Staying health-conscious—and even green—doesn’t mean you don’t have options when it comes to drinking. From the difference between organic and biodynamic wine, to açai alcohol and green gin, rum, and more, find out what you need to know about sipping sustainably. Plus, check out these organic cocktail recipes.
Whether you prefer red or white, how to make sure your wine is green:
Don’t be swayed by a label that says a wine is made with natural ingredients—it doesn’t mean your choice is organic. A wine can receive the USDA’s organic label if it falls under one of two classifications: 100 Percent Organic Wine (which means its made of 100% organic certified grapes, with no sulfites, nitrates, or other non-organic ingredients added), or Organic, Made with Organic Grapes (which means 95% of the wine has to come from organic grapes, with no added sulfites).
Sip SIP-Certified Wine:
Sustainability in Practice is a certification Program that provides a verifiable method to authenticate a vineyard’s attention to integrated farming practices—a commitment to environmental stewardship, equitable treatment of employees, and economic viability—that was developed by the Central Coast Vineyard Team, a non-profit dedicated to sustainable winegrowing since 1994. For a list of SIP-certified wines, go to sipthegoodlife.org.
Biodynamic farming views farms and vineyards as self-sustaining ecosystems, and in addition to being USDA-certified organic, biodynamic vineyards also can’t use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, and implement sustainable farming practices like energy- and water-saving techniques. For a list of biodynamic wines, check out vinography.com.
Aluminum screwtops require less materials and are recyclable—so consider screwtop over corked wine.
Think Inside the Box:
It may remind you of your college days, but boxed wine has come a long way, baby. Check out organic options like Yellow+Blue Wine (ybwines.com)—their motto, “Drink Well. Do Good.” is certainly easy to get behind, and Y+B—made with 100% organic hand-picked grapes and packaged in eco-friendly Tetra Pak packaging—is the only carbon-neutral wine importer in the U.S.
NEXT PAGE: Get in the spirit with these organic spirits, from açai alcohol to green vodka, whiskey, gin, and rum
What Makes Alcohol Organic?
To be USDA-certified as an organic alcohol, the spirit must be made of ingredients grown on certified organic farms and processed in a certified organic distillery with no pesticides or fertilizers on the grains and no nitrogen or other chemicals in the distilling process.
Add Organic Flavor:
Square One Vodka is USDA-certified organic made from organically grown American rye from North Dakota and distilled using water from the Teton Mountains, plus, it’s infused with a bold blend of 8 organic botanicals: pear, rose, chamomile, lemon verbena, lavender, rosemary, coriander and citrus peel. Find Square One at squareoneorganicspirits.com.
Discover Açai Alcohol:
Antioxidant rich, VeeV is the world’s first açai spirit, made from wildly harvested Brazilian açai berries and organic winter wheat grain. VeeV also donates $1 for every bottle sold to Sambazon’s Sustainable Açai Project. And though it’s not USDA-certified organic, VeeV is certified carbon neutral by Climate Clean LLC, making them the first U.S. alcohol company to completely offset the carbon footprint of their business activities. Find VeeV at veevlife.com.
Order a Round of Rum:
Papagayo Rum is the world’s first organic rum, and is produced by more than 800 families receiving fair wages, education and support from the Fair Trade Association. And with a long list of accolades, like medals in both the 2007 and 2006 International Wine & Spirits Competition, you can be sure that Papagayo does good and tastes good.
Recycle the Bottle:
Not only is Vodka 14 (vodka14.com) USDA-certified organic—it’s made from Rocky Mountain spring water and organic grain—but the bottle is entirely recyclable, too. The bottle’s design is baked on, not make from plastic, and in addition to a recyclable cork, even Vodka 14’s safety seal is made from PETG, an environmentally sound and recyclable plastic.
Make Your Dirty Martini a Little Cleaner:
Add your two olives to Juniper Green Gin (junipergreen.org), the world’s first organic dry gin. Produced at a London distillery using organic grains and organic botanicals, Juniper Green Gin is USDA-certified organic in America, and certified organic by the British Soil Association in the UK. Another option, Bluecoat gin (bluecoatgin.com) uses organic juniper berries, with no additives and all natural, organic botanicals.
MORE: Shake it up with these organic cocktail recipes.