Category Archives: Eco-Friendly Party

Easy Steps to Creating an Eco-Friendly Holiday Bar

 

cocktailEggnog, mulled wine, pomegranate punch…when planning your festive drink menu this holiday season, there are some quick and easy steps you can take to creating an eco-friendly bar.

Here’s a list to help you get you started:

Green Spirits: Many liquor companies are making efforts to add environmentally friendly practices to their production, from their choice of ingredients to using recycled materials and sustainable energy in their facilities. (Here’s a short list however there are many more choices!)

  • Bluecoat American Gin– no additives and uses all-natural, organic botanicals.
  • VeeV — made from Brazilian Rainforest Acai berries and other 100% natural ingredients. Made in LA at a distillery run with 100% renewable energy. This is a delicious mixer.
  • Blue Ice Organic American Wheat Vodka — handcrafted with USDA certified organic wheat & wheat neutral spirits.
  • Whistle Pig Straight Rye Whiskey– comes from Whistle Pig Farm in Vermont, a certified organic facility.
  • Organic Nation Vodka — distilled from organic rye, wheat, and corn, and it’s certified by an organization in Oregon that is dedicated to biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture.
  • 360 Vodka – green and sustainable vodka known for its innovative recycling program.
  • A few other certified organic vodkas include Orange V, Prairie, Tru Organic Vodka & Gin, and Charbay.

Check out this video on how to make a martini with organic vodka and organic apples:

Locally Brewed Beer & Organic Wine: Choose wines that are sustainable and organic. Serve locally brewed beers, plus there are also many organic and vegan choices available at craft beer stores. Wine in boxes and beer in kegs also reduce the amount of bottles to be recycled after an event.

Recycling: Create recycling bins for glass and plastic. If the bottles are just too nice to recycle, you can always reuse them for homemade mixers and simple syrups, or infusions. 360 Vodka bottles, for example, are designed with swing-top caps so that the bottles can be reused for other purposes like olive oil, vinegars, or water. And if you are recycling the bottles instead of reusing, the caps can be mailed back through their innovative Close the Loop program.

Festive Eco-Friendly Barware and Accessories: Instead of using things just once and throwing them away, choose accessories that are washable and reusable. If using disposables, choose ones that are compostable, made from bamboo, palm leaf, or  sugarcane.210BBTWIST9-bamboo-twisted-unique-skewer__67641.1406305780.490.490

Bar Towels – choose cotton instead of paper towels

Cocktail Napkins- linen instead of paper

Straws – colorful bee’s wax coated paper straws. Ours come in green, red, black, blue, and pink.

straws-blogpostOlive/Garnish Picks – stylish bamboo picks add a festive and fun touch to cocktails.

Coasters and Cutting Board – choose eco-friendly bamboo

Decorative Trays for Bar Displays and Serving – choose from bamboo, wood, palm leaf or sugarcane

Snack Bowls – mini disposable bowls made of bamboo or palm leaf for pretzels, peanuts, other bar snacks and drink garnishes.

Glassware: If you need extra glasses, you can shop garage sales or thrift stores for used barware, vintage shakers and old-fashioned glassware. Or try our new reusable Mini Doublewall Glasses in assorted sizes and shapes.

Local & Organic Ingredients for Mixers & Garnishes: choose organic locally grown fruits and garnishes. If you need lemon or lime juice, making it fresh not only tastes better, you can also compost the scraps.

Use Energy Efficient Appliances and LED Lighting: downsize to an energy efficient bar refrigerator that fits all of your mixers and fruits. Extra empty space in the fridge uses more energy so it’s more efficient to find a size that suits your needs. Check the seal on the refrigerator (if you put a dollar bill in the door, close it, and can slip the dollar out of the door, it’s time to replace the seal). Also, unplug appliances when you’re not using them.

Clean Green: Use “green” cleaning products for cleaning bar surface, glasses and bar tools.

Here’s a simple wintery holiday recipe for Mulled Spice Organic Simple Syrup from MGQ Bartending to put you in the holiday spirit —  just add rum, vodka or any other liquor to make a martini, or club soda for an alcohol free drink.

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 each orange and lemon peel
  • star anise
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain through a wire mesh strainer into a bowl and let sit until cooled to room temp. Store in a glass jar with tight fitting lid in the fridge. Try making a festive cocktail by combining with rum and lime soda!

 CHEERS!

