Want a cocktail veganized? Bought a bottle of something and don’t know what to do with it? Need a cool mocktail? Want to make your own liqueur? We’ll drink to that. Bartenderly is here to make all your vegan drinking dreams come true. If you want to check on whether a specific brand of alcohol is vegan, I recommend Barnivore.
When considering foamy cocktails traditionally thickened by egg whites, aquafaba naturally leaps to mind as an alternative way to make these drinks vegan. Now, I love aquafaba and its boundless versatility. There is another option you can try though: pineapple juice. Yes! Shaken thoroughly, pineapple juice can achieve that same thick layer of dense, soft foam on top of your cocktail. I assumed the reason for this would be something quite complex and went down a Google rabbit hole trying to find out — is it the bromelain? Some other enzyme? Oxygen trapped in the fruit? Alas, my thorough searching revealed nothing particularly conclusive. I finally asked Facebook, and a bartender friend immediately and concisely replied, “protein.” So there you have it. There is a bit more to it than that, involving acids and fibres and so on, but I was satisfied with this answer.
Obviously pineapple is going to bring its own flavour to the table but rather than calling this as a drawback, I like to view it as a fun element to work with. For example, it might be an unusual pairing with gin, but in a Pink Lady cocktail the pineapple juice gives a fizzing tanginess alongside the lemon, working wonderfully with the gin’s floral notes and merging with the grenadine to make a gorgeously coral drink. Whiskey sours traditionally use bourbon, the sweetness of which would be a fine match for pineapple, but I decided to pair it with a blended scotch instead and was delighted with the results. Pineapple’s exuberant juiciness was perfect with the mellow smokiness of the scotch, while the warm, woody spiciness of the Angostura bitters that I dashed on top merged beautifully with the pineapple’s fragrant notes. The texture was silky and the layer on top was thick and held its shape well. Next time you want a foamy cocktail, why not reach for the pineapple juice?
Like many vintage cocktails there are several claims to this drink’s origins, but it’s been around in some form for well over a hundred years. Grenadine is the usual pinkening ingredient, but if you can’t get hold of it, pomegranate syrup would be even better — or try a spoonful of raspberry jam.
- One and ½ ounce gin
- One ounce lemon juice
- One and ½ ounce pineapple juice
- ½ ounce grenadine
Place all ingredients in a cocktail tin or glass and then fill with fresh ice. Place a second tin on top and tap firmly to make sure it’s properly shut. Shake the drink thoroughly for ten to fifteen seconds. Open the tins, then strain through a sieve into a chilled coupe glass, or cocktail glass of your choice.
The sour is one of the oldest known formats for building cocktails, and while mine diverts from tradition somewhat it does have one thing in common with the earliest recorded recipe by Jerry Thomas in 1862 — no egg white! With that in mind there’s certainly nothing stopping you from simply shaking up your chosen whiskey with lemon juice and a little sugar syrup for some old-timey deliciousness. The egg white was a later addition but the notion had traction and most recipes nowadays commonly include it. In this recipe I’ve gone further left field by using a blended scotch, and its gentle peatiness is just wonderful with the acid hit of lemon and pineapple together. You may want to adjust the sugar syrup depending on the sweetness of your pineapple juice, or indeed, the liquor you use. If you can’t get hold of Angostura bitters it’s not the end of the world but just a few droplets adds a fantastically mysterious note to the drink. The spelling convention of whether or not there’s an ‘e’ in whiskey can vary wildly from region to region, but generally Scottish distilleries drop the extra vowel — hence the name of this drink.
- Two ounce blended scotch (I used Isle of Skye)
- One ounce lemon juice
- One ounce pineapple juice
- ½ ounce sugar syrup
- Angostura bitters, for garnish
Place all the ingredients in a cocktail tin or glass. To give extra aeration to the drink, you can shake it first without ice, then open the tins, add fresh ice, close the tins and shake again. Either way, shake the cocktail vigorously for ten to fifteen seconds, then strain into a tumbler over ice or into your preferred cocktail glass. Pour a couple of drops of Angostura onto the foamy top of the drink, and swirl with a skewer to make a pattern if you wish.
- I used bottled, unsweetened pineapple juice in these recipes and found it worked perfectly.
- Sugar syrup can be made by dissolving equal parts sugar and boiling water together and then allowing it to cool. You can use agave nectar instead, bearing in mind that you may not need as much due to its sweetness.
- As always, 1oz = 30ml = 1 shot.
All photos taken at Laundry Bar in Wellington, New Zealand.