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How To Go Green With Your New Year's Eve Cocktails

How To Go Green With Your New Year's Eve Cocktails

As we are in the midst of planning the NYE festivities, we wanted to share some great tips on how to create more eco-friendly drinks and garnishes.

Check out the following ideas from @treehuggerdotcom:

Anybody can uncork some wine or crack open a beer, but serving a cocktail takes some thought and imagination. Choosing the perfect cocktail to serve is a great way to set the mood of the party.

Use organic liquors when you can

More and more organic spirits are coming on the market, but actually finding them in your local store is not always easy. Vodka seems to be the most commonly available of spirits, which is great for you because so many terrific cocktails have a vodka base. Producers of organic spirits often make smaller batches and some retailers are reluctant to carry a product that they cannot guarantee will always be in stock. Ask your local purveyor or spirits about stocking organic products. They won't know you want it if you don't tell them.

Think local

If you are lucky enough to have distillers in your state or even region, it may make more sense to buy their products. Some producers may not be "organic," per se, but some distillers are making ecologically sound efforts in their business practices. For example, Maker's Mark installed a waste treatment system which allows them to recycle their waste stream and creates renewable energy. 360 Vodka has a paper reduction policy in place, uses compact fluorescent light bulbs and green cleaning supplies and has a significant recycling program in effect. And, even if your local distiller doesn't actively engage in green practices, having it shipped across a state or two sure beats the entire country and whole globe, for that matter.

Think seasonal

Try to choose cocktails to fit in with your locale, and local, seasonal offerings. Take advantage of local fresh fruit juices and herbs in your summer drinks. Rather than make a traditional Screwdriver with orange juice, try a recipe that highlights a fruit that grows in your area such as grape or raspberry. In the winter time use fresh cranberries or mull some apple cider. If you are making a coffee-based drink, use organic dairy products and Fair Trade, organic coffee for those warming treats.

Use green garnishes

Try using a pickled green bean, pickled onions or even a hot pepper in your martini instead of an olive or lemon peel. Fresh fruit such as raspberries and blueberries in the summer and cranberries in the fall and winter look beautiful floating in a cocktail glass. If you want to sprinkle a little chocolate over top over your Irish Coffee, be sure make it Fair Trade and organic.

Make your own cocktail mixes

If you see a margarita mix in your grocery store, resist. There are lots of mixes and pre-mixed cocktails out there on the market, but that doesn't mean you have to buy them. Making your own cocktails from scratch ensures that you know that the freshest, healthiest ingredients have gone into them, without preservatives or chemicals. Using fresh juice leaves you with pulp and skin to compost. Using mixes leaves you with unnecessary packaging to dispose of. Not only that, if you are using organic alcohol, you have a premium product. Messing it up with overly sweet mixes just seems wrong, doesn't it?

Make your own spirits and liqueurs

If you're up for a bit of a kitchen adventure, or you just can't find it, make your own booze. I had a bit of a conundrum because I am a gin drinker and I could only get organic vodka. So I did the next best thing and made my own. The key, or course, to making gin is procuring the juniper berries. Then you can play around with the other ingredients until you have a recipe that appeals to you. Add the juniper berries to a bottle of vodka and let it sit overnight. In the morning add the rest of the ingredients. At the end of the day, strain the botanicals from the alcohol and voila! You have a bottle of really delicious gin. And the best part is, your guests will be astonished that you made it. These recipes for Irish cream and Kahlua-style coffee liqueur will help you stock your bar DIY-style.

Try making your own non-alcoholic drinks (or additional mixers)

Making exciting, tasty, non-alcoholic beverages is fun, and even making a carbonated replacement to sugary soda isn't as hard as you think. In addition to the selection of sparkling mixers (like soda or tonic) and fruit juices I recommend you have on hand for cocktails, why not try something like ginger ale? I have tried the gin recipe, but I haven't tried this recipe for ginger ale, so I can't personally vouch for it. My suggestion would be to give this recipe a trial run before you try it out on guests. And be fairly warned: if you aren't careful, it could make for exciting explosions in your kitchen, too.

Reuse or recycle empty liquor bottles

Square One Vodka comes in a beautiful bottle that can be reused as a vase, or filled with shells as a decoration, or used as the age old candlestick holder. Other bottles that don't do as well doubling as vases should definitely be recycled according to your local recycling guidelines. In general, try to buy glass rather than plastic; it can be recycled infinitely, while plastic has a more limited lifespan. Stay away from bottles that have been etched, as a handful of nasty chemicals are required for that process. Companies like 360 Vodka use recycled paper and vegetable inks for their labels.

