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Kali Mireva

Vegan Milk Alternatives for Classic Cocktail Recipes

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Vegan milk, also known as plant-based milk, is becoming increasingly popular over the last several years. It’s an alternative to the classic dairy milk that we all grew up with and commonly use in different coffee and cocktail drinks

As times are changing, people’s preferences and tastes are changing too. More and more people are choosing to live a healthier lifestyle, while some of them experience lactose intolerance and allergies.

This shift is something businesses in the hospitality industry should not neglect. Restaurant owners need to build a better beverage program that will appeal to people and boost the overall customer experience

By including vegan wine in your menu, as well as vegan milk as an alternative to dairy in some of the classic cocktails you serve, your restaurant will earn some new customers. Adding plant-based alternatives to your menu is also something to use in your restaurant marketing

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What Vegan Milk NOT to Use in Cocktails

There are different types of vegan milk. All of them have their pros and cons, and while most of them can be used in cocktails, some just don’t do the trick. Here are the plant-based milk kinds to avoid using when creating delicious vegan drinks:

Key Takeaway: There are 5 mains types of vegan milk to use in cocktails and a few kinds of avoid. Don’t be afraid to use plant-based milks in classic cocktails, they will only improve the overall customer experience in your restaurant.

Flavored Plant-Based Milks

Some plant-based kinds of milk come in flavored varieties, such as vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry. While these can be enjoyable on their own, their strong flavors may not blend well with certain classic cocktail recipes. It's best to opt for plain or unsweetened varieties of plant-based milk when using them for cocktails.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is generally thinner and has a more watery consistency compared to other types of vegan milk. Its delicate flavor and texture might not contribute to the desired creaminess in cocktails that call for a richer consistency. It may be better suited for lighter cocktails or non-alcoholic beverages.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk has a distinctly earthy and nutty flavor that may not pair well with every cocktail. Its unique taste might overpower more delicate flavors or clash with certain spirits. However, if you think that offering hemp milk could be a competitive advantage, feel free to experiment and see if it complements any specific cocktail recipes.

Another option to incorporate a hemp product into your beverage menu is by serving CBD-infused drinks. They even pair well with various dishes, which will boost customer satisfaction in your restaurant.

Vegan Milk Types to Use in Cocktail Drinks

Ultimately, the choice of plant-based milk in cocktails depends on personal preference and the specific cocktail recipe you're working with. It’s a great idea to work with true cocktail experts in such situations.

They can help you modify different recipes or create unique, signature cocktails for your restaurant, using vegan milk. They can even help bartenders master the art of creating classic cocktails but with plant-based alternatives. 

Here’s a full list of what types of vegan milk you can use to make cocktails (or even vegan non-alcoholic drinks if you prefer mocktails).

Almond Milk

Almond milk is a creamy and slightly nutty-flavored milk alternative. It works well in cocktails that require a subtle nutty taste, like: 

  • White Russian - This is one of the best vodka cocktails. It's a creamy and indulgent drink, traditionally made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and cream. You can replace the cream with almond milk to create a lighter version while maintaining a smooth texture.
  • Mudslide - It’s similar to the White Russian cocktail but with added Irish cream liqueur and chocolate syrup. Swap out the cream with almond milk to make a dairy-free Mudslide that still offers a creamy and rich taste.
  • Amaretto Sour - A refreshing and citrusy cocktail made with amaretto liqueur, lemon juice, and a touch of sweetness. You can use almond milk as a replacement for the traditional egg white or cream to give it a creamy mouthfeel.
  • Almond Milk Eggnog - For your holiday seasonal menu, you can create a dairy-free version of eggnog by using almond milk as the base. Combine almond milk, rum or bourbon, sugar, vanilla extract, and spices like nutmeg and cinnamon for a delicious twist on this classic winter cocktail.
  • Almond Milk Punch - Almond milk can be incorporated into classic punch recipes to provide a creamy texture and subtle nutty flavor. Combine almond milk, rum, brandy, sugar, and spices for a delightful and creamy punch.
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Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is rich, creamy, and adds a tropical flavor to cocktails. Here’s a list of the cocktails you can use it without a doubt: 

