Have a Vegan Happy Hour

If you're like me, after a hard day of trying to save the world, you like to settle down with a nice glass of wine. Or a cocktail or just some sort of alcoholic treat. Did you stop and think if your adult-only beverage is vegan? You might be surprised.

Avoiding liquor with cream or honey is the first thing that comes to mind when trying to get vegan booze, and it's simple enough to do. Irish Cream is out, unless you can find a non-dairy version (more on that in a minute), and any traditional mead product that is fermented with honey. That still leaves you with a whole wide range of alcoholic delights to choose from. Just avoid the animal products in the ingredients, you're good to go. Or are you?

Now you can enjoy creamy cocktails that are vegan and dairy-free!

Sorry to say, that's not the whole story. Not by a long shot. Though the ingredient list may be free of animal products, the processing behind many beers and wines is not. The problem is the materials used during filtration or clarification. In order to get your alcohol all clear and pretty, it is generally filtered. I'm not a vintner so I am probably simplifying this, but you get the idea.

Materials used in filtering many wines and beers may include bone char, gelatin, egg whites, milk casein protein, chitin and isinglass. Though some of these are probably unfamiliar, you are surely already noticing a few unpleasant materials that you don't usually associate with drinks. Chitin is a material found in crustacean shells, and isinglass is made from fish bladders (yes, seriously). Though technically, there should be none of this stuff in your final glass, you're still "using" animal products when you buy wine or beer that was made this way. Henceforth, they are not vegan.

To be fair though, this is only part of the usual process with wines and beers, so all you hard liquor drinkers out there are probably safe. Otherwise, you might want to start doing a little research into processing and try to find brands or products that are certified as being vegan. One place to start is Barnivore.com. They have a huge database where you can search for your favorite brands and see what's vegan and what's not.

Bailey's Almande
And to top off today's boozey blog, I wanted to share my review of Bailey's newest non-dairy cream drink: Almande. I got a bottle for Christmas and it was thoroughly (and quickly) enjoyed over the holidays. Not only is it vegan, it is also certified gluten-free, which is too much of a double-win to ignore.

As a lover of Irish Cream, I think this is a fantastic and appropriate replacement, though I won't say it tastes precisely like the famous Bailey's we all know and love. I find it sweeter, and you really notice the almond flavor, though it is not actually made with almond milk. Whether you take it straight, on the rocks or use to mix your own creative vegan cocktails, I'd recommend giving Almande a try.


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