mo'adore: cruelty-free beauty ∙ vegan food ∙ glasgow/dundee lifestyle

19 June 2016

What common cocktails are vegan?

I've always been a cocktail person. 

Even when I was sneakily drinking underage I was still more likely to try and concoct a cocktail out of my parents drink cabinet rather than just nicking a bottle of cheap vodka. My parents are not massive drinkers and alas there was never that much alcohol in the house. It's only as I've gotten older that I've convinced my mum that more expensive alcohol is worth paying for (my mum drank Gordon's, I don't even drink gin and even I know no respectable gin enthusiastic recommends Gordons but, erm, I apologise if anyone reading this does drink Gordon's). The point of that anecdote was just to let you know that I like cocktails, so much that I even drank them when I a poor student who should have probably been drinking the promos. And that my parents house isn't a good place to go for piss up. 

Fast forward to legal drinking age (plus seven years) and I found myself working in bars. Now I'm going to tell you something that will make a lot of bartenders feel sort of confused: I liked making cocktails. They're daunting as daunting gets the first time you're tasked with making a drunk person a French Martini in a busy bar. But once you nail it? So good. Well I thought so (and people who order complicated drinks are more likely to tip well, so that's always a plus). 

But now I also know what is in all major cocktails. Which helps when you've got dietary requirements because not all alcohol is vegan or vegetarian (some of it is filtered using fish bladder...scrumptious). So I'm accumulating my knowledge from previous bar work and creating a handy to guide to what common cocktails are vegan-friendly!

N.B. Different bars will make their cocktails slightly, well, differently. This is only a guide to what cocktails are typically vegan. 

Woo Woo/ Sex and The Beach
The only thing that differs a SOTB from a Woo Woo is a splash of orange juice. All the other ingredients are vodka, Peach Snapps, cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime. All good to go vegan wise.

Bahama Mama
There's a bit of debate as how to make these. At Bunker we made them with Morgan's Spiced Rum, Malibu, orange juice, pineapple juice and Agostura Bitters. Some places stick to white rum, some only use orange juice and some use grenadine. Good news though? I've not mentioned one non-vegan ingredient in this entire paragraph.

As a former barmaid I can tell you that these are one of the hardest to make, but as a cocktail-drinker I know they're one of the nicest to sip on (if it has been made correctly, as I said they're difficult to get right). Typically prepared with Bacardi, crushed ice, mint leaves, lime juice, sugar and soda water, the only thing you have to worry about is if they use a non-vegan sugar.

Long Island Iced Tea
A medley of several types of alcohol, everything that goes into this cocktail is vegan (luckily, as a lot is mixed into it). Cola, tequila, gin, vodka, triple sec, sugar, bacardi and lime.

Espresso martini
While this frothy cocktail might look like it has some kind of dairy mixed in, it's actually free of daitu (and any animal-product)! Usually made with a coffee liqueur, a shot of coffee, vodka and topped with coffee beans (though some places add a dusting of chocolate powder so ask to keep it off).

I'm a snob when it comes to margaritas; and only order them when I'm in a classy upmarket bar. You see, they're meant to be blended with ice but many cheaper bars skip this step. And then there's the taste of cheap tequila. I can drink cheap rum and I can drink cheap vodka but NEVER pass me cheap tequila - it could be the last thing you do. Saying that, margaritas will likely be vegan; even if you're drinking a cheap (and not properly made) one.

Tequila Sunrise
It's vegan but you won't catch me drinking one unless I'm in an upmarket bar because of the aforementioned point: how can people drink cheap tequila?

Piña colada
Just like the espresso martini, a piña colada looks like it would have dairy in it and just like the margarita it needs to be blended for it to taste just right. The ingredients are pineapple juice, white rum, and coconut cream - good to go!

Saving the best until last; this is probably my favourite cocktail. A mix of cranberry juice, lime juice, Cointreau and vodka - make yourself the fifth member of Carrie's girl gang. 

Try and avoid

White Russians
Probably obvious since they contain milk (in Glasgow you can get soya versions in 13th Note and Broadcast) but throwing it out there anyway. I haven't yet come across a coffee liqueur that isn't vegan-friendly, though some places offer White Russians with fancy adaptions so be careful if you're ordering a "Mint Choc Chip White Russian". 

Maverick Martini/Pornstar Martini
This is the one that comes with a little shot of prosecco (that you sip slowly as you drink the main cocktail, not shot it like I originally thought you did). Prosecco and wine is regularly not vegan because it's is filtered using animals, however the 'main' cocktail contains honey-infused Chambord. Unless you know they're using a different raspberry liqueur then this two-part cocktail is off the menu. 

