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My fraternity brother Zach is coming into town today to spend the weekend. Zach used to be a vegan, so in honor of his first trip to North Carolina, let’s introduce a basic help guide for those vegan cocktails.

A Brief Introduction

Vegan cocktails are a difficult topic, especially since I am an omnivore. Many cocktails are already vegan, based on their ingredients. Rather than writing about my personal experience being a vegan or what I believe to be vegan, I have to scour the web and cookbooks for other’s authority. In my resources for vegans section, I have attached a great link that determines whether or not specific liquors and liqueurs are vegan. We all know the obvious liquors like: Bailey’s Irish Cream and Godiva Chocolate liqueurs which contain milk and are therfore also not safe for your lactose intolerant friends or vegan.

There are other liquors that are also not considered vegan friendly based on their process. As a for instance, supposedly there is a whiskey that is distilled with chicken bones. I do not know what this whiskey is supposed to be, and I cannot find anything online about it. So, it may be a liquor urban legend.

But then come the mixers.

Vegans and Sweeteners

Honey is considered to be vegan by part of the vegan community,  and is not considered to be vegans by the other. There is a great article from Slate about the debate over honey, which you can read for yourself. I come down on the side that honey is vegan when writing about cocktails. My apologies if you do not have agree.

Many vegans do not consider some sugar to be vegan, because some sugar is processed through an bone char (a charcoal produced using animal animals.) You have to read the label and contact the manufacturer. Apparently, beet sugar (as opposed to cane sugar) does not go throw this step.

Now, Agave Nectar costs about $5 for a 12 ounce bottle, so it is a more expensive sweetener than simple syrup or honey. However, people have started to replace simple syrup with agave nectar as a way to reduce calories. It is also vegan. When using Agave Nectar as a replacement for simple syrup, I have not noticed a discernible difference in regards to flavor.

Any of you have an special dietary restrictions that you have had to find a way around for cocktails? Leave a comment below.

And, as always, happy and safe drinking.