From Iceland — Dark & Glittering Sips: Gaukurinn’s Vegan Cocktail Menu Impresses

Dark & Glittering Sips: Gaukurinn’s Vegan Cocktail Menu Impresses

Published August 25, 2017

Dark & Glittering Sips: Gaukurinn’s Vegan Cocktail Menu Impresses
Hannah Jane Cohen
Photo by
Art Bicnick

While there are  many options for vegan munchies around the city, it’s a bit more complicated for animal lovers to get their fix of good ol’ alcohol. Thankfully local alt-haunt Gaukurinn is stepping up to the plate. Along with the opening of a vegan diner, Veganæs, they are completely vegan-ising the bar and to kick this off, there is a new, a glamourous vegan cocktail menu. We sampled a selection of their upcoming aperitifs inspired by, as they say, “Glitter & Darkness.”

Goth Moss

The Goth Moss is a twist on the famed Cosmopolitan that resembles, well, goth moss. Served in a martini glass with green sugar dipped around the rim (“moss”), the cocktail is completely matte black (“goth”)—a result of a dash of charcoal mixed in. It’s a striking look. You’ll feel like some villain in an iteration of ‘The Crow,’  and that’s fucking goth.

In terms of taste, the drink forgoes a ton of lime juice and cointreau in favor of more dry vermouth and grand marnier. This gives it a spikier and lighter taste and also a higher alcohol percentage. Though the drink looks like it should have a bold flavour, it doesn’t—more tangy—so if you want something heavy, this ain’t it. If a goth cosmo does sound appealing though, make sure to dress to depress. We recommend a vinyl catsuit.

Sunny Nights

Sólveig Johnsen is one of the owners of Gaukurinn, and this beachy drink is an homage to her sunny personality. It’s sort of an orangey Dark ’N’ Stormy with a dash of bitters, peach, and cinnamon flavour. In a creative turn, the bitters are poured on the drink after the ginger beer—before mixing—which gives it a cool ombre effect and also lets you taste their flavours stronger.  

“If a goth cosmo does sound appealing though, make sure to dress to depress. We recommend a vinyl catsuit.”

While the presentation itself is much less flashy than the Goth Moss, they make up for that by flaming an orange peel on top of the drink, which gives it a hint of a smoky orange flavour (and also looks cool). Of all of the drinks tasted though, this one will no doubt be the most dangerous. It tastes like juice with a ginger kick but has a deceptively large amount of alcohol in it. You could easily down three, or ten.

Starry Ice

Starry Ice can best be described as a really good margarita that doesn’t taste particularly booze-y. It does though have a crazy electric blue color and glittery sugar on the rim—back to the “Glitter & Darkness.” To push this to the next level, the bartenders plan on soon adding bright sugar shard garnishes, which will make the drink resemble Jökulsárlón to a T, hence the name Starry Ice! The drink is inspired by the other owner of Gaukurinn—Starri Hauksson. If you’re looking to get a little “Jem & The Holograms,” then drink up.

Sleepless Vod-kano

The Sleepless Vodkano is without a doubt the standout of the bunch. A vegan White Russian that swaps out cream for soy milk, the drink removes the unpleasant aspects of normal White Russians—the heaviness, the unpleasant aftertaste—and replaces them with nutty delights. It’s certainly less decadent, but much tastier. Seriously, if there’s any drink that could convert non-vegans, this is it. Not your thing? Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

Black Metal Brew

Gaukurinn is the black metal hub of Reykjavík, and this drink celebrates this legacy with a mix of Brennivín, Fernet-Branca and sugar syrup topped off with the darkest Viking stout available. This sounds, quite frankly, a little gross, but the flavours work together in a beautifully nuanced manner. The bitterness of the Fernet balances the licorice taste of Brennivín—it also takes away its strong rye aftertaste—resulting in a flavour best described as the darkest strongest beer you’ve ever had. It’s delicious—though probably best for beer lovers.

The Black Metal Brew is served in a traditional Viking beer glass, but we at the Grapevine propose Gaukurinn purchase new glasses with the Viking label as spiky and obscured as possible—you know, like black metal bands. To be fair though, while the goblets would certainly be trve/kvlt/or-whatever-the-kids-are-saying, they would probably be stolen in the first night. If you don’t trust our opinion, we were lucky enough to have Aðalsteinn from black metal titans’ Auðn in the building. “It’s quite good,” he said. Need we say more?

The menu premiers on September 6th.

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