Whether you’re celebrating the sunshine or trying to keep cool, we’re here to help with a list of favorite summer drink recipes, each with an eco-conscious twist.
Truth be told, it can be pretty tough to concoct an environmentally friendly cocktail using locally grown and organic ingredients. But that won’t stop us from trying. Assuming you don’t distill your own hooch (which would make you the ultimate greenie), we tracked down companies and brands that make organic and fair trade alcoholic beverages.
When it comes to buying local, wine is the most widely available spirit. And for organic fruit and other ingredients, consider what naturally grows near you–berries and melons in temperate latitudes and citrus in tropical and subtropical climes. Adapt recipes to what’s seasonal and local, and drink in the summer sun.
White Wine Sangria
A refreshing blend of sustainable wine and seasonal fruits.
1 bottle of white wine (Sauvignon Blanc from California’s Frog’s Leap Winery; Riesling from Washington’s Badger Mountain; Chardonnay from Oregon’s Willamette Valley Vineyards)
2 shots rum (Matraga or Utkins)
1 peach, cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 nectarine, cut into wedges
1/2 cup lemonade (for pre-made organic, Purity’s or Calories in 365)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup ginger ale or soda water
Combine wine, rum, fruit, and lemonade in a large pitcher. Chill overnight and right before serving, add ice and ginger ale or soda water. Serve in wine glasses.
About as simple and refreshing as you can get.
Vodka (Purus, Square One, Vodka 14, 360, TRU)
At one end of the melon, cut a notch large enough to insert the cooking funnel. Pour vodka into the funnel until the melon can’t absorb any more. Repeat over the next day or two, while refrigerating the melon. (If you’re in a hurry, perforate the outside of the melon a few times with a small knife, pushing it to the handle, to help it absorb the vodka faster.) Slice into pieces and enjoy.
Pisco, a Peruvian grape brandy that derives its name from the word “pisqu” (Quechua for “little bird”), is grown in Chile as well, but Peruvians swear theirs is the real deal.
1/4 cup pisco (La Caravedo)
1 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. fresh pasteurized egg whites
Whirl three ice cubes, pisco, sugar, fresh lime juice, and egg whites in a blender until smooth. Serve straight up in a martini glass with a dash of aromatic bitters and a wedge of lime.
Joie de VeeV
Acai is the new pomegranate. This little blue berry from Brazil is packed with antioxidants and has made its way into sorbets, teas, energy drinks, and now a liquor called VeeV. A little sweeter than vodka, the 60-proof liquor is infused with ašai (pronounced ah-SIGH-ee) berries that grow on the top of palm trees. The company donates $1 from every bottle sold to Sambazon’s Sustainable Acai project, which helps protect and replenish Brazilian Amazon Rainforest.
2 oz VeeV
3 mint sprigs
2 lime wedges
Muddle the slices of lime, strawberries, and mint sprigs in a mixing glass. Add VeeV and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake. Pour into a glass and top with ginger ale.
Put a seasonal spin on a traditional Mexican cocktail.
5-8 mint leaves
3 strawberries, halved
2 tsp. sugar
3 oz. lime juice
3 oz white rum (Matraga or Utkins)
Sprite or club soda
Muddle mint, strawberries, and sugar in a shaker until very finely mashed. Add ice, rum, and lime juice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and then pour mixture into 8 oz. glass. Top off with splash of Sprite or club soda.
Plenty is an environmental media company dedicated to exploring and giving voice to the green revolution that will define the 21st Century. Click here to subscribe to Plenty.