December drinks can be great fun - everyone seems to have a sparkle in their eye, a new outfit on and that optimism that only an impending holiday can bring, and if you get very lucky, you might even get an open bar or some free drinks at one of your obligatory events.
But they can also be a trap for the unwary vegan: read on, just to make sure your drinks choice doesn't come with a hint of meat or egg!
"There's swine in my wine!"
At the end of the winemaking process, during the 'fining stage' (where the wine is stabilised so that it doesn't absorb any wanted aromas or tastes when bottled, and clarified so it doesn't become cloudy) animal-derived products are sometimes used. The most common additives are isinglass (fish bladders), albumen (egg whites) and gelatine!
And, if you can, buy from the many vegan vineyards online. Or, if you are just about to head out to a BYOB affair and haven't got the time, hit up the Co-Op, Marks & Spencer or Sainsbury's as they do a great job of clearly labelling their APF options.
Guinness is a NO-GO as isinglass is used in the fining process.
For a lovely milky white russian go for a sweetened and flavoured soya milk (we love Vanilla) and add a few capfuls of vodka, with some Kahlua to give it a bit of colour. People will be jealous.
And, unfortunately, for that hangover, don't even think about the mandatory Bloody Mary - Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce has anchovies in it!