Greening your Drinks

Photo: Terry Brock / CC BY-NC 2.0

Being eco-friendly can sometimes seem like a full-time job. After worrying about what products to buy, you might just want to relax with a calming drink. But don’t forget—some libations are more eco-friendly than others. Distilleries, wineries and breweries have all been making an effort to go green, but some have been more successful than others.

Rum and tequila distilleries, for example, both create drinks using processes that result in a large amount of excess waste—Bacardi was sued in 2001 for illegally dumping 3,000 gallons of its fibrous refuse into a river near its Puerto Rico plant. In contrast, Dave’s Brew Farm uses wind energy in order to make beer.

In order to make happy hour live up to its name, we’ve researched some of the most sustainable (and tasty) cocktail recipes for you to try for these long, hot summer days.

Whiskey Smash

Photo: Krista / CC BY 2.0

This drink is made with bourbon and organic ingredients—a refreshing drink on a hot day. Use Maker’s Mark for an eco-friendly option; the distillery buys local grain for its distilling process and turns its waste into energy. In addition, the company only uses about 200 acres of its 620 acres of land; the rest operates as a nature preserve.

2 pieces of lemon
2-3 mint leaves
¾ oz simple syrup (or agave nectar)
1 ½ oz Maker’s Mark
1 oz water

Muddle the lemon, mint, water and simple syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add bourbon, shake, and strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint, and serve.

This recipe originally ran on Drinks Mixer.


Photo: waferboard / CC BY 2.0

A fruity and fun drink to serve at parties, sangria is a great alternative to mojitos. The trick for creating this drink is to use fruits that are in season and to choose a red wine that’s sustainably produced. Also be sure to choose a wine that’s made near your neck of the woods to reduce your carbon footprint. States along the east coast and south should choose wines from Europe, while those in the west should choose California wines. Try French Rabbit, Frey Vinyards, Frog’s Leap, or Alma Rose for wines that are eco-friendly.

The full recipe can be found at here.

Try substituting different fruit depending what is in season—use blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or apricots as alternatives to citrus fruits in summer.

Blackberry Swizzle

Photo courtesy of Square One Organic Spirits

This yummy drink is a fruity and refreshing cocktail to enjoy when blackberries are in season. Use Square One’s basil vodka when preparing this drink. The company makes organic vodka and uses one-quarter of its energy from a local wind farm.

1.5 oz Square One Basil Vodka
4 blackberries
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup (or agave nectar)
Ginger beer
Blackberry or basil leaf for garnish

Muddle blackberries in a mixing cup. Add remaining ingredients (except ginger beer) and shake with ice. Double strain into a glass filled with ice, then top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with either a blackberry or basil leaf. Enjoy!

This recipe originally ran on Square One Organic Vodka's site.

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