Vegan wine is a much more confusing area than vegan spirits. Bailey’s creme liqueur or Advocaat egg liquor are obviously not vegan friendly. But when it comes to vegan wines and sparkling wines, you need to look behind the label to confirm whether you can add a splash of bubbles to your next vegan cocktail.
Why wine isn’t always vegan
Most sparkling wines are made from grapes and yeast, which is why most people assume sparkling wine is vegan-friendly. Sadly, this is not always true.
Whether or not it can be labelled a vegan sparkling wine comes down to how the wine is made, rather than the ingredients put inside the bottle. To create sparkling wine, you need to ferment grapes, or if you’re drinking Renegade and Longton’s wines, we ferment elderflower. The process of fermentation creates impurities in wine which leaves the liquid with a foggy appearance and often sediment at the bottom of the bottle.
Where most sparkling wines lose their vegan status, is during the fining process. In order to take away the impurities and the foggy appearance left from fermentation, fining agents must be used. The most common, and widely available fining agent is isinglass which is a fish bladder protein. This protein attracts the molecules that give the wine its foggy appearance, and allow winemakers to remove these impurities leaving their sparkling wines with its clear colour.
Vegan sparkling wines use a clay-based fining agent called bentonite instead of a fish bladder protein to filter out impurities. This allows makers of vegan wines to achieve the same colour and taste as those using isinglass, but without the animal by products. Vegan wine can also be made through a natural process where winemakers allow the wine to self-stabilise.
How to tell if sparkling wine is vegan
Winemakers are not required to disclose all ingredients in their products. So for now, they get away without clearly labelling which wines are vegan and which ones are not.
Apps like Vivino can help you find wines and winemakers that use sustainable, vegan processes that align with your values and dietary choices. And online databases like Barnivore is a good way to check which wines are vegan, and which are using animal by-products in their fining process.
If you trust labels, you can look for wines that are unfiltered. An unfiltered wine means that the winemaker skipped the filtering or fining step, making it a vegan wine. Don’t be surprised if your unfiltered wine has a foggier appearance and a bit of sediment floating around – this is normal.
Lucky for you, all of Renegade and Longton’s sparkling wines are vegan and use the clay-based fining agent to remove impurities so you never have to question whether you can enjoy a glass…or a bottle of our sparkling wines.
5 Classic cocktails that are vegan (or made vegan for you)
Let’s start with some good news. According to the Future of Food report, within the next 5 years it is expected that at least 25% of the UK will be eating a vegan or vegetarian diet. In addition to the benefits this will have for the planet and animals, this also means it will become much easier to find vegan options at your favourite supermarket, pub, and bar.
While vegan food options are flooding the market, the alcohol industry has been slow to produce vegan liqueurs, spirits and vegan wines. This makes finding a vegan cocktail a little bit tricky.
Since doing research into your drinks can be a bit of a buzz kill, we’ve done it for you and put together 5 classic vegan cocktails that any bartender will be able to make with a few simple substitutes. Even if that bartender is you!
Vegan Cocktail #1: French 75 (Renegade 75)
180ml vegan elderflower pure sparkling wine
45ml dry gin
10ml lemon juice (recipe in mixers)
5ml sugar syrup (to taste)
orange slice, to garnish
1 drop lemon essential oil (optional: lemon is a powerful cleansing agent. Only one drop of the essential oil
To make a French 75, you just need to switch out champagne for our vegan Elderflower Pure Sparkling Wine. Easy.
Shake the gin, sugar and lemon juice. Pour into a chilled champagne glass. Carefully add the vegan elderflower pure sparkling wine. Garnish with a slice of orange.
Vegan Cocktail #2: Pimms Royale
30ml Pimm’s No.1
1 lemon zest
4 cucumber peels
handful mint leaves
elderflower blush sparkling wine, to top
strawberry, to garnish
A classic British drink with a twist! Pimm’s and Cointreau are both vegan friendly spirits, and this recipe pairs them with Renegade and Longton’s vegan elderflower blush sparkling wine to make this classic vegan cocktail.
Pour the Pimm’s and Cointreau over ice in a tall highball glass. Fill with wine, and add the lemon, cucumber and mint. Cut halfway into the strawberry, and push it onto the rim of the glass.
Vegan Cocktail #3: Hangmans blood
30ml chilled stout
120ml elderflower sparkling wine
This is an easy to make cocktail but not one to be considered lightly. There are a few substitutes to consider so best to make this drink early into your night so that you get it right. We have avoided honey-based alcohols and substituted the following ingredients to make this vegan cocktail:
- Guiness is switched for a chilled stout like Honest Brew
- Rum must not be honey flavoured
- Whisky must not be honey-based
- Regular port wine is switched for a bottle-aged port wine which guarantees it is vegan
Combine the gin, rum, whisky, brandy and port in a pint glass.
Add the elderflower sparkling wine and top up with the stout.
Vegan Cocktail #4: Mimosa
60ml Orange juice (labelled 100% juice)
120ml elderflower sparkling wine
This classic needs no introduction and is one of the easiest champagne cocktails to make. A little bit of orange juice, some bubbly, and a touch of grenadine and you’re done. However, not all of these ingredients are always vegan so we need to be mindful when shopping for them. Be sure to purchase:
- Vegan orange juice
- Gendadine that does not use Cochinel in it
- Vegan sparkling wine
Combine the orange juice and sparkling wine in a chilled champagne flute and finish with a drop of grenadine.
Vegan Cocktail #5: Raspberry fizz
30ml raspberry gin liquer
120ml elderflower sparkling wine
Another cocktail with an unsuspecting ingredient that we need to switch out. Typically Chambord would be used in this cocktail, however that is not a vegan product so we recommend using a raspberry gin liquer such as Edinburgh gin to combine with our vegan wine to make your vegan raspberry fizz.
Combine the raspberry liquer with the fresh raspberries and muddle together then top with the elderflower blush sparkling wine
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