Vodka is one of the world’s most popular spirits, not just taken by Russians! Made from potatoes, most vodka is naturally vegan. But take care, as a few brands filter it through bone char or fish bladders. These brands are all vegan-friendly and have the added bonus of being sustainably-made. There are also the odds ones that contain less alcohol, if you are cutting down (vodka is a high strength spirit).
Serve with an artisan tonic water. Tonic water contains quinine, which should be avoided for pregnancy, abnormal heart rhythm, kidney or liver disease or low blood sugar). Avoid grapefruit (used in some tonic waters) or grapefruit slices for certain conditions (check your medication). Avoid rhubarb tonic waters for stomach/kidney issues.
Did you know that some vets use vodka as an emergency way to soak up antifreeze, for pet emergencies? When administered correctly, it has saved the lives of many pets who have ingested antifreeze (with follow-up care, as antifreeze ingestion can cause internal organ damage quickly). Let your mechanic change antifreeze (or use a safer version with proplyene glycol, used in an enclosed space, with a funnel).
Foraged Vodkas from Isle of Wight
Tipsy Wight makes quirky flavoured vodkas, infused on this beautiful island. Made from natural ingredients either grown locally or foraged from fields and hedgerows on their Victorian farm, these give a taste of a genteel English summer year-round. All bar their honey vodkas are vegan-friendly, and everything is packaged in attractive glass bottles, in cardboard packaging.
- Elderflower vodka is the flagship product, made from fresh elderflowers, sugar and vodka, sold in a presentation box with two tipsy shot glasses. Delicious ice-cold, and also good with Prosecco to make their ‘Elderbubbles’ cocktail.
- Taste of the Hedgerow is a set containing spiced pear (enjoy with apple juice and sparkling wine), wild plum (enjoy with prosecco and ginger syrup), crabapple (good with crushed ice, lime juice and passion fruit), sloe (combine with mulled apple juice for a winter warmer) or the signature Hedgerow Row (a blend of blackberries, haws, elderberries and soda – good with soda or lemonade on ice, with a garnish of fresh blackberries).
- Old English vodkas are from Isle of Wight orchard fruits. Choose from Apricot, Medlar (tastes of apples, dates and cinnamon, perfect with ice and tonic), Damson (nice with Disaranno and lemon juice over ice), and their award-winning Quince (try with soda, lemon juice and thyme leaves) and Cherry vodka liqueurs (good with prosecco).
- Wild & Hot Set includes Wild Mint & Cucumber (good with soda or tonic, mint and sliced cucumber), Horseradish & Beetroot (good with carrot juice), Wild Garlic, Chilli Vodka and Beech Leaf (made with young tender tree leaves that unfurl in spring over the bluebells).
- There is also a spicy Chilli Vodka that uses very hot Bhut Jolokia chillies, grown from seed in their greenhouses. 400 times hotter than tabasco sauce, these have a rating on the Scoville Scale of over 1 million, so to calm things down, they blend them with Scotch Bonnet peppers and two types of Jalapeno pepper for the ultimate Bloody Mary.
Other Good Brands of Sustainable Vodka
Sapling Spirits Vegan Vodka is sold in individual bottles, or as gift packs (some with Urban Cordial, a squash made with leftover fruits). This high quality spirit is reducing carbon, unlike most vodkas that use 2.8kg of carbon on average, before it reaches the customer. Distilled from British wheat (4 times), this is clean, crisp and naturally sweet. The same company offers a spiced tomato mix from Suffolk that is ideal to serve over ice for a Virgin Mary, or with their vodka for a Sapling Bloody Mary. Or serve with gin (Red Snapper) or topped with light lager (Michelada). Bottled by hand on the family farm, shake well before use and keep in the fridge (use within 4 days). 12 month shelf life.
PURE Organic Vegan Vodka (Essex) also offers a LITE version with 20% less alcohol and calories. Made locally with organic ingredients, it has citrus and floral overtones. Pubs and restaurants can order branded bar mats and ice buckets.
Devon Cove is an exceptional vegan vodka, made with King Edward potatoes near Hope Cove, a beautiful beach resort on the South Devon coast. The bottle is personalised to make the ideal unique gift. Handcrafted in an artisan distillery using a copper pot, this family has been growing potatoes in the Atlantic sea air for over 50 years, and found that combining Devon potatoes with local spring water makes a smooth and delicious tipple. Grown in rich soil, reflected in the taste.
Simple Vodka Cocktail Recipes
Pear Vodka Cocktail (Crowded Kitchen) combines vodka that’s been infused with apple and pear with lemon, a splash of pomegranate and ginger beer. Use maple syrup to sweeten.
Peach Strawberry Cherry Sangria (Short Girl, Tall Order) is very easy to make, and good to make in large amounts for a crowd.
Blackberry Vodka Lemonade (Short Girl, Tall Order) is actually a mojito recipe, but you can swap out the rum for lemonade instead, for a change
Vodka in Pasta Sauce?!
This vegan vodka pasta sauce (Pinch of Yum) is one to try (obviously not if children are eating it). Why? Because vodka acts as am emulsifier to stop ingredients separating, and also mellows acidity in tomatoes.