The turkey you’re preparing Christmas Eve is free-range, the potatoes you’re roasting came from a local farm and the fruit in your fruitcake was grown without pesticides and picked up at your local farmer’s market. But what about your holiday cocktails?
The truth is, very few spirits will expose you to toxic chemicals, as most of the bad stuff is removed during fermentation and distillation. So unfortunately, imbibing in organic cocktails won’t help you get home at night or leave you feeling much better in the morning.
That said, vodka distilled from organic grains and brandy that comes from organic grapes do have a positive effect on the environment. In the production of these spirits, fewer pesticides are sprayed, resulting in less contamination of soil and groundwater – which is a big plus for the planet and your own carbon footprint.
As for wines, even if the grapes used are organic, the wine itself isn’t considered an organic product if sulfites are added and exceed certain levels. A vineyard cannot label its wines 100 percent organic until it’s completed three growing seasons without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers. So when you get a bottle of vino that’s labeled “organic,” you know those are some seriously clean grapes!
We’ve found a few recipes that use organic spirits and wines to prepare classic Christmas cocktails. We promise you won’t notice a difference in taste, but you’ll make a big difference by helping the environment.
Hot Buttered Rum
Make this traditional Christmas drink, perfect for the chillier temperatures, using Papagayo rum, crafted from sugar cane that’s free of pesticides and sewage sludge fertilizers.
For this special cocktail, you’ll need one stick of softened unsalted butter, two cups of light brown sugar, one teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a half teaspoon of grated nutmeg, a pinch of ground cloves, a pinch of salt, a bottle of Papagayo or other organic rum and boiling water.
In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about two tablespoons of the butter mixture into 12 small mugs. Pour about three ounces of rum into each mug (filling about halfway). Top with boiling water (to fill the mug), stir well and serve immediately.
You can use any organic red wine to make this warm, spicy punch. Here are some recommendations for tasty, all-natural cabernets, merlots and pinots to use as your main ingredient, however, any organic red will do.
You’ll need a bottle of red wine, one orange, sliced, a quarter cup honey or sugar, eight whole cloves, two cinnamon sticks and two star anise. Mix all the ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for at least 15 minutes. Strain, and serve warm.