Holiday grocery shopping for a cruelty-free feast is easy for seasoned vegans and ingredient-label-scrutinizers alike. The only hitch arises when considering holiday libations—which vegan-friendly wine to pair with meals, and what beers and ciders can guests sip on while mingling around the fireplace? Knowing what options are veg-friendly is as important for party planners as it is for guests—a rich, dark vegan merlot makes a great gift when it’s cold outside. For guests unsure of what omnivorous hosts may have on hand, bring a vegan-approved bottle (or two) to the celebration.
There is something nostalgic about sipping a cup of cider. Whether it takes you back to the wintertime comforts of childhood or the less quaint, equally endearing days of spiking cider in college, it’s an unequivocally fun and festive treat. Seasonal ales and ciders are great drinks to serve at holiday parties or outdoor bonfires. If eco-concerns or living confinements prohibit fireside festivities, simply fake it. Crack open a few bottles of Blue Moon Harvest Moon pumpkin ale or Full Moon winter ale and buy some vegan marshmallows to toast—or veggie dogs to roast—over the stove. For fans of darker beer, check out New Belgium 2 Below winter ale. To keep warm with spiced cider, choose Woodchuck Draft ciders or Ace Cider (with the exception of the Ace Apple Honey). Top the glass off with a generous helping of SoyaToowhip cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon to perfect this cold-weather drink.
Wine It Down
For some, most meals just taste better washed down with a glass of full-bodied red wine. Others prefer to indulge only on special occasions, or may only care about wine insofar as it can make a good reduction sauce. Whatever the preference, there is a certain satisfaction that comes from rounding out a holiday dinner with an aged vintage—in a glass or in a gravy. A great option for budget-conscious consumers and red wine-reduction enthusiasts would be any of the reds made by Charles Shaw and Yellowtail. Be warned though: both of the companies’ white wine options are not vegan-friendly, as they are fined with isinglass. Don’t fret pinot grigio fans, because Red Truck Wines, Four Chimneys Organic Wines, and Frey Vineyards all sell a variety of tasty, animal-free white, red, and brut wines.
Aside from intensive, last minute shopping trips and gift-wrapping, the holidays usually offer a chance to catch-up with old friends and family. Festive cocktail parties are a great way to reconnect with college buddies and long lost cousins, and vegan mixed drinks are as simple as apple pie—apple pie martini, that is. Luckily, both Dekuyper Schnapps and Kahlua, two of the best liquor brands around for seasonal cocktails, are cruelty-free. Dekuyper Schnapps has a variety of holiday-themed liqueurs, such as Blustery Peppermint, Frosty Spearmint, Washington Apple, Hot Damn! Cinnamon Burst, and Ginger Brandy. Mix Ginger Brandy with spiced rum, soynog, and crumbled gingersnaps to create a gingersnap cocktail, or try shaking the Washington Apple with coconut rum, cranberry juice, apple juice, and ice for an apple pie martini. Spice up a cup of hot chocolate by adding one part Hot Damn! Cinnammon Burst. If Kahlua-based cocktails sound more appealing, try mixing this coffee-flavored liqueur with pumpkin pie filling, coconut rum, soymilk, and ice to make a pumpkin pie cocktail. Not only will party guests be in awe of these fancy, elegant libations, they may even steal the veganized recipes!
Just like with Christmas carols, it’s best to start with the classics. There is nothing quite like a long-simmered mulled wine to fill your home with the warm scents of the holidays and welcome guests into your uniquely decorated abode (you can easily sub in a non-alcoholic wine for your teetotaler guests). Want a non-wine, warming alcoholic beverage to complement your holiday menu? Try warming up a vegan sake (ask at your local liquor store or check Barnivore for sakes that are not produced with animal products), or whip up a batch of VegNews’ incredible Hot Buttered Rum.
For more decadent options to fight the frost outside, try our animal product-free versions of Egg Nog and Irish Coffee. Think Baileys and coffee is a thing of the past now that you are vegan? VegWeb offers a veganized version of the famed liquor, made rich with coconut milk that will keep you both alert and relaxed through countless holiday movie screenings. Inhale the fragrant scents of Chai Spiced Cider, and be sure to make two batches of the beverage, forgoing the rum in one for those who don’t do the booze. Another option that won’t leave anyone missing the alcohol is the tangy, seasonal Hot Cranberry Drink.
Once everyone is cozied up by the fire and the Seitan Holiday Roast is in the oven, it’s time to move on to some more refreshing libations. Seasonal Pomegranate Spritzer is free of booze but big on taste. Get creative with your martini shaker and whip up a batch of this easy-peasy Pumpkin-Infused Vodka, or serve Limoncello Granita for either an aperitif or as a sweet ending to a savory meal. Struggling with the winter blues? Throw caution to the wind and prepare your guests Pink Bikinis, a tropical cocktail with coconut and lime that will have everyone pulling our their smart phones and booking the next flight to Hawaii. No-brainer classics such as red or white Sangria and mimosas can be elevated to fête quality by using freshly squeezed juices for mixing mimosas and in-season citrus to bathe in the sangria. And for an extra-festive twist on mimosas, crack open your copy of the VegNews Holiday eCookbook and try our delicious cranberry Poinsettias!
For drinks that recall carefree college years of the past, why not try these truly revolutionary Vegan Jello Shots? It might sound crazy, but the holidays are a perfect time to push the envelop just a little bit more than usual, and after a few of these guys, no one will be critical of your fabulous hosting abilities. Or at least they won’t once you bust out the Oatmeal Cookie Shots!
When the halls are decked, the trimmings trimmed, and the holly jolly evening is over, be sure to drink plenty of water. January might be the month for de-toxing, but the inevitable holiday overindulgence and resultant hangovers shouldn’t put a damper on your special times with friends and family. Cheers!
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