Here's The Jist:

As a Drink Editor I receive a lot of requests for restaurant, bar and nightlife recommendations. So I started a blog to chronicle Chicago's social scene which eventually morphed into New York's drinking and dining scene. After years in Chicago, I'm now a full time resident of NYC, the East Village to be exact. Look forward to sharing the latest and greatest from the wine & spirits world, straight from the Big Apple.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Organic Spirits

Cheeky girls love a good party and, let’s be honest, we also love a great drink. At your next soiree, go gaga over green and substitute a regular vodka for organic and swap your splash of soda for an organic liqueur.

But, Stephanie, I don’t know what places in the city offer organic-inspired drinks and I’m clueless as to what brands are out there.

Well, silly, I’m here to help.

Square One Organic Vodka is my go-to organic vodka when I’m out on the town. What makes the vodka green?

Founder, Allison Evanow, started at square one (pun intended) to create the purest vodka that this palate has ever tasted. Pristine spring water from the Teton mountains and organically certified North Dakota-grown rye are used to create a spirit with such clarity that Square One doesn’t need multiple distillation. It emerges through a single pass in the distiller with its unique flavor profile intact. But the ingredients are only half the battle. The Square One bottle reflects the brand’s eco-conscious philosophy. Notice that the bottle isn’t frosted (ahem, like so many other brands that will remain nameless). That process calls for the use of serious chemicals and the Square One label is printed on paper made from bamboo, bagasse and cotton, all sustainably grown and renewable fiber sources. And once the bottle is empty, the label easily peels off so it can enjoy a second life as a vase or other container.

Insider Tip: Allison was in town recently and spilled the beans: They’re launching Square One Botanical, a unique organic spirit that is 45% abv and infused with eight organic botanicals - pear, rose, lavender, chamomile, lemon verbena, coriander, rosemary and citrus peel.

Now that you’ve got your base liquor, try incorporating a secondary flavor such as LOFT Organic Liqueur. The first U.S. liqueur to be USDA certified organic, LOFT is the brainchild of a 20-year vegetarian, Lisa Averbuch, who wanted a flavorful organic spirit to go with her favorite veggie meals. Her mission was to save people from the synthesized flavor and bright neon colors found in your typical ‘tini. Being organic means that LOFT is produced without chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, bioengineering or ionizing radiation. There are no additives, preservatives, artificial coloring or flavorings - which means that the orange tint you see in the LOFT tangerine bottle is derived from the natural fruit flavor. Their portfolio includes lavender, lemongrass, spicy ginger, tangerine, blueberry and raspberry.

Two of the LOFT liqueurs - the Lemongrass and the Spicy Ginger – won medals in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (the Olympics of the liquor world), so expect great things from the brand.

LOFT is only available in West Coast restaurants and venues for now, but you can learn more about the brand here and order your bottles online here.

Once your bottle arrives, try the Almost Purple Haze, a fantastic recipe that can easily be executed at home. Mix and shake 1½ ounces of LOFT Lavender, 2 ounces of Square One Vodka, ½ ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice, a dash of bitters and then garnish with an organic lime wheel.

Eager to explore what Chicago has to offer?

Organic Hot Spots:
· Sepia…go for the Salty Dog made with Square One
· Butterfly Social Club…THE organic place in Chicago
· Crust…some of the most diverse organic drink selections
· Drinks Over Dearborn…Kyle McHugh stocks great organic wines
· Crimson Lounge…VeeV , a sustainable acai spirit, has a strong presence

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