These days we are all much more aware and understanding of people’s different dietary requirements. Whether it’s out of choice for ethical reasons, or out of necessity for health reasons, some food and drink are simply off the menu for many people. And if those people are charter guests on your yacht, it could cost you your job if you don’t get it right!
When it comes to a vegan diet, it’s pretty obvious what food shouldn’t be served. Steak and eggs are not going to go down well… But what about drinks? Specifically, alcoholic ones? You may have thought that was quite straight-forward given most alcoholic drinks are essentially made from grains and fruits. However, it’s not quite as straight-forward as it first seems. Let’s delve a little deeper…
Alcohol itself is vegan-friendly. The process of fermenting grains and fruits produces ethanol, which is the chemical that makes you drunk and causes you to embarrass yourself at the crew Christmas party and your former best friend’s wedding. The problem arises in a filtering process called fining which is typically the final phase of making beer and wine. Whilst there are a multitude of synthetic substances now used for this process, traditionally a wide range of animal products were used: isinglass (fish bladders), gelatin (from cows or pigs), albumin (egg whites) and casein (milk).
So, it turns out wine isn’t just grape juice with some added fun, and winemakers are under no obligation to disclose whether they use one of the above substances from animal products or a synthetic alternative. Fortunately, you can visit websites such as www.Barnivore.com, who have compiled an extensive list of vegan-friendly wines and many stockists will point you in the right direction upon request. You can find many wine provisioners on the Yachtneeds app, all catering specifically for the superyacht industry.
Cannes based 1862 Wines, stock a selection of vegan wines from two wineries. Hervé Thoron told us “We have for the moment two wineries certified vegan. Château Sainte Marguerite in La Londes les Maures produces some exquisite rosé wines, and also some white and reds. The other one is called Marigny Neuf, a nice and crisp Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley!”
To see more of the great range at 1862 wines, you can visit their website www.1862wines.com
Onshore Cellars, who have a wonderful shop you should absolutely visit in Antibes, is another distributor who stock a range of vegan wines, as confirmed by founder and ex-chief stew Jessica Dunnet. “We have a wonderful Italian producer, Querciabella, who we work closely with and are all biodynamic and completely vegan.”
Based in Tuscany’s Chianti Classico and Meremma regions, Querciabella has an interesting history, founded in 1974 by avid wine collector Giuseppe ‘Pepito’ Castiglioni, at the beginning of what can be considered the ‘Supertuscan revolution’. It was one of the first wineries to become fully organic in 1988 and became biodynamic in 2000, well before this practice became fashionable. You can find their range here www.onshorecellars.com/collections/producer-querciabella
Jessica also discussed whether there had been an increase in demand for vegan-friendly wine, “We certainly get asked for biodynamic, organic, natural and occasionally vegan wines, all which have different rules and regulations and are all down to the global trend of becoming more eco-friendly.”
When it comes to spirits in their neat form there are no concerns regarding them being vegan-friendly. However, many well known cocktails will be off the menu due to eggs, milk or cream being traditionally added. White Russian’s, Whisky Sours and anything with Bailey’s are a no-go. But there are now some very clever alternatives, which could win you some brownie points or a generous tip if you have them in your cocktail arsenal, check out the below recipe for a vegan Amaretto sour! www.veganfoodlover.com/vegan-amaretto-sour
An interesting note regarding crème liqueurs in case they are the superyacht owner’s tipple of choice (or perhaps even your own), they don’t actually include cream. The name comes from adding enough sugar to give it a creamy, syrupy consistency. So, not a problem for a vegan diet but maybe go easy if you want to fit your swimwear. And avoid a trip to the dentist!
When it comes to beer almost all your favourites are now vegan-friendly. Guiness is one of the more recent to change when it made a high-profile switch to non-animal products for it’s fining process in 2017. Again, www.barnivore.com is one of the best resources to find the small number of breweries that haven’t switched to synthetic methods of fining.
Whether you are looking for vegan-friendly drinks for yourself or for yacht charter guests, hopefully the above helps point you in the right direction. And remember to drink responsibly, no one wants a repeat of the Christmas party incident. Cheers!