Dietary Restrictions and St. Paddy’s Day

Vegan, non-alcoholic, and gluten-free options for your favourite Irish holiday

by Justine Jane Taft

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which for most people means toasting to their heritage with a pint of beer. But what about people who can’t indulge in the usual fare? Here are a few alternatives for three common diet limitations.


Celiacs can’t have gluten, which unfortunately is present in barley and other kinds of wheat that go into making most beers. While you may not be able to have the common beer, you can try alternatives like Carolans Irish Cream, which contains no wheat or gluten (unlike its competitor Bailey’s) and has 17 % alcohol. This is great to add to coffee or tea, or to drink mixed with milk poured over ice.

Vegetarian or Vegan

Sometimes in the filtering process, beer and wine can come in contact with gelatine, egg whites, sea shells and other things. These work well to remove impurities, but are not friendly to a vegetarian or vegan diet. The best thing you can do is check a company’s FAQ site, or email them to ask. It may take some time, but eventually you’ll have a list of great drinks that are animal-friendly. You can also check out They have a comprehensive list of what is or isn’t vegan- and vegetarian-friendly; two of their vegan-friendly listed beers include Nova Scotia’s Alexander Keith’s and Toronto’s own Steam Whistle.


Whether it’s an allergy, pregnancy, or you just don’t like to indulge in alcohol, there are plenty of other festive drinks you can have. Try adding green food coloring to lemonade, or make any of your favourite drinks alcohol-free.

For an Irish-specific drink, you can also try a non-alcoholic shillelagh cocktail. A shillelagh is an Irish walking stick that doubles as a club.


Ingredients: 1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp powdered sugar
4 oz of peach juice
2 raspberries
Directions: Pour lemon and peace juice into a shaker, add the powdered sugar and shake well. Strain into a glass over ice. Add raspberries to garnish.

Leave a Reply