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Sarah Scrimshire

Earth Day 2024: Sustainable Distilleries, Organic Spirits, and 4 Eco-Friendly Cocktails You Can Quickly Mix Today!

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Earth Day is on Monday, April 22nd, 2024 so let’s celebrate with eco-friendly cocktails! It can be hard to live sustainably, but here are some ways to incorporate into your cocktail life!

eco-friendly cocktails

Eco-Friendly Cocktails

Remember in elementary school when Earth Day came around you’d learn about recycling plastics and paper, the importance of not littering, and the classic three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. Now, there are so many new ways to be earth conscious from consuming eco-friendly cocktails to choosing sustainable distilleries for your spirits.

What makes a cocktail eco-friendly?

Let’s dive into what makes a cocktail eco-friendly by focusing on three key aspects: using organic ingredients, incorporating biodegradable materials, and adopting waste-reducing techniques!

Using Organic Ingredients

Organic ingredients play an important role in crafting eco-friendly cocktails. These ingredients are grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, which reduces the amount of toxic chemicals entering our ecosystems. Organic ingredients range from the spirit to the mixers to the fresh herbs and spices. When these ingredients are used in cocktails, consumers avoid consuming synthetic residues, which is better for human health. Highlighting organic spirits, fruits, and herbs in your cocktails ensures that the environmental footprint is minimized.

Organic Spirits: Look for organic varieties of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey. These spirits are crafted from organically grown grains, fruits, or botanicals, ensuring a clean and pure base for your cocktails. We will dive more into eco-friendly cocktail spirits in the next station, so hang tight!

Organic Fruits: Incorporate seasonal organic fruits like berries, citrus, melons, and stone fruits into your cocktails. They add natural sweetness, acidity, and vibrant colors, enhancing both flavor and visual appeal. Check out this smash we made: Peach Bourbon Thyme Smash

Organic Herbs: Fragrant herbs like mint, basil, thyme, and rosemary are essential for adding complexity and aroma to eco-friendly cocktails. Growing your own organic herbs or sourcing them from local farmers ensures freshness and flavor. How about this tasty herb-focused cocktail: Smoked Thyme Old Fashioned

Organic Vegetables: Think beyond garnishes—vegetables like cucumber, bell peppers, and carrots can lend a unique twist to eco-friendly cocktails. Try muddled cucumber in a refreshing gin cocktail or a splash of carrot juice for vibrant color and earthy sweetness. Bell peppers in cocktails? We did that! Bell Pepper Margarita. We also made a cocktail with carrot juice!

Organic Bitters: Bitters are essential for balancing flavors in cocktails. Look for organic bitters made from natural botanicals and herbs, adding depth and complexity to your drink without artificial additives.

Incorporating Biodegradable Materials

Biodegradable materials are another important piece of eco-friendly cocktail creation. If you’ve ever been to the Florida Keys, you’d know that every straw is made of paper and their bars are very conscious of their proximity to the ocean. Here is a bar and restaurant in the Keys that utilizes fresh local ingredients to save on the carbon footprint imprint ingredients may cause as well as being eco-friendly when it comes to using all paper products and straws made from corn products.

Instead of using single-use plastics, which contribute to ocean pollution and landfill waste, opt for materials that can break down naturally. For example, bamboo, paper, or glass straws can replace plastic ones, and wooden stirrers can take the place of their plastic counterparts. Here are some interesting new types of straws and stirrers that I have never heard of that reduce the use of plastic and even bamboo:

The Veggie Straws & Cutlery are made out of, you guessed it, vegetable fibers. 
These straws are made out of sugarcane fiber!

Even the choice of napkins and coasters matters—using products made from recycled or easily compostable materials can significantly reduce environmental impact. Encouraging the use of reusable or recyclable glassware over disposable cups is another important factor to consider.

Techniques That Reduce Waste

Lastly, let’s go over some techniques that will help reduce waste!

Whole Ingredient Utilization: Encourage using whole ingredients to minimize waste. For instance, after juicing lemons or limes for a cocktail, the remaining peels can be used to create citrus twists, infused syrups, or dried and ground into powders for rimming glasses. I remember an episode of Chopped on Food Network that had an entire show where the ingredients were the leftover bits of food- no not table scraps but the rinds, the juices, etc. It is amazing what can be done with additional materials!

Batch Cocktails: Making cocktails in batches can reduce waste from excess ingredients or preparation leftovers!

Creative Leftovers: Innovate ways to reuse leftover materials from cocktail prep. For example, leftover mint from a mojito can be dried for teas or infused into syrups, and surplus fruit could be used for desserts!

Guide to Eco-Friendly Spirits

Supporting distilleries and brands that prioritize sustainability in their production methods is a great way to support eco-friendly practices in the spirits industry. Let’s take a look at some I found in the USA!

