Did you know? Gin is a distilled spirit made mostly from juniper berries and other natural botanicals. It originates from Europe – either Belgium, Netherlands, Southern France, or Italy – sometime in the 13th-17th century, although historical accounts can’t seem to agree exactly from where and when it got its start. What’s certain, however, is that no one asked the question back then, “Is gin vegan?”
In this article, you’ll learn about gin’s ingredients, and whether or not they’re suitable for vegans to consume, and which types of gins to watch for to stay within (vegan) limits.
Can vegans drink gin?
Gin has only recently begun to appear immensely popular and trendy across most of the world. These days you will often find pubs, bars and restaurants with a dedicated gin bar. It’s now a beloved beverage that can be enjoyed multiple ways – fruit-flavored, spiced, London-style… You name it! As both gin and veganism continue to popularize, it only makes sense to question whether or not if vegans can still enjoy a nice gin-based liqueur every once in a while.
As many people on plant-based diets would be happy to know, YES; gin is vegan. That’s because gin is mostly made up of juniper berries in addition to natural ingredients or botanicals such as grains, coriander, fruits, and natural flavorings and sweeteners.
So that makes one alcoholic beverage safe to consume by vegans, considering many others (i.e. beer and wine) are often processed using animal ingredients or products. Isinglass, gelatin, egg whites… Even milk and cream can be used in the making of some alcohols and liqueurs.
Luckily though, most gin IS indeed vegan and the majority don’t include any of the animal-derived ingredients above (and that goes for most hard liquors such as rum, whiskey, vodka, bourbon, etc.) as well.
Top Vegan Gins
Which gins are vegan?
There are dozens of gin brands and hundreds upon hundreds of distilleries out there. But chances are, the next time you walk into a bar you won’t have the label on hand (or recognize the name) and thus won’t be able to tell whether or not a certain gin is vegan.
In that case, make sure to save this handy guide of the top vegan-friendly gins that will find sitting top-shelf in any bar or market:
1. Beefeater – Despite its name, Beefeater gin is one of the top brands of vegan gin, consisting of botanical blend of juniper, orange and lemon, licorice, almond, orris root, coriander, and angelica root and seed.
2. Tanqueray London Dry Gin – one of the top gins on the market. It is made with only four ingredients – juniper, coriander, licorice, and angelica root/seed.
3. Bombay Sapphire – another London dry-style gin composed of at least a dozen vapor-infused botanicals, including cubeb berries and almond grains (none of which should concern vegans).
4. Martin Miller’s – this gin is produced with a 2-stage distillate process and consists of ingredients such as licorice root, lime peel, and cassia bark. It’s topped off with a crisp dash of pure Icelandic glacial water.
5. Greenall’s – the “original” British gin with a recipe that dates back over 250+ years ago. It’s made up of 8 fine ingredients, sourced globally, including Tuscan juniper, Spanish lemons, and Moroccan coriander.
6. Aviation American – despite having only just hit the market in 2006, the Aviation American is a big hit among gin-lovers. It results in softer and more floral gin experience, which will certainly please vegans with hints of lavender, roots, and berries.
7. Sipsmith – this gin is a unique blend of ten botanicals, all of which are vegan-friendly.
8. Brockman’s – a gin crafted with dark blackberries, blueberries, and bittersweet orange peel.
9. Hendrick’s – one of the best modern gins that exists, Hendrick’s is safe for vegans to consume thanks to its list of vegan-approved ingredients such as juniper, chamomile, elderflower, cubeb berry, yarrow, and infused with a hint of rose petal and cucumber.
10. Gordon’s – last but not least is Gordon’s gin, which is triple-distilled and consists of juniper berries, orris root, coriander seeds, orange and lemon peel, ginger, cassia oil, and nutmeg. There is word that the actual recipe remains a secret since its introduction in 1769, but it’s fairly safe to say this gin is vegan.
If you are curious about what other types of alcohol are vegan, here is a complete list.
Why is some gin not vegan?
Is there ever a chance you’ll meet a gin that’s not vegan? Perhaps so.
Some gins, although not often, can be made with honey as a natural sweetener. Although honey is considered natural, it is still a product of an animal – the hard-working honeybee. As such, many vegans avoid any honey products at all, including some gins infused with the ingredient.
