In an ever-changing world, the drinks industry must keep up with the latest trends and movements, be it the development of canned drinks, the Kombucha craze or the rise in vegan cocktails and drinks.
The Vegan Society reports that Britain has shown a seismic shift towards veganism, with the vegan population quadrupling between 2014 and 2018 - that means 1.16% of the population have taken the leap!
So Why is Veganism on the Up?
The cruel treatment of animals during farming, the negative environmental impact of animal agriculture and the supposed health benefits of vegan diets are some of the main reasons for an increase in veganism.
Despite being serious about animal rights and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, vegans love to kick back and relax as much as the next person, and we all know there’s no way better to do so than with a cocktail in hand.
As the vegan population grows, the importance of catering to them is at an all-time high, so we’ve gathered our favourite vegan cocktails and drinks, and some of the UK’s most inspirational vegan (and vegan-friendly) establishments.
But first, we’re going to look into drinks that are surprisingly not vegan...
Surprisingly Non-Vegan Drinks
It may shock you to hear that many popular alcoholic drinks aren’t vegan, as lots have animal products (like dairy or honey) in their ingredients, whilst others rely on non-vegan filtration processes.
Many beers, including Fosters, Carling and Kronenbourg, are filtered using isinglass, a membrane that comes from the bladders of tropical fish. This protein is used to give the beer an aesthetically pleasing, clear texture that we beer-drinkers love.
Other traditional and non-vegan beer filtration products include gelatin (a protein found in animal skin, ligaments, tendons, hooves and bones), glycerin (which can be made from plant oil or from animal fats and many beer ingredients labels will not specify which type) and casein (a milk ingredient).
The wine filtration process is also traditionally not vegan as it often includes casein, egg whites, gelatin or isinglass. Brands like Barefoot use traditional methods when fining their wine. These include gelatin, proteins from fish or animal products and milk or eggs.
Some orange juices like Tropicana Pure Premium Healthy Heart contain fish oil and fish gelatin, so think twice before ordering that for the cosmos.
Beware of the bubbles - some fizzy drinks use ester gum, also known as ‘glycerol ester of wood rosin’, which is often a derivative of animal fats, and some colas use insect-derived dyes.
Use Barnivore to check if the drinks you most commonly use are vegan-friendly.
Vegan Drinks and Cocktails
Thankfully, there are other animal-friendly filtration alternatives, so vegan beer and wine isn’t too hard to come by.
If you’re a frequent-drinker of any of the following, you’ve been drinking vegan already:
Budweiser & Bud Light
Coors and Coors Light
Guinness Original and Blonde American Lager
Heineken (excluding ciders)
Stella Artois (excluding ciders)
Vegan Red Wine
Two of our favourite vegan red wines are Finca Las Moras Black Label Cabernet Cabernet Reserve 2013, an Argentinian red with slightly spicy blackberry aromas and an underlying hint of dark chocolate, and Saint-Auriol Corbières France 2016, a dark and spicy red with liquorice, rosemary and berry notes.
Vegan White Wine
Our top choices for vegan white wines are Meinklang Grüner Veltliner Burgenland, Austria 2016, for its distinct savoury flavours of herb, celery salt and white pepper, and Grüner Veltliner 2016 Ebner-Ebenauer, from the small Austrian vineyard that is run by a husband and wife duo.
Top brands, such as Piper-Heidsieck, Moet & Chandon and Champagne Thienot are 100% vegan-friendly, but if you’re after something with a smaller price tag, these are our favourite vegan options:
Graham Beck The Rhona Rose for its intense berry flavours, Belletti Prosecco, a great value, dry fizz and Skinny Prosecco, as it contains fewer calories and sugar than your average bottle.
Check out our millennial’s guide to sparkling wine for everything you need to know about fizz.
Vegan Sloe Gin Fizz
For a vegan twist on our sloe gin fizz, swap the egg white for Miraculous Foamer or aquafaba (the liquid left over from cooked chickpeas) to achieve the same foamy texture.
40ml sloe gin
25ml lemon juice
1 drop of Ms Betters Miraculous Foaming Bitters
Find the original recipe, alongside many gin cocktails here.
Vegan White Russian
All Big Lebowski fans will love this vegan White Russian. Substituting the cream for almond milk and soy cream, make the drink using:
25ml almond milk
25ml soy cream
Read our guide on how to make cocktails at home and get shaking!
Our Favourite Vegan (and Vegan-Friendly) Establishments
The Chorlton Tap, Manchester