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Reduce Stress and Save Time This Thanksgiving With Disposable Dinnerware

thanksThis time of year, recipes and time-saving tips to get us through the holiday season are coming at us left and right. Despite the goal of making our lives easier during Thanksgiving – the short cut recipe tips, shopping lists, menu planning, advance food preparation, and inspiring do-it-yourself centerpiece ideas, all make our to-do lists a whole lot longer.

Starting with Thanksgiving (the 2nd favorite and biggest family holiday of the year), then Christmas (the #1 favorite holiday), and followed by New Years Eve (the #6 favorite holiday), those of us who are preparing the meals and hosting the parties, all share at least one common goal: to spend more time feasting with friends and family, and less time in the kitchen doing clean up and dishes.

To prepare for Thanksgiving, so much time is spent cooking, planning and shopping for food. In fact, according to a report in thanksgivingtips.com, people living in the South are more likely to start their shopping up to 3 weeks before Thanksgiving. While here in the Northeast, people are more likely to start their shopping closer to 1 week before. This means that no matter you live, many have already started (and finished) their holiday food shopping. While caterers are accustomed to planning events and know lots of time-saving short cuts, entertaining during the holidays can be overwhelming and stressful for those of us that do it only once or twice a year.

According to a survey, after getting the preparations done on time, cleaning up after the meal is the second most stressful part of Thanksgiving.  While serving food on fine china may up the extravagance of the tabletop, it is not a necessity for a truly special meal. Plus, china most often needs to be washed  BY HAND.

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9.8″ Round Palm Leaf Plate

bambooleafplate

10″ Square Bamboo Plate

One easy way to create an inspiring autumnal tabletop AND reduce the stress of kitchen clean up, is to use eco-friendly disposable dinnerware.  The Bio & Chic disposables are modern, durable, and made from sustainable materials including bamboo, palm leaf, paper, sugarcane, and light wood. The mini dishes, bowls, plates, and platters are all well suited for an elegant (or rustic) autumnal tabletop and are a perfect tie in with the celebration of the harvest festival. There will still be pots and pans left to wash, but by eliminating the task of doing the dishes, more time can be spent with friends and family.  Click here to see Bio & Chic’s complete line of dinnerware.

Here are a few more “insider” tips to for easier clean up:

  • When prepping, cover the counter top with plastic wrap or newspapers
  • Put foil at the bottom of your oven to catch spills
  • Spritz measuring cups with cooking spray before filling with sticky ingredients like molasses to make cleaning easier
  • Spread a thin layer of cooking oil along the inside rim of your pots to prevent boilovers
  • Fill a large plastic dish tub with hot soapy water right before you sit down for dinner and let all of the dirty pots and pans soak while you’re eating

WISHING YOU A HAPPY, SAFE AND STRESS-FREE THANKSGIVING!

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Candy Crush! (DIY Candy Apples)

Candy apples are a seasonal favorite this time of year. With apples in high season, and Halloween days away, this is a perfect time to add these indulgent treats to your party menu. Better yet, why not be the house that hands out homemade candy apples instead of Starbursts and Milky Ways!

Granny Smithcandy apple.1406554147.1000.1200, Gala, Braeburn, McIntosh – choose your favorite tart, firm apple to get started!

The Food and Wine Dictionary defines candy apples like this: “an apple that’s coated with a cinnamon-flavored red sugary syrup. This candy coating can be either crackly-hard or soft and gooey. A candied-apple clone is the caramel apple, which has a thick, soft caramel-flavored coating.”

But traditional apples-on-sticks have gotten much more creative with chefs and home-cooks making up exciting candy-coated variations for kids and lots of boozy variations like Red Wine Caramel or Bourbon-Pecan Caramel to please the grown ups.

Here is one version by Giada De Laurentiis: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/caramel-chocolate-and-candy-apples-recipe.html#lightbox-recipe-video

In the red candy coated version, that bright red color is a big part of the allure. Instead of using artificial red coloring to give your apples that vibrant punch, there are natural colorings made from organic plant extracts that can be easily made or purchased.  Try experimenting with extracts from beets, elderberry, purple sweet potatoes and other vegetables to make your apples irresistibly and deliciously red.

Candy apples also make whimsical wedding favors. Make Your Wedding Favors blog suggest picking a theme to create apple favors like the Garden theme (red candy apples coated in half crushed nuts), or the Monogram theme (apples dipped in dark chocolate with white frosting to create the bride and grooms initials).  Wrap creatively in natural containers, tie with raffia