. When you are ready to party, pour two ounces of the mint mixture over ice, add two ounces of bourbon, and stir.
When you serve vegan cocktails like these mint juleps, you may convert even the most avid meat eaters.
10. Non-Alcoholic Vegan Cocktails
Vegans who don’t drink don’t necessarily want to be left out of the fun. There are many ways to serve non-alcoholic vegan cocktails which will allow all of your guests to enjoy your hospitality and feel like they too are a part of the party.
One idea uses tea: the Hibiscus Cherry Mocktail. Blend a cup of strongly brewed hibiscus tea (cold) with a cup of frozen cherries and half a cup of vegan sugar. Then, pour it over ice and serve with a lime garnish.
Another non-alcoholic vegan variation is the Passion Fruit Cocktail.
For this colorful drink, combine 2 ounces of freshly squeezed passion fruit with half an ounce of orange juice, half an ounce of grapefruit juice, and a squeeze of lime. Add 2-3 teaspoons of vegan sugar to taste.
In Brazil, they like to serve passion these fruit cocktails with a few passion fruit seeds sprinkled on top.
If the drinkers in your group are coveting these non-alcoholic variations, you can always add a splash of vodka or rum to make more traditional vegan cocktails.
The point is that you can serve everyone a delightful drink which meets their tastes and personal philosophies.
Go ahead- enjoy a few vegan cocktails
These recipes are just a few of the many options you have for serving delicious and animal-friendly libations.
Living a vegan life style means enjoying life. Sipping these cocktails with your friends demonstrates that you really do not have to give up much to get so much back.
You may be surprised when your example of healthy happy living inspires others to follow your lead.
You will surely be asked where you found all these tasty and healthy recipes, so feel free to share!
(As always with alcohol, please behave responsibly.)