Common non-vegan ingredients
Other gins may not be suitable for vegans because of the filtration process or the use of animal ingredients. Common non-vegan ingredients in addition to honey include ants, gelatin (taken from animal parts), isinglass (derived from fish bladders), or carmine (aka crushed up bugs).
Which gins are not vegan?
The following gin brands would not be vegan-friendly for the reasons mentioned above. Keep an eye out for these brand names whenever you go out for drinks.
● Old Tom Gin (honey)
● Anty Gin (ants)
● Archie Rose Distiller’s Strength Gin (honey)
● Greenhook Beach Plum Gin (uses gelatin for the filtration process)
● Herno Juniper Cask Gin (no non-vegan ingredients, but the cap is sealed with beeswax)
● Tarquin’s British Blackberry Gin (honey)
● Nosferatu Blood Orange gin (carmine for coloring)
● Anther Anther x Taxi gin (honey)
● Whitley Neil (some of their gins contain isinglass)
There are no doubt more gins that have used animal parts at some point in the filtration or production process. If ever you’re in doubt about the vegan-friendliness of one brand of gin, it’s best to ask before drinking bottom’s-up!
How to check if gin is vegan
If you are at the store buying drinks for a party, then you can try to check the bottle for an indicator that the alcohol is suitable for vegans.
To do this, watch out for the Vegan Society Trademark label, which has the words “vegan” written and is decorated with a sunflower. Their trademark is listed on over 47,000 products worldwide, so it’s possible that the gin you’re interested in is listed.
Unfortunately, other than checking for wording or for an official label, it’s not possible to check the ingredients used to make alcohols and spirits. In fact, alcohol is one of the few exceptions of “food groups” that aren’t required by law to list the ingredients visibly for the consumer to see.
Is tonic water vegan?
Most tonic water is vegan, unless it’s the popular Schweppes Indian Tonic Water which contains traces of honey. Otherwise, tonic water is produced by combining carbonated water, flavorings (i.e. lemon), sweeteners, and quinine which is derived from the bark found on the South American cinchona tree.
Is Gordon’s gin vegan?
Yes, Gordon’s gin is vegan thanks to its natural blend of botanicals.
Is Bombay Sapphire vegan?
The Bombay Sapphire gin, originally owned by IDV but then sold to the Bacardi brand, is a vegan gin made with 40% alcohol, juniper berries, coriander seeds, lemon peel, angelica root/seed, licorice, and orris root.
Is pink gin vegan?
“Pink” gin gets its name from its color, which can sometimes be associated with the red carmine substance made from crushed bugs. However, rest assured, pink gin stays vegan-friendly because its reddish/pink color comes from infusing the gin with red berries.
Is Beefeater pink gin vegan?
Beefeater pink gin, despite it’s ironic name, is vegan.
Is Whitley Neill gin vegan?
According to Barnivore, mostly all Whitley Neill line of gins are vegan except for the Rhubarb & Ginger and the Lemongrass & Ginger because those contain isinglass.
Is Sipsmith gin vegan?
Rest assured that the Sipsmith London Dry Gin is vegan-friendly.
Is Tanqueray gin vegan?
The Tanqueray gin recipe is made up of only four botanical ingredients, all of which are suitable for vegans.
Is Schweppes tonic water vegan?
Tonic water is naturally vegan, but the Schweppes line Indian Tonic Water is not vegan-friendly because it uses a sweetener derived from honey.
Is Fever Tree tonic water vegan?
The Fever Tree line of tonic water remains vegan-friendly, and according to an email to Barnivore, its bottling and canning plants are designed to maintain this strict regulation.
Summary… Is gin and tonic suitable for vegans?
Luckily for the plant-eaters among us, most gin is suitable for vegans. The chances that you find a non-vegan gin is rare, especially seeing as the top brands that you’ll find in bars, markets, and liquor stores are also the most popular.
If ever you are unsure that a certain brand of gin is vegan or not, you can shoot a quick email to the manufacturer, ask the bartender or server (in case you’re out), or check Barnivore to see if the brand has already been listed as vegan-friendly.
Are you happy to know that gin is vegan? Let us know in the comments below!