For many people, implementing a vegan lifestyle simply means you have to cut so many things from your diet.
This “cut it out belief,” must be the reason I have so many friends that are astonished when I want to go out for drinks. “But, you’re vegan,” they’ll say.
For those of you who like to enjoy the occasional drink or two during happy hour or love to hang with your crew on a Friday night, don’t worry. There are so many vegan-friendly alcoholic options out there, that you won’t miss a thing.
Whitney, it’s alcohol. What could possibly make alcohol non-vegan friendly?
Well, two things.
Surprisingly, animal-based products can be found in a lot of consumption items, usually under names that would not normally alert you to the animal parts. Yea, I’m pretty sure you have never seen a bottle of wine with an ingredient list including animal hooves. But hey! Doesn’t mean it’s not in there.
Albumin – derived from eggs or dried blood
Casein – protein found in dairy dairy
Gelatin – Made from bones and tendons of cows and pigs, and yes, it is the same stuff found in Jell-O
Isinglass – fish bladders
Carmine – coloring derived from insects
Even if your drink of choice does not CONTAIN animal-based ingredients, animal body parts may have been used in the production process. For instance, some beers use fish guts during the process of filtering their beers.
Okay, animal hooves and fish guts… anything else I have to watch out for?
Well, yes. Unless your drink of choice is made straight, many mixers and add-ins may include animal products, as well. Here are a few mixers that may make you think twice.
- White Sugar – Despite popular belief, sugar is naturally brown. In order to produce processed white sugar, companies use animal bone char to achieve the white color. Click here to see a list of sugar that doesn’t contain animal bones.
- Honey – Even though honey is technically bee vomit, many people, including some vegans, have no problem consuming it. However, most vegans stay away from honey, not just for what it is, but for the unethical practices of mass breeding and wing-clipping. Not to mention the overworking of the bees to produce their own source of nutrients that we constantly steal. A great substitute for honey is agave nectar.
- Soda – Here is an exception! Most sodas are made by the Coke and Pepsi Company and have been found suitable for vegans. So, if you are a Rum and Coke person, drink on!
- Juices -You do have to watch out for fruit juice, though! I know. Soda is okay. but fruit juice, is not? Some juices such as Tropicana Heart Healthy Orange Juice and Minute Maid Ruby Red Grapefruit contain those popular hidden animal ingredients that we just mentioned can be found in liquor.
Yep, happy hour ain’t so happy, is it?
Wait, now you know I wouldn’t tell you all this if I didn’t have some super handy tools in place to help you navigate your liquor cabinet!
Use the app!
First, I have to tell you about this awesome app/website called Barnivore.com. If you haven’t heard of this, download it now! The creators of this app have compiled a directory of (mostly) every beer, wine, and liquor product and it lets you know if the product is vegan-friendly or not.
Yep, no guesswork and label reading for you! There are over 27,600 products listed and each product has “been checked and often double or triple checked by the Barnivore community.” So just go to the site and search for the alcoholic product you are curious about and VOILA!
If this doesn’t help, you can always just Google it. You will be surprised the lengths the vegan community has gone to find out if a product is vegan-friendly or not! Yes, the work has already been done for you.
Contact the company!
And if you still are left wondering if the beer in your hand is safe to drink, contact the company! Most companies can easily provide you an answer. If they can’t, I would stay cautious.
Also, by letting them know this is a concern for you, along with others voicing that same concern, the company may work to create a vegan-friendly product!
If you think that’s BS, just ask Guinness! In the past, Guinness has used animals in the process of making its world known beer. (I’ll be honest; Guinness was one of my favorite beers before I became a vegan.)
In 2015, Guinness beer company announced they would start making their beer fish bladder free by the end of 2016. Well, that’s something to look forward too!
Before you go out, veganize your signature drink in your head.
Let’s be honest. Unless you are a broke college student who only orders from the “Tonight’s Specials” drink menu, you probably have a signature drink or beer that you ALWAYS order.
Go to Barnivore.com right now and find out if the liquor used is vegan-friendly. Find backup options, just in case the bar you go to does not have your favorite drink. If your liquor of choice is not vegan-friendly, find a replacement liquor you can ask the bartender to use.
I really think you will be surprised at just how many of your favorites are vegan-friendly.
I also urge you to contact a company that is still using animals to create their product and tell them nobody wants their chicken beer!
One other thing to remember: Living as a vegan never calls for perfection. You just have to make a conscious effort to make choices that do not harm.
We must push to live in a world where you don’t have to wonder if animals were harmed to make your morning orange juice!
Seriously, though, wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where we don’t have to think about the things that may be lurking in our wine?
It almost makes you wonder why we even have to question these things at all.
So enjoy happy hour and please remember to drink responsibly!
In the comments below…
Tell us about your favorite vegan alcoholic drinks! Please send links for recipes!!
You can even send non-alcoholic drink recipes if they taste really good!