There’s nothing like a refreshing gin and tonic on a hot afternoon and thankfully, as a vegan, you won’t have to skip it this summer. Whilst there are a few treats you may miss after transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, your favourite tipple needn’t be one of them.
Generally, gin is vegan and therefore suitable to be consumed as part of a compassionate diet!
However, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with why some gins are not suitable for a vegan diet and to always check the label.
Why Is Some Gin Not Vegan?
One of the things you only realise once going vegan is just how much animal products are used within the process of food and drink production. Whilst there aren’t any animal-based ingredients within your regular gin, it all comes down to storage and how the gin is made.
The place you would need to watch out for animal products being an ingredient of the gin is if you’re drinking one that contains honey. Whilst often honey-flavoured alcohols usually have overt labelling to tell you this, other flavoured gins may not be quite as easy to spot.
If you’re choosing a wild new flavour of gin you may need to check that honey isn’t one of the ingredients adding that flavour.
Another unfortunate ingredient to look out for in flavoured gins is carmine, which is crushed beetles. It’s often used to colour foods and drinks so it can be easiest to stick with classic, unflavoured and un-coloured gins to quench your thirst.
Which Alcohol is Not Vegan?
There’s a reason pub-grub is rapidly being veganised and it’s not because there isn’t the demand for it! Although the food menu is becoming more and more welcoming to the vegan palette, the drinks list can be a minefield for newbies.
Beers, ciders and wines all share the same issue which can make them unsuitable for vegans. Part of the process of making our favourite pints includes the use of isinglass, a product that comes from the dried bladders of fish. Whilst not very appetising to describe, isinglass provides a filter through which beers, wines and ciders are refined.
Obviously, if you’re a vegan doing your best to avoid any animal product this makes the final product unsuitable.
Be Cautious of Wine
Not all wine is vegan so make sure you lookout for the vegan-approved logo on the back of every bottle of wine
Whilst there’s nothing like putting your feet up with a glass of your favourite vino, the thought of it containing animal products is not so relaxing. Whilst many vineyards and wine manufacturers are widening their offering to cater to vegans, you still need to check labels clearly before taking a sip.
There are many amazing vegan wines (and better still, natural, organic wines!) available on the market that replaces the animal filter with a much kinder alternative. They use plant alternatives such as clay and pea-protein.
As extensive ingredient lists don’t always have to be provided on alcohol, when selecting a wine, look out for a vegan symbol or branding on the bottle to tell whether it’s suitable or not.
Which Alcohol is Vegan?
But do not fear! Whilst some drinks are off the menu for vegans, there is still a variety of well-known and loved alcohol that you can drink. Some popular vegan drinks include:
With a devout following, many will be glad to know that Guinness announced in 2018 that isinglass would no longer be used in their production process, making the drink vegan friendly!
Great news for all who love a cold pint of Guinness with their Sunday roast.
A spokesperson for the Vegan Society has previously confirmed that virtually all spirits are vegan. This includes bourbon, whisky, vodka, gin, and rum, so whatever you have the thirst for, you can do so knowing it is free of animal cruelty!
This of course confirms again that by and large, gin is suitable for vegans.
Since 1846, all of this Italian beer manufacturers’ products have been vegan, how’s about that for being ahead of the curve.
Both classic Bud and Non-alcoholic Budweiser are vegan. I’ll drink to that!
Another beer you can happily order without worrying about its production process, Heineken is suitable for vegans.
If you like your beer with a bit of a twist, the tequila-infused beer Desperados is fine for vegans to drink. Gracias!
Champagne, Cava and Prossecco
It’s time to celebrate, most champagne, cava and prosecco are all vegan-friendly! As with beers and wines, there are some that involve animal products in processing, however, most supermarket and bar offerings will be suitable. Let’s raise a glass to that!
Supermarket Premium Wines
As retailers look to be more vegan-friendly, more and more own-brand offerings are being made vegan. This goes for their wines as well.
If you’re not sure which wine to pick, the slightly more expensive bottles might be your best bet. Morrisons Fleurie, Co-op’s Irresistible Leyda Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Tesco’s Finest Côtes de Gascogne are all not only vegan but also made the Guardian’s Top 20 vegan wines list.
As a vegan, there are few clear and obvious things you’ll want to look out for when ordering your favourite drinks:
- Look out for honey flavours and crazy flavoured alcohol
- Brightly coloured alcohol can contain carmine so avoid those where possible
- Always look for products that are Vegan Society approved or have another stamp of approval
Luckily bars and pubs aren’t quite the minefield they once were for plant-based eaters and with your favourite gin likely being vegan, there’s no need to stop the party.