Spirits of Choice

Spirits of Choice

Why Buy Organic Alcohol? Buy organic alcohol for the same reasons you’d buy organic food: to avoid artificial additives, and to help promote sustainable farming practices and environmentally friendly packaging. And because it tastes amazing, helps prevent hangovers, and if you’re going to mix healthy nutritious ingredients, your alcohol and mixers should be a pure and quality product as well. Organic List of Spirits Below are my picks for spirits, including wine, sake and mixers for your home bar, with special attention given to small-batch, organic, and artisan producers that maintain sustainable practices and are impeccable with their ingredients; because no drink can ever rise above the quality of its ingredients. Note: Please find many more great quality products listed in the resources section at the back of the book. 1. Square One Vodka Square One helped pioneer organic hard-alcohol production when it released vodka made with certified organic American-grown rye in 2006. The company now has a few flavored varieties with a great one with infused organic cucumbers. 2. Rain Organics Vodka It’s made from 100 percent organic white corn sourced from a single farm in Illinois and distilled in Kentucky earning a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition this year. 3. Prairie Organic Vodka Another stellar organic vodka, Prairie is made in Minnesota, and stands out because the farmers who grow the corn for it also own the distillery, converting the leftover corncobs and other biomass into biogas to power the stills. 4. Copas Blanco Tequila This is a 100 percent agave tequila. The company also makes añejo, reposado, and special-release tequilas—including an...
Spirited History

Spirited History

Drinking to good health might sound like an oxymoron, but a closer look at the history of spirits shows that healing ailments has always been at the root of cocktail culture. In fact, cocktails were originally created in early pharmacies and apothecaries all the way up until the beginning of the twentieth century. Prepared Tinctures The earliest known pharmacist-prepared tinctures, bitters, elixirs and tonics where made with herbs, flowers, fruits and yes, even vegetables laced in alcohol, which preserved their healing properties. These potions where custom made using botanicals grown right in the apothecaries to ensure freshness and potency, then shaken or stirred and given to the patient as a prescriptive. A Restorative Cocktail  These restorative cocktails served people well, curing ailments ranging from an upset stomach to scurvy. In fact, what is simply known to modern cocktail lovers, as a gin and tonic, was first introduced by the British East India Company to prevent malaria amongst its soldiers in India. Cocktail’s Curative Qualities It wasn’t until 1906, that the government got involved and began to move alcohol-based cocktails out of pharmacies and into the cocktail bar, where their curative qualities became an...
Infused Spirits

Infused Spirits

Infusing spirits with flavor is a great way to experiment with your own personal tastes. The basic concept is to marry a variety of choice flavors into a base liquor to create a custom-flavored spirit. You can give your spirit a subtle hint of spice or deep, aromatic notes of flavor simply by choosing how long you let your infusion sit. Follow these guidelines for best results: Strong flavors, such as hot peppers, vanilla pods, and lavender buds, only need from a few hours to a day. Fresh herbs, ginger, and citrus peels need 1 to 3 days, tops. Most fruits and berries need 3 to 6 days. Vegetables and hardy fruits, such as apples and pears, need 5 to 7 days. Here is a recipe to get you started. Goji Berry Infused Vodka 1 cup vodka 1/2 cup dried goji berries Combine the vodka and goji berries in a sealable glass jar and store in a dark, cool place for 1 week. Shake periodically to distribute the flavors. Remove the goji berries. Strain and store. (You can use the vodka soaked gojis in your Superfruit Sangria)...
How Sweet It Is

How Sweet It Is

Sweetness is a key component to any good drink, helping balance acid, bitterness and even alcohol. Swap your regular simple syrup and processed sugars for these natural ones for a healthy dose of sweet nutrients. Here’s my recommended list of natural sweeteners to keep your drinks naturally sweet. Coco for Coconut Made of 100% pure coconut tree sap, raw coconut nectar is an amber colored, low-glycemic sweetener contains 17 amino acids and several minerals. Raw Coconut Nectar is 90% fructose, but it contains far more minerals and nutrients than any agave syrup. Mighty Molasses Blackstrap Molasses contains less sugar than white sugar, brown sugar, regular molasses, or dark molasses, yet far more minerals electrolytes. So, when you add a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to your cocktail, you’re getting more calcium than a cup of raw spinach, and twice the potassium of a banana and almost 100mg of magnesium. Featuring a robust bittersweet flavor, blackstrap molasses is a fantastic sweetener that will add complexity and subtle sweetness to cocktails while also adding a dose of healthy nutrients to your libation. Tapping into Maple Syrup Researchers refer to maple syrup as an “anti-oxidant cocktail of beneficial compounds” that contains some of the beneficial compounds of berries, teas, and flax seeds. Make sure to buy 100% Maple Syrup. The Best Date Date Sugar is 100% dehydrated dates ground into small pieces. It is a whole food, high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The Buzz on Honey According to Ayurvedic medicine, honey is revered as one of the five elixirs of immortality. Although, not a vegan option, honey has so many healing and...
Flavored Syrups

Flavored Syrups

Cocktails made with infused spirits or syrups add a complexity and depth that you can taste: an extra hint of cinnamon, a floral undertone, a prick of heat, a fresh hint of mint. Best of all, these infusions are simple to create. They just take a little time and some forethought. Here’s one to try: Lilac Syrup Recipe 1 cup water 1 cup coconut sugar 2 cups culinary-grade lilac blossoms Handful of blueberries or blackberries 1 tablespoon orange flower water 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice Combine the water and coconut sugar and in a medium-size saucepan and stir over low heat until it boils. Add the lilac blossoms and berries and bring back to a boil. Add the orange flower water and lemon juice. Strain the liquid into a wide-mouth container while hot and funnel into a sealable bottle. Cover, and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Use in the Boozy Blueberry Lilac...