Chambord Royale
A tall glass of prosecco with some Chambord layered at the bottom. Off limits to vegans for the same reason as above. 

French Martini
Similar to the Maverick Martini, unless you know brand other than Chambord that is being used as the raspberry liqueur then it's (very) unfortunately out. The other ingredients of vodka and pineapple juice are usually okay.

A mimosa is a cocktail built on Champagne, so just like it's wine-based cocktail friends above it is out of the vegan pub-crawl for a very similar reason.

Old Fashioned
The base ingredient of this manly cocktail is whiskey - an alcohol that will sometimes be filtered with animal ingredients. When drinking at home you can ensure you use a vegan whiskey, but out at a bar you can just never know what whiskey they chose when designing the menu.

Another whiskey-based cocktail, which makes it too risky a choice when trying to drink vegan. Manhattan's also contain red vermouth - another type of alcohol that can or can't be vegan.

Just like the Manhattan above, this cocktail contains vermouth. Sometimes vermouth is vegan, sometimes it's not. It's a risky one.

Bloody Mary
I've never had a Bloody Mary in my life; the whole concept just sounds...unpleasant. Even before I went vegetarian I never had any desire to try one and even if I did develop that said desire - I wouldn't be able to act on it (unless I made them at home). Bloody Mary's contain Worcestershire Sauce and it's a little known fact that this sauce isn't even vegetarian (let alone vegan). But psssst, there's a vegan Bloody Mary in the 13th Note if you are so inclined. 

P.S. I'm planning to write a lot of blog post based around my knowledge of bar work (and alcohol). So far I have a 'tips for your first bar job' and 'best places to get a cocktail in Glasgow' posts in the works. If there's anything you want me to cover, give me a shout. 

14 June 2016

Vegan eating at Paesano Pizza

The vegan pizza option at Paesano Pizza

If you've spoken to my friend Charlotte recently (or stopped by her blog, or any of her social media accounts) you'll have become accustomed to her raving about one of Glasgow's newest pizza places. Paesano Pizza in the Merchant City is a rustic Italian pizza joint with stylish decor, wood-fired ovens and, as Charlotte has promised, some of the most delicious pizza around. When myself, Charlotte and Hayley caught up in Glasgow a while back Charlotte naturally convinced us to try it out for ourselves. 

If you've been following my own blog (and social media accounts) for a while you'll know I'm always on the look-out for scrumptious vegan pizza (heck, it even says so in my Instagram bio!). Paesano Pizza by chance has their own vegan pizza offering so it didn't take much convincing from Charlotte to try the place out.

Hayley and Charlotte's pizzas

The vegan offering on their menu is topped with their signature tomato sugo sauce, garlic, oregano and evoo (it's basically olive oil, I had to look that one up). Admittedly, I did feel a bit disappointed that Paesano - even though they had something vegan on the menu - hadn't come up with something more interesting. When I ordered it the waitress reminded me that it didn't come with cheese - or anything else, really. And yes, when the order arrived it did look a bit under-privileged compared to Charlotte and Hayley's pizzas. 

HOWEVER, once my taste-buds became acquainted I totally forgot about my negative pre-conceptions. This pizza was BLOODY FUCKING DELICIOUS. Not even delicious for a plain pizza, just actual delicious. The base is a hybrid of yeast and sourdough and resulted in a stretchy thin base - I imagine this is what Italians eat. The tomato sauce was also as flavoursome as flavoursome gets - I'm not sure what they do to it in their kitchen but I want that recipe. I've since learnt (through the writing and research I do for work) that cheese-free pizzas are commonplace in Italy, so I was actually getting quite an authentic experience.

Sun-blushed tomatoes and artichokes side

As a side I ordered the artichokes and sun-blushed tomatoes. These were lovely though the tomatoes were a bit...chewy? The artichokes were spot on however and reminded me why they are one of my favourite vegetables. They also have a small but impressive beer menu with many brands that aren't commonly served in the UK. 

As for the rest of the restaurant, it was rustic, had benches, was dimly lit and perhaps a little hipster. It was stylish but the benches were a bit uncomfortable and the lighting )or lack of) meant I couldn't get a good photo (#bloggerproblems). The queue can also get long - which supports my review, really. So try and organise a visit during a slower time (our catch-up was right after I finished work but by the time we finished at 7pm the queue was at the door). It's located at 94 Miller Street just down from the Gallery of Modern Art and Royal Exchange Square.  

