Whisky is made from malted barley, yeast and water. It’s mostly made in Scotland or Ireland, distilling malted barley for several hours (American bourbon is made with corn). Good whisky lasts years, so invest in a sustainable brand. Experts say if you’re down to the last third of a bottle, drink it up with friends within a couple of months for best flavour (with soda over ice, and a sprig of fresh mint).
Nc’nean Distillery is one of Scotland’s most sustainable whisky brands. Sold in bottles or casks, you can order free samples for a trade account, if you run a pub, hotel or restaurant. Made from organic Scottish barley grown without peat (home to endangered wildlife and needed to prevent flooding), it’s gently fermented to taste of peach, apricot, citrus and spice, and has rave reviews. The whisky is matured in specially treated red wine and American whisky barrels. Each bottle is certified organic, made in a carbon neutral distillery, and sold in a recycled glass bottle.
Founder Annabel left her London job after spending four years raising funds to launch this brand. It uses clean energy and two copper pot stills (powered by biomass) and wood chip from the local forest for its power. Any trees harvested are replanted, giving a carbon footprint that that is less for a whole year, than a one return aeroplane trip from London to New York. Any remaining emissions are offset. 99% of waste is diverted from landfill, with draff (leftover barley) offering a tasty meal for local cows. Best enjoyed mixed 2 parts whisky with 4 parts soda.
Organic Whisky from Vintage Roots
Vintage Roots (UK) is an online store that offers more brands of sustainable whisky. These include Highland Harvest made with organic barley, for a fruity smooth drink with no bitterness or burn from the alcohol. There’s also a single malt organic whisky from Ireland, also made from organic barley.
Dairy-Free Baileys from Ireland
Baileys is a blend of whisky with cream and chocolate. Baileys Almande is made with sweet almond oil and almond essence, with a touch of vanilla. The first attempt went rather awry, when the company added beeswax (not knowing that vegans don’t use it). But to their credit, the company went back to the drawing board and reformulated the drink, and now it’s a best-seller the world over.
So why make it dairy-free? Because everyone loves a glass of Baileys, and now vegans and those with milk allergies can enjoy it too. Best stored in the fridge, this is nice served over ice.
If you want to get really ambitious, have a go making this delicious Bailey’s Coffee Vegan Cheesecake (Addicted to Dates). Sweetened with maple syrup and dates, the creamy topping is made with coconut milk (choose a brand free from monkey harvesting like Biona or Nature’s Charm). Keep this dessert away from pets, due to chocolate and coffee.