  • Piña Colada - This iconic tropical cocktail traditionally combines rum, pineapple juice, and coconut cream. You can replace the cream with coconut milk for a lighter and dairy-free version while still enjoying the creamy texture and coconut flavor.
  • Coconut Mojito - A refreshing variation of the classic Mojito, the Coconut Mojito incorporates coconut milk along with rum, lime juice, mint leaves, and simple syrup. The coconut milk adds a creamy and tropical note to this popular cocktail.
  • Hurricane - Originally a rum-based cocktail from New Orleans, the Hurricane typically features rum, passion fruit syrup, and citrus juices. By incorporating coconut milk into the mix, you can give it a unique twist and a creamy mouthfeel.
  • Coconut Margarita - For a tropical twist on a classic Margarita, you can substitute the regular lime juice and triple sec with coconut milk, coconut cream, or coconut water. This creates a creamy and coconut-flavored Margarita.
  • Coconut White Russian - Inspired by the classic White Russian, this variation incorporates coconut milk instead of dairy cream. Combine vodka, coffee liqueur, and coconut milk to create a creamy and tropical twist on this cocktail.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is a versatile and creamy substitute that can be used in classic cocktails. Here are some drinks where oat milk can be used:

  • Oat Milk White Russian - You can swap the cream with oat milk for a dairy-free and slightly nutty twist on this classic drink. 
  • Mudslide - Just like with almond milk, this classic cocktail can be made with oat milk and you will still get a creamy and vegan-friendly Mudslide.
  • Oatmeal Cookie Martini - This cocktail mimics the flavors of a classic oatmeal cookie. Combine vanilla vodka, butterscotch schnapps, Irish cream liqueur, cinnamon, and oat milk for a delightful and creamy treat.
  • Spiked Horchata - Horchata is a traditional Mexican rice-based drink. You can create a spiked version by combining rum, cinnamon liqueur, vanilla extract, and oat milk. The oat milk adds a creamy texture to this flavorful and refreshing cocktail.
  • Golden Milk Cocktail - Inspired by the traditional Ayurvedic drink, this cocktail incorporates turmeric, ginger, honey, and oat milk. Add a splash of bourbon or rum to make it a spirited and soothing beverage.
  • Vegan Eggnog - During the holiday season, you can make dairy-free eggnog using oat milk as the base. Combine oat milk, rum or bourbon, sugar, vanilla extract, and spices like nutmeg and cinnamon for a festive and creamy treat.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is one of the most common plant-based milk alternatives. 

  • Grasshopper - This minty cocktail combines green crème de menthe, white crème de cacao, and cream. Replace the cream with soy milk to make a vegan-friendly Grasshopper while maintaining a smooth and creamy texture.
  • Tom and Jerry - A traditional winter cocktail consisting of rum, brandy, egg yolks, sugar, and spices. You can replace the milk or cream with soy milk for a dairy-free variation of this festive drink.
  • Chai Martini - Add an Indian-inspired twist to your martini by combining spiced chai tea, vodka, and soy milk. The soy milk adds a creamy and slightly nutty taste to this flavorful cocktail.
  • Vegan Irish Coffee - Create a dairy-free version of the classic Irish Coffee by using soy milk instead of cream. Combine whiskey, hot coffee, sugar, and soy milk for a warming and indulgent drink.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk, with its rich and creamy texture, can be a wonderful addition to classic cocktails. Here are some classic cocktails where it can be used:

  • Brandy Alexander - This dessert-like cocktail features brandy, crème de cacao, and cream. Swap out the cream with cashew milk to create a vegan-friendly version that still maintains a creamy and luxurious taste.
  • Rum Chata - A creamy and cinnamon-spiced cocktail that typically combines rum, cream, and cinnamon. Replace the cream with cashew milk for a vegan version that retains the creamy texture and complements the cinnamon flavors.
  • Nutty Alexander - Give the classic Brandy Alexander a nutty twist by using cashew milk as a substitute for cream. Combine brandy, crème de cacao, and cashew milk to create a cocktail with a rich and nutty flavor profile.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Vegan Milk in Cocktail Drinks

In need of more information? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions!

Which Vegan Milk Is Preferred by the Most People?

Almond milk is the most preferred among plant-based milks, with 7 in 10 calling it their dairy-free alternative of choice. 

Why Is Vegan Milk Becoming More Popular?

Sustainability, dietary preferences and restrictions, as well as health-consciousness are among the main reasons why people choose to switch from dairy to vegan milk. 

Which Vegan Milk Is Best for Cocktails?

Coconut milk is considered to be the best vegan alternative to use in cocktail drinks. It adds thickness to the drinks and its natural sweetness helps any cocktail with a milky texture to get tastier.

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