So yes it was a plain pizza, but because the base and the sauce were spot on I didn't mind at all and would recommenced it to the vegans of Glasgow. 

11 June 2016

Why I'm Voting To Stay In the EU

There's a large part of me that really can't be bothered with the EU referendum. For starters - and I really hope I'm not proven wrong here - I doubt the majority of UK voters are going to rock up on the 23rd of June and decide they've had enough of Brussels. And secondly, I just can't be even bothered trying to understand what the fucking problem is (other than OMG THE IMMIGRANTS, THEY STEAL OUR RESOURCES AND WEE JIMMY CAN'T GET A JOB BECAUSE THAT POLISH WOMAN STOLE IT). But alas no one quite predicted the Tory's win a year ago at the General Election, so let's play it safe and have a wee chat about the EU Referendum over some proverbial tea and biscuits.

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I want the UK to remain part of the EU. The title of the blog post was probably a dead giveaway but in case you didn't know I'm massive lefty weirdo. And lefty weirdos are generally voting to stay in and righty (do we even call conservative types righties?) weirdos are voting to leave. Well, generally. The Tories (and quite a bit of Labour) are on the right and they can't seem to agree on their stance. You see the EU has pushed through quite a bit of policy that improves the lives of a lot of people - and conservatives types don't like things such as workers' rights. I like equality. It's nice.

OBVIOUSLY, there's the not needing a passport to get into France thing. Anyone who has ever travelled outside of the EU knows what a bloody pain visas and immigration queues are (that queue on my 2002 Florida holiday was killer). The EU also makes it a darn bit cheaper and accessible to travel between countries 'cause you know visas but also free travel of goods and stuff and all that. I don't have a crystal ball but I'd reckon travel would get trickier (and more expensive) if we had to fill out a visa form every time we wanted a city break in Berlin.

BUT THE IMMIGRANTS. I actually can't believe it's 2016 and we're still at a place in society where we tell people where they can and can't live - especially when they're fleeing a warzone. Stealing jobs you say? I need someone to explain this to me: how exactly can you steal a job? I know how you can steal a piece of tasty cake from a bakery (which I've never done, obviously) or take a sweetie out the pick 'n' mix (which I have done, rebel). But steal a job? What do you do? Break into a company's office, switch the names up, change the bank details and wipe everyone's memories so no one knows you're not the real employee? If an immigrant gets offered the job and you don't, it's because they were a better fit and offered something you didn't (like, you know, not being casually racist). I know the frustrations of job hunting and shitty employers and not being called for an interview again-and-again, but take it out on the right people: government spending money on Trident rather than creating a first-class education system, cuts to the public sector, the cost of higher education and further education, the shitty economic situation we're in right now and that, even though it's 2016, people who are born rich will still more likely be rich as adults (due to private education, extra-curricular activities, more books to read in the house, better health as a child).

But if you want to talk policy here we go. The UK opted out of the Shengen Agreement and that means everyone has to show their passport at border control. I've been to Amsterdam twice this year, once by plane and another time by ferry and my passport was checked both times coming back into the country. I can assure you that passport checks are in place and people can't just hop on over (the big gap of water makes that a little difficult too). If you're pissed with border control, take it out on the UK Government as they're responsible for it.

And then there's the animal rights. Now I realise animals rights might not be the top of everyone's important-things-to-consider-when-deciding-to-leave-the-EU list BUT since this is a blog who's primary readership is vegans or vegetarians I thought it was important to remind everyone what everyone what the EU has done for animal rights. That animal testing for cosmetic ban that came in back in 2012? That was an EU law. Within EU borders you cannot use animal testing for cosmetic purposes. You can also not sell any products within EU borders that were tested on animals (though the company can sell products that were tested on animals elsewhere in the world - it's just the batch coming into the EU). And you know what else? The UK introduced a lot of these laws first - so they're not being 'forced' on us. If the UK wants to be a step ahead of the EU on animal rights, they can easily do so. But being in means we definitely get to keep that animal testing ban.

While this blog post has been more ranty than poetic, I'm going to get serious and be a bit of a self-congratulatory asshole. My degree was in International Management and I work in the travel industry (an industry already being hit). The European Union and globalisation were primary topics during my course and I wrote a mini-dissertation on Switzerland's relationship with the EU (Switzerland has got a pretty jazzy relationship with the EU but there's no guarantee the UK will negotiate the same deal, but you can actually read a draft of the essay I found in my Google docs).

