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 SoyaToo whip 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!