July 07, 2008
Call it hedonistic environmentalism. Or maybe just eco-conscious imbibing.
Either way, those who want their dirty martini to be a little cleaner are increasingly pouring organic spirits into their glass.
"I was shopping at the farmers market, using fresh produce in my cocktails and really loving that high-end cocktail experience," said Allison Evanow, who in 2005 created one of the nation's first entirely organic spirits, Square One vodka. "But that whole organic kitchen philosophy hadn't really ever gotten to the bar. Once I had the idea in my head and did a little bit of research, I finally said, `This looks like it's an unmet need.'"[...]
To be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an organic alcohol, the spirit must be made of ingredients grown on certified organic farms and processed in a certified organic distillery. That means no pesticides and fertilizers on the grains and no nitrogen or other chemicals in the distilling process.
Organic distilleries even have strict rules about what types of pest control they can use to keep rodents or bugs out of grain warehouses.
"We try to tread lightly on the earth, if you will," Evanow said. "I'm not super-uber green, but I try to do what I can. Being organic means that we're being nicer to the earth. And to be certified, you can't fake it by putting citric acid or glycerine in that bottle to mask that off flavor. There's a lot of quality involved in being organic."
Actually, I don't really feature the Val-U-Rite swilling crowd paying extra to get eco-booze, seeing as how it probably doesn't get you any more wasted than the discount stuff. But hey, if helping Gaia is as important to you as getting your swerve on, it's out there.
Next in the series: The benefits of hiding your hobo corpses in the compost heap.
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