There's a lot wrong with the EU, that I'll never deny and I've had Eurosceptic moments myself. It's bureaucratic and is in desperate need of reform. However, it has also brought us a lot of good in the form of animal welfare (aside from the live-stock export, that's one flaw I do want to change) and equal pay. I believe in open borders and I quite enjoy visa-free travelling. Just like the Scottish Referendum we don't know what the future of either result will hold - we can only take what we know and decide what sounds like it will offer the UK (and the wider world) a better deal in the long-run.

Therefore, I'm voting to stay in.

P.S. If you want a poetic reason to stay with figures and statistics, here is a viral FB post that de-bunks a lot of the myths of the Leave Campaign

28 May 2016

Top 5: Ideal Home Show 2016 stalls to visit

While saying this might make me sound 45 rather than 25, the Ideal Home Show is one of my favourite yearly events. I've made it along for the last two years and I have a brilliant relationship with their PR team so I'm always able to get a press pass and ahead along to a few blogger exclusive talks beforehand. I always love trying products in person that I've been eyeing up online, finding new design talent and picking out extravagant purchases for that big house with the big garden that I plan to own (one day). This event almost always runs over the bank holiday weekend so there's plenty of time to head along if you're not working. But for now, here are my top 5 picks from the stalls that are the current show happening at the SECC right now (with a wee look in my goody bag and what I decided to purchase). 

Most of the designers you'll find at the Ideal Home Show are established brands - or at least newer brands created by experienced talent. But you'll always find the odd graduate showcase among the crowd and this time that was Kelly MacKay who graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design last year. While I love some commercialised art as much as the next blogger, what made Kelly's designs stand out was how unique they were sitting next to a lot of the brands that were designing great stuff - but nothing you couldn't find in your local Primark home section. If you're homewear style is country cottage chic, check out her stuff for a lovely new addition to your scatter cushion collection.

While I was up in the press room I was flicking through the official showguide and came across what is called a pizza maker. If you know me, you know I love pizza so this was a moment where I was like a magpie looking in on a glitzy necklace. The actual stall had signs up stating that all their pizza bases contained milk so I wasn't able to taste test but the pizza bases were thin and Michelle who I was wondering around with confirmed that the slice she had was delicious. My family of kitchen gadgetry might be getting a new addition soon. 

If there's any rich suitors eyeing me up, let it be known that it's not fancy diamonds I want but a giant wood-fired oven in the backgarden. The cheapest model is priced at £1,200 so this is perhaps a bit of a pipe dream (as I'll also need a garden to put it in). But if I had triple the salary (and a garden, or a penthouse) I'd definitely be outside making pizza (all about the pizza). 

Something else to put on my very-far-into-the-future purchase list is something from the Pooch Pantry because, you know, I'll need a dog first (or I could eat one of their many dog treats myself, but that might get me some weird looks, and make me ill). On their stall you'll find beer for dogs and popcorn for dogs, as well as the standard doggie treats such as biscuits and sausages. Go on, spoil that pooch. 

Everytime I've been to the Ideal Home Show there's always been something vegan. The Punjabi sauces that I purchased at my first show two years ago  were there again and I noticed that the Daffy Gin stall had a sign up declaring their spirit collection is vegan suitable - however, my top vegan find of the event is Raven Chocolate. They're an Aberdeenshire maker of artisan chocolate that is dairy-free. As you might know I'm not much of a chocolate person and love savoury junk when I'm wanting to treat myself (which is why two of the recommendations in this blog post have been pizza related) so I personally didn't buy myself anything, however if you're a vegan chocolate lover you should definitely pop along and get yourself a bar. 

So what did you buy? 

So I didn't actually buy much the aforementioned products, mainly because I lack a dog, an opulent bank balance, a back garden and a sweet tooth. So I bought - hold onto your seats guys - cloudy apple juice and a rum infusion. The Cloudy Apple juice was from the Cloudy Apple stall who grow their own apples in Worcestershire and the rum infusion was from Island Slice. I also bought lunch from the The Jingle Bus: an Indian streetfood truck you can rent for events. 

Aside from what I bought I was also gifted a very generous goody bag from the press team. You can see a small hint of what was in it above, but my favourite items are the French's Crunchy Onions (which have been my snack while writing this blog post), the Darcy's diffuser and wax melt and Yushoi snapea rice sticks

As always I had a great time at the Ideal Home Show. If you're still to head along it will be open tomorrow and bank holiday Monday at the SECC. Have fun and let me know your top picks!