‘Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry – but have you noticed how many Christmas and holiday drinks aren’t vegan-friendly?
But fear not. Gone are the days when soy milk was the only dairy alternative and Baileys was a long forgotten (but secretly missed) tipple. Now, we can substitute just about anything and make our own cruelty-free cocktails, mocktails, and liqueurs that will have everyone reaching for your glass.
You don’t need to be a mixologist to master these festive drinks. Heck, you don’t even need to worry about Boxing Day hangovers either, as we’ve pulled together six easy recipes and their alcohol-free alternatives to get you through to New Year.
Race you to the bar!
Vegan holiday drinks recipes
1. Vegan mulled wine
A classic drink that brings all the scents of the holiday season into one drink, mulled wine is fantastically simple to make at home.
Gimme Some Oven has created a foolproof recipe, which includes a little orange juice and brandy for added flavor – and offers suggestions for fun adaptations too.
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of vegan-friendly dry red wine
- 1/4 cup brandy (or orange liqueur)
- 1 orange, sliced into rounds (also peeled, if you would like a less-bitter drink)
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar or maple syrup to taste (or your desired sweetener)
Swap out regular wine for an alcohol-free alternative or ditch the wine altogether and infuse cranberry juice with your spices for an uncompromising festive tipple.
You can even cheat by buying Ikea’s ready-to-heat Glögg.
2. Vegan eggnog
Call us strange, but the idea of glugging any drink filled with eggs sounds pretty horrific. However, eggnog has secured itself a place in the holiday hall of fame as a traditional drink that is served alongside presents and festivities. But can it be veganized? Of course it can.
The Simple Green has taken away all the dairy and eggs, replacing them with vegan meringue and creamy nut milk, leaving just a gently spiced drink that has a hint of rum (if you want it to).
- 1 cup of raw cashews
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups almond milk
- ⅓ cup cashew cream
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon rum extract (or a shot of real rum for a boozy note)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
- ½ cup chickpea water
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Remove the rum. You won’t lose any of the gorgeous taste or silky mouthfeel, which is what eggnog is all about.
3. Vegan snowball
If you thought eggnog was weird, prepare to be properly confused by snowball cocktails! Traditionally using advocaat, a Dutch drink made from brandy and eggs, the final drink has a fizzy custard kind of vibe. Stay with us here, we promise the vegan holiday drink version is worth a try.
Kitchenoflion has taken the essence of the custardy tipple, made it vegan-friendly, and added a little bit of glamorous with some cocktail cherries.
- 150 ml Oatly vanilla custard
- 1 can of cream soda
- 1/2 tsp lime juice
- a splash of brandy
- glacé cherries
- ice cubes
Leave out the brandy or replace it with an alcohol-free brandy or rum extract. In this cocktail, the brandy really only adds a dash of sourness to cut through the rich custard. However, the lime juice also does that.
4. Vegan cranberry margarita
Margaritas are easy to make, pack a big punch of flavor, and can be as boozy or not as you like. They also benefit from being able to adapt to a range of flavors, so move away from the traditional citrus notes and try your hand at a cranberry version.
Isabel Eats has devised a four-ingredient recipe that stays true to the essence of a proper marg but adds in the right festive notes.
- coarse sea salt, for rimming glass
- 4.5 ounces cranberry juice (3 shots from standard size shot glass), or more to taste
- 1.5 ounces blanco tequila (1 shot from standard size shot glass)
- 1 ounce triple sec (2/3 shot from standard size shot glass)
- 1/2 lime
- fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional)
Ditch the tequila and triple sec and add ⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice instead. It will amp up the sour that is associated with a margarita and replace the orange notes of the triple sec too.
5. Vegan spiced cider
Similar to mulled wine, spiced cider involves heating and adding spices to a pre-prepared bottle of booze to give it a little flair. Cider is a nice option for anyone that isn’t fussed about wine, and it can feel a little fresher on the palate.
Pick Up Limes has developed a recipe that really focuses on warming spices, including cardamom and cinnamon, while adding a little ginger too. It results in a vegan holiday drink that really warms the cockles in the winter months.
The original recipe does not use alcoholic cider, but you can.
- 8 cups apple cider
- 1 orange, thinly sliced
- 6 cardamom pods, cracked
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 3 whole cloves
- ½ cup (50 g) fresh cranberries
- 1 tbsp (6 g) fresh ginger, thinly sliced
Swap out the cider for cloudy, unfiltered apple juice. Try to source something locally produced for a really fresh and delicious drink.
6. Vegan Baileys, but homemade
Yes, we know Baileys has brought out a vegan version of its classic cream liqueur, but you can make one at home that not only tastes more like the original, but provides that extra dose of satisfaction.
We’ve tried a few recipes and found the best, by a mile, to be Texanerin Baking’s version. It’s thick, creamy, and delicious and would make an amazing gift, if you can bear to part with a bottle of it.
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) pitted dates
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) unsweetened cashew milk, divided
- 5 tablespoons strong coffee (optional)
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) coconut cream, soft or melted
- 1 1/4 cups (300ml) Irish whiskey
If you take out the whiskey, your drink won’t taste exactly like Baileys, but will still be a delicious alcohol-free liquor. Plus, it can be added to baking to make things like cheesecakes.
You can experiment with adding a whiskey extract that has been developed specifically for substituting real alcohol, but take it slow. A little goes a long way!
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