If you haven’t tasted the difference between a fresh cocktail and one that comes off a post-mix line, try it out and you’ll never go back. It’s like the difference between handmade pasta with fresh tomato sauce versus readymade canned pasta.
Under organic production, the use of conventional non-organic pesticide (including insecticides, fungicides and herbicides) is precluded. However, contrary to popular belief, certain sprays and other materials that meet organic standards are allowed in the production of organic food.
This means supporting business in your geographic region, and making such decisions as not importing bottled water from the other side of the world when a large supply of clean and fresh water is at your fingertips. Developing relationships with the folks at your local farmers’ market can inspire on both culinary and beverage fronts.
Use peaches on your menu when peaches are in season locally, not when peaches are in season in Argentina. Shorten the bridge between the kitchen and the bar – when your kitchen is making peach cobbler, your bar chefs should be making peach Daiquiris or peach Mojitos.
Taking the sustainable route is not the easiest, but it is becoming increasingly accessible. Businesses that make the commitment can expect to be rewarded with a loyal clientele; a few pioneers of the green bar philosophy can attest. San Francisco’s Elixir was one of the first green bars to open, and proprietor H. Joseph Ehrmann makes fresh fruit cocktails with organic and/or environmentally responsible products. Taking it to the next level is Green and Tonic, a volunteer group that consults with bar owners to help them find solutions to reducing their waste, energy and water consumption.
Though organic wines and beers have multiplied over the past few years, the number of organic spirits is increasing at a slower rate. The main reason most spirit producers haven’t marketed organic products is because there is a negligible difference between alcohol distilled from organic grains or fruits versus conventional crops. Yet there are now organic spirits available in almost every category.
Fresh, local, seasonal and sustainable should no longer be looked at as options, but rather as business decisions.
Vodka – Square One Organic Vodka uses organic rye and sports a square-shaped bottle (which means a lower CO2 profile).
Gin – Juniper Green Organic Gin is made up of organic juniper, coriander, angelica and savory – botanicals carefully chosen to be enhanced by the smooth organic spirit distilled from organic grain.
Rum – Papagayo Organic Rum has organic sugarcane that is crushed, with the syrup extracted for fermentation. The fermentation lasts 36 hours until the syrup has reached the ideal level of purity. The pure fermented syrup is then distilled in traditional stills into rum.
Whiskey – Highland Harvest Organic Scotch Whiskey is aged in oak barrels for four years and blended in Scotland from three organic grain malts.
Tequila – 4Copas Organic Tequila, and specifically 4Copas Blanco, is about as close to the agave as you can get. The blue agave is estate grown, organically certified and tested for peak sugar content individually before harvest.
About the author:
Master mixologist Gavin MacMillan owns BartenderOne Corp., Canada’s leading group of bartender training schools. An award-winning bartender, bestselling author and blogger, he is considered one of Canada’s leading authorities on cocktails and mixology.