More consumers than ever are turning to vegan living, and being able to swap out classic ingredients behind the bar can help you increase profits and reach new customers. 

While it was once just a staple of hippies, veganism is a growing diet trend, and more people than ever are changing their eating (and drinking) waits for a whole host of reasons. For some, veganism helps with dietary issues; it can also be more environmentally friendly and offer a safe alternative for those with food allergies. Being able to adapt and swap out ingredients to make your cocktails vegan can help you attract new customers and increase your profits! Here are a few easy ways to add vegan options to your menu.

Honey Substitute

Honey Substitute

Photo by Sophie Nengel

Honey Substitute  

Honey is a bit of a tricky subject – while there are very few alternatives that will be as environmentally friendly as local honey (anything made with other sweeteners will have a larger carbon footprint), it’s something many vegans avoid. Making a substitute is straightforward – create a thick brown sugar simple syrup with the addition of chamomile tea, a touch of lemon, and apples to mimic the notes of floral honey as well color and texture.

Aquafaba Cocktail

Aquafaba Cocktail

Photo by Nikita Tikhomirov

Aquafaba

While it’s a bit old hat, aquafaba is a handy ingredient as many consumers who ordinarily would eat eggs are afraid of egg whites. Aquafaba is made from chickpeas and creates a perfect, thick foam. Note that it can’t be frozen and must be used within 2-3 days. Use the water from canned chickpeas (also a great way to reduce kitchen waste!) And approximately 1/8 to 1/4 a tsp of cream of tarter. Using a mixer (or a buff arm), whip the liquid until it reaches stiff white peaks. This can take six minutes or longer, so a mixer is recommended.

Oat Milk

Oat Milk

Photo by Tabitha Turner

Oat Milk/Cream 

Even if you live in an area with ample access to ethical dairy, oat milk is still an eco-friendly alternative. Oats grow just about anywhere (for more eco-points source locally) and with less carbon footprint than any animal-based milk. Oat milk is safe for those who are vegan or lactose intolerant, it’s also easy to make gluten-free. If you don’t mind a little extra work whipping up a batch of oat milk for your bar might even save you some money long term. For a batch of just over 4 cups, combine one cup of oats with four cups of water and a pinch of salt. Optional ingredients include one tablespoon of sweetener and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Let your oats soak in water for about 15 minutes, strain, and transfer to a blender with two cups of water and salt. Blend until smooth, add remaining water and blend again until combined. Strain the mixture with fine mesh or cheesecloth into a sanitized container. Oat milk is best chilled and will keep up to five days but may separate; be sure to stir or shake before use.