These Simple Swaps Can Turn Your Favorite Cocktails Vegan

It's not uncommon to see restaurants cater to vegetarian or vegan eaters, as plant-based eating continues to grow in popularity (via The Beet). Many eateries will highlight specific dishes or customize a niche menu just for these diners. But what about the cocktail menu? 

Those with dietary restrictions are used to analyzing every ingredient on a menu, but there are plenty of hidden, non-vegan ingredients behind the bar that might catch customers by surprise — such as honey, cream, milk, and even egg whites. These ingredients are used so frequently by bartenders that many wouldn't think twice about it. Classic cocktails that aren't vegan include a White Russian, gin fizz, and chocolate martini. Even some beers don't make the cut, like Guinness, which contains isinglass — a gelatin obtained from fish, per National Geographic.

And while you likely can't take the time to brew your own beers, vegans can check out these simple swaps that'll make your cocktails completely free of animal products.

Try oat milk and aquafaba for your vegan cocktails

Any cream liqueur, such as Bailey's Irish Cream or RumChata, contains milk products. Though it won't have any alcohol content, oat milk is a great dairy-free alternative to still achieve the creaminess of the cocktail (via Chilled Magazine). And hey, you can always throw in a little more of the hard liquor to balance it out. Vegans can also use oat milk in cocktails such as White Russians where the recipe calls for whole milk or cream.

One of the most notorious non-vegan cocktails is eggnog, which has eggs, milk, and heavy cream. One recipe by the Minimalist Baker suggests using dairy-free milk, coconut milk, and maple syrup to recreate the holiday favorite. 

Egg whites have been added to shaken drinks for more than a century to create a creamy foam atop the drink. They're essentially odorless and tasteless, and many won't even notice the eggs' presence, but vegans will want to steer clear. Instead, use chickpea liquid, also known as aquafaba (via Eater). It's unlikely this will be an ingredient that bartenders have readily available, so this is one to try at home. The aquafaba is a tasteless foaming agent that mimics egg whites. Olive oil and other flavored oils can also be used to add depth to vegan cocktails. For the best swap, your oil needs to be shaken for about a minute to attain the same luscious-feeling foam, according to Serious Eats.