1. Square One Organic Spirits

  • Location: California, USA
  • Specialty: Organic Vodka
  • Sustainability Highlights: Square One focuses exclusively on organic spirits, using organic rye and water from pristine sources. They emphasize sustainable practices across every aspect of their production and business operations, including organic farming methods that avoid the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. They even make organic vodka sodas!

3. Prairie Organic Spirits

  • Location: Minnesota, USA
  • Specialty: Organic vodka and gin
  • Sustainability Highlights: Prairie Organic Spirits sources corn from organic farms where chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not used. The company emphasizes soil health and works closely with farmers to ensure sustainable farming practices. They also use a cooperative business model that supports local farming communities. Perfect for eco-friendly cocktails!

6. Greenbar Distillery

  • Location: California, USA
  • Specialty: Organic spirits across a wide range, gin, vodka, whiskey, liqueur, non-alcoholic, and MORE
  • Sustainability Highlights: Greenbar Distillery plants a tree for every bottle sold, significantly offsetting their carbon footprint. They use organic ingredients and lightweight bottles to reduce their environmental impact. Their entire portfolio is crafted with organic materials, and they operate in a facility that greatly minimizes energy use. They even have non-alcoholic options! This company really opens up the options for eco-friendly cocktails!
Label Reading Tips:

Navigating labels while shopping for spirits can help you make environmentally responsible choices. Here are key tips to help identify genuine organic products for eco-friendly cocktails:

  1. Organic Certifications: Look for seals like USDA Organic, EU Organic, or similar depending on your region, to confirm genuine organic status.
  2. Fair Trade Labels: Ensure fair sourcing with Fair Trade certifications like Fairtrade International or Fair Trade USA.
  3. Eco Claims Verification: Be skeptical of vague “natural” or “eco-friendly” labels without specific details. Check for claims about renewable energy use or carbon-neutral production.
  4. Brand Research: Visit the brand’s website for their sustainability commitments and production methods. Transparent companies often disclose detailed environmental practices.
  5. Local and Small-Batch: Choose local or small-batch producers to support lower carbon footprints and potentially more sustainable practices.
  6. Ingredients and Packaging: Prefer spirits with simple, clear ingredient lists and sustainable packaging materials like recycled or recyclable containers.

Eco-Friendly Cocktail Recipes

Here are some ideas for Earth Day-themed eco-friendly cocktails that use organic ingredients, minimize waste, and utilize sustainable practices. Each recipe not only tastes great but makes you feel good about helping the environment.

Celebrating Earth Day with special eco-friendly cocktails is a fantastic way to highlight sustainability and enjoyment simultaneously. Here are some ideas for eco-friendly cocktails that use organic ingredients, minimize waste, and utilize sustainable practices. Each recipe not only tastes great but also respects our planet.

1. The Green Garden


  • 2 oz organic vodka
  • 1 oz fresh organic cucumber juice
  • 0.5 oz organic elderflower liqueur
  • Splash of freshly squeezed organic lime juice
  • Club soda to top up
  • Thin cucumber slices and a sprig of mint for garnish


  1. In a shaker filled with ice, combine the vodka, cucumber juice, elderflower liqueur, and lime juice.
  2. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled glass.
  3. Top up with club soda.
  4. Garnish with cucumber slices and a fresh mint sprig.

This cocktail is refreshing and light, perfect for celebrating the freshness of Earth Day, with ingredients that emphasize sustainability and minimal environmental impact.

2. The Pollinator


  • 2 oz organic gin
  • 0.75 oz honey syrup (equal parts organic honey and water)
  • 0.75 oz freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
  • A dash of lavender bitters
  • Edible flowers for garnish


  1. Make the honey syrup by gently heating the honey and water until fully dissolved, then cool.
  2. In a shaker filled with ice, combine the gin, cooled honey syrup, lemon juice, and lavender bitters.
  3. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with edible flowers to celebrate the role of pollinators in our ecosystem.

The Pollinator is not only delicious but serves as a nod to the critical role bees and other pollinators play in our environment, highlighting the need to protect these essential creatures.

3. Zero-Waste Whiskey Sour


  • 2 oz organic whiskey
  • 1 oz lemon peel syrup (made from leftover peeled lemon skins)
  • 0.5 oz egg white (optional for froth)
  • Ice
  • A slice of dehydrated lemon for garnish


  1. To make lemon peel syrup, simmer leftover lemon peels with equal parts sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Strain and cool.
  2. In a shaker, combine the whiskey, lemon peel syrup, and egg white (if using).
  3. Dry shake (without ice) vigorously if using egg white.
  4. Add ice and shake again until well-chilled.
  5. Strain into an ice-filled glass and garnish with a slice of dehydrated lemon.

This drink makes use of the whole lemon by employing leftover peels for the syrup, demonstrating a practical approach to reducing kitchen waste.

Each of these eco-friendly cocktails brings something special to your Earth Day celebration, allowing you to enjoy the day responsibly while emphasizing the importance of sustainability and care for our environment.

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