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Bush bar Pine Box Rock Shop serves vegan cocktails

Vegan cocktails exist!

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Party like an animal — but don’t eat one.

Meat-eaters rarely think of the animal products in alcoholic beverages, but booze can contain dairy, fish, insects, and even bone — putting vegan drinkers in a tight spot.

Thankfully for them, the Pine Box Rock Shop helps vegans get lit without compromising their lifestyle.

“It’s an ethical choice on our part. I like the idea that vegan food is normal food,” said Heather Rush, who co-owns the Grattan Street bar with her husband, Jeff.

The duo keeps animal products off the menu and out of their drinks, avoiding all alcoholic beverages that contain a “binder,” such as bone meal or egg whites, often used to keep sediment at the bottom of bottles. They also write off any drinks made with carmine, a beetle extract used to color cheap schnapps and sloe gin.

And when Rush can’t find vegan versions of a spirit, she makes her own.

The bar carries a number of fancy drinks in its own vegan variations.

The bartenders make their own Bailey’s-type cream out of vanilla vodka, Kahlua, Frangelico, and vanilla soy milk, which make up the “Sam in a Sweater,” a mix of the vegan cream with root beer, Cointreau, vodka and brandy cherries. And since most Worcestershire sauces — used in Bloody Marys — include anchovies, they use their own version that instead has a vegetable protein.

Vegan customers say they appreciate the adjustments.

“It’s refreshing to be able to go to a bar and order anything from a stout to a pina colada and not have to worry about the ingredients,” said Erin McSorley. “And everything’s really good too. ‘Sam in a Sweater’ is my favorite.”

Many of the bar’s omnivorous patrons don’t realize that the bar is vegan, and come instead for the atmosphere, good beer, and karaoke and trivia nights — and, of course, the naked lady pictures in the bathrooms.

“I didn’t know that it was a vegan bar, but I guess that’s good,” said Jon Lehman, who lives in Greenpoint. “People need to have options. I just come here because I like the bar.”

The taproom also offers vegan empanadas and occasionally invites vegan food trucks to park on the street in front.

Rush, who is a vegan herself, said she decided to make the pub animal-product-free to offer an option to vegans around the city.

“I don’t want to be one of these people who put their politics out there as a business owner,” said Rush, whose bar contains only one video game, a big-game shoot-’em-up. “But it’s so easy, I figured, why not?”

Pine Box Rock Shop [12 Grattan St., between Morgan Avenue and Bogart Street in Bushwick, (718) 366–6311, www.pineboxrockshop.com].

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Reader Feedback

Or from Yellow Hook says:
But are they free range, fair market?
Dec. 20, 2012, 5:41 am
Mickey Shea from Greenpoint says:
Could I have a cruelty free glass of water please...
Dec. 20, 2012, 10:08 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
But I'm a 7th level vegan... I can't eat anything that casts a shadow.
Dec. 20, 2012, 12:06 pm
Sean from Bushwick says:
Could we get some more information around what alcoholic beverages contain this “binder” mentioned made of bone meal or egg whites?
Dec. 20, 2012, 2:03 pm
scott from park slope says:
a vegan bar whose one arcade game is a big game shoot'em up. yeah. think they punked you, Brooklyn paper.
Dec. 20, 2012, 9:14 pm
Ann from Williamsburg says:
Hey Sean -- Check out barnivore. It's a website that lists all of the animal products found in alcoholic beverages.
Dec. 21, 2012, 11:18 am
Johnny Hammersticks. from Brooklyn says:
Vegans are losers. Why is this news?
Dec. 21, 2012, 5:29 pm
Scarlett from park slope says:
Vegans are losers? Thats funny... they are the only ones who care about the environment you live in as well as the billions of animals tortured and slaughtered every year so yeah.. they're clearly losers. Looks like you're the loser, buddy.
April 7, 2013, 4:54 pm

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