Be a responsible guest

Cocktails are significantly higher in alcohol than wine or beer, so be careful how much you drink. When you have a martini you know you are having a h2 drink, but other cocktails often have lots of fun tasting ingredients that mask the strength of the alcohol. Intersperse glasses of tap water or fruit juice between alcoholic drinks and be sure to partake of any nibbles that your host is offering. Barfing isn't green, so, please, enjoy your favorite cocktails responsibly.

Be a responsible host

As mentioned above, cocktails are h2! Set a time limit for cocktails and then stop serving them. Always have non-alcoholic drinks available for those who are driving or biking, or who just want to slow down a bit. It is essential to offer food to guests who are drinking alcohol. Simple crudite and dips or chips and salsa are great at a cocktail party. If your party is going longer into the evening, more substantial fare may be appropriate.

 

20 Holiday Games Your Whole Family Will Love

20 Holiday Games Your Whole Family Will Love

It's holiday break time and the kids are home and family gathers. How do you keep everyone entertained and happy? We found a great collection from Good Housekeeping of family games to play that are easy and cheap to set up!

Check out a few of the games that we will definitely be playing this year:

#3: Snowman Drawing Contest

#8: Dunk The Bells....yes, this may look familiar

#11: Paint A Snow Picture...very clever

Check all the other ideas on how to stay busy and add lots of laughter this holiday season!

Holiday Party Dresses For The Minimalist, Mindful Shopper

Holiday Party Dresses For The Minimalist, Mindful Shopper

As the holidays approach and we all plan our friends and family gatherings, we wanted to share some beautiful eco-friendly and ethical party dresses from @mindbodygreen!

We love the minimalist and classic styling, and not to mention how amazingly these looks pair with scarves.

Here are a couple of our favorites:

1. 5-in-1 Short Infintiy Dress from bead & real

Pair this look with our black Embroidered Wrap for a chic overall look:

2. Taylor Turtle Neck Dress from Amour Vert

Complete this party look with one of our stunning and cozy Merino Wool Wraps

Here are some of the other dresses selected by Mind Body Green, and read the full article here.

Vetta

Vetta's capsule collections are my latest obsession. Each season, the brand features five new pieces that are locally made from sustainable fabrics and, when combined together, can make over 30 different outfits. These collections make it so easy to get ready in the mornings.

This bell sleeve dress is my favorite piece from this season's collection. Pair it with some black sheer tights and cute Mary Jane heels and you're good to go. VETTA Bell Sleeve Dress ($149)

Reformation

Reformation is my go-to for special event dresses. Their pieces are made right here in the United States from surplus, repurposed fabrics. Reformation's website also lists the water, carbon dioxide, and waste saved during production, compared to traditional practices. They also ship worldwide using recycled, biodegradable packing. This stunner has a super-sexy off-the-shoulder style but is still classy and appropriate for any workplace function. Reformation Rena Dress ($218) and Kelly Dress ($198)

Orgotton

With five different ways to style its playful straps, this Orgotton dress is multiple pieces in one. Made from a blend of bamboo and organic cotton, it is produced ethically in Philadelphia. Purchase it from Bead & Reel this month and 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to PETA, Mercy For Animals, Dressember, and Burrito Coalition. Orgotton 5-in-1 Short Infinity Dress ($240)

Indigenous Clothing

Although investing in quality, ethical pieces to add to your wardrobe likely means spending a little bit more on each piece, there are affordable options in the field, too. Case in point: this gorgeous, versatile, ethical dress made from 100 percent organic cotton. Indigenous Clothing is a brand that prides itself on supporting and empowering the talented artisans who produce its garments. Indigenous Clothing Luxe Wrap Dress ($89) and Cocktail Dress ($146)

LA Relaxed

This dress screams holiday party! I love its bright color and bow-tie detail in the back. Not only will you be the most festive one there, but you'll be the most sustainable, too, since this dress is made from a super-soft and eco-friendly Tencel and organic cotton blend, and it's produced ethically in LA. LA Relaxed Tesse Cold Shoulder Dress ($76)

Amour Vert

I'm convinced this is one of those styles that is flattering on everyone. Many different heights and body types all seem to be complemented by a beautiful midi dress like this one. The turtleneck still makes it wintry despite the lack of sleeves, and if you're not into wearing tights, this one is for you. Made from sustainable modal fabric. Amour Vert Taylor Turtleneck Dress ($138)

People Tree

This chic off-the-shoulder dress from People Tree is made from 95 percent organic cotton and produced by a group of artisans in India called Assisi. People Tree Harriet Dress ($119)