The Basics Tips & Tricks

Green Day

Earth Day is no longer enough. It was a novel idea when it started 40 years ago, but we now know that environmental consciousness is a 365-day-a-year responsibility that we all must undertake. So when people ask me why green cocktails matter, I say that when it comes to saving the environment, everyone needs to start by changing what they know best—and I happen to know bars and drinks. These small changes add up fast. Here are some tips on how to give your home bar an eco-makeover.

Know Your Green Spirits:

I classify spirits into three categories: organic, green and sustainable. Organic spirits are certified with a USDA seal. (Without the seal it’s not organic.) Green spirits are made with some organic ingredients. Sustainable means the brand tries to produce the alcohol responsibly while protecting the environment.

Shop Locally and Seasonally:

Local, seasonal produce contributes big flavors to your cocktails. It also has a smaller carbon-footprint than importing goods from across the globe, helps the local economy and demands more ecological accountability from producers. Try my organic Ruby Patch, which can be made all spring with ripe strawberries.

Change Your Light Bulbs:

There is a wide variety of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) out there, including dimmable and coloful versions—perfect for setting the mood in your home bar. They are more expensive but last about ten times longer than a regular bulb and reduce energy costs.

Support Green Businesses:

When you support businesses that promote sustainable practices and production, you in turn help improve working conditions, protect the land, reduce waste and conserve energy—everything that is important for comprehensive environmental change.

Use Less Water:

Leaks in your home’s pipes could be costing you money and wasting a precious resource. When we run out of water, we can’t make ice for our cocktails. That’s a scary thought.

Be an Energy Star:

Use Energy Star approved appliances to reduce the amount of power you use. And keep your refrigerator’s vents and coils clean: When it can’t breathe, it uses too much energy and has trouble staying cold. No one likes lukewarm beer and mushy ice.

H. Joseph Ehrmann is the proprietor of Elixir in San Francisco and the Brand Ambassador and Mixologist for Square One Organic Spirits . He is also a advisor.