Now that Spring has finally begun to do its thing, it’s time to pull yourself out of Winter hibernation mode, throw open the windows, dust off the fancy dishes and get into the entertaining mood. As you plan the epic soirees to come, you may find yourself wondering what to do about a perennial problem, namely what to serve at your vegan get-togethers that won’t turn away your meat-loving friends. Luckily, there are more options than ever before for delicious, meatless food and spring drinks, meaning you’re likely to be able to find something to please everyone on your guest list.
Learn to Make Cocktails the Vegan Way
You really can’t have a proper cocktail party without the cocktails, but so many of them involve products derived from animals. Tales of the Cocktail says foods such as heavy cream and egg whites are used to provide the flavor, richness, and texture that characterize many alcoholic favorites such as bourbon milk punch. There are vegan alternatives that can achieve the same effects, such as nut butters that are useful as fat washes.
Several ingredients make decent substitutes for the properties of egg whites in cocktails. Some obvious choices include powdered egg replacements such as Follow Your Heart: VeganEgg and Beyond Eggs, but other options are available, including the following:
Agar agar excels at forming solid foams in cocktails and is made from seaweed.
VersaWhip is a soy-based product that won’t produce the creamy texture of egg whites, but is still useful for adding foam to a drink without the animal products.
Chickpea brine is renowned in vegan circles as a foamer and emulsifier. It does alter flavor somewhat, but the effect is considered to be mild.
Beer’s natural suds can make it a good choice for adding frothiness to a drink, though the flavor tends to be noticeable.
Pineapple gum syrup or even simple pineapple juice can achieve a froth that makes it work nicely when well shaken.
The superstar of many vegan recipes is coconut, thanks to its versatility, and it’s as true for cocktails as it is for cooking. It can be used for fat-washing to produce a more robust texture and flavor to drinks. Cream made from coconuts can be used to replace whipped cream in drinks such as Irish Coffee. Coconut also can be used in drinks as varied as tiki cocktails and White Russians.
Rely on the Classics
If you would prefer to stick closer to classic adult beverages, there are plenty of simple spring cocktails that can be made without worrying about animal products. You could even incorporate organic or homegrown fruits in many cases to make your cocktails even more environmentally friendly. Some examples include the following:
Mimosa — This simple favorite is made by combining champagne, orange juice, and vodka.
Spring Fling — Combine triple sec, orange juice, lime, pineapple juice, and tequila.
Bee’s Knees — Honey, lime juice, water, and gin form this refreshing beverage.
Strawberry and Kiwi — This fruity cocktail blends the flavors of kiwis and strawberries with vodka.
Pair Food and Libations and Make a big Splash
The Huffington Post shared some ideas for creating fabulous cocktail menus with vegan flair. The pairings of enticing veggie treats with vegan-friendly cocktails could be a hit at your next party and include the following mouthwatering matchups:
Dark chocolate pomegranate cheesecake bites with Sambuca or Patron XO Café — Dates, cashews, dark chocolate, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, and coconut milk go into making tasty miniature cheesecakes for a luxuriant dessert paired with a shot of either of the aforementioned libations.
BBQ Fried Tofu and Stout — Tofu cubes fried in a deep pan or a wok are mixed with barbecue sauce and pierced with toothpicks, then served with a dark winter stout.
Lasagna puff pastry and white wine — Nooch, tofu, tahini butter, porcini mushrooms, kale, marinara, and pastry sheets come together to make delicious puff pastries that are paired with any white wine you prefer.
Avocado naan with cranberry margaritas — This combination serves up warmed naan topped with an avocado and ricotta mixture, and a margarita made from triple sec, tequila, and cranberry juice.
Shock and Amaze Your Carnivorous Friends
Entertaining is one of the simple joys afforded by warmer weather. Learning a few simple substitution techniques and some well-designed recipes can help you serve up culinary fare at your next cocktail party that could wow your meat-eating friends. Imagine their surprise after they’ve eaten, drank, and made merry, and you tell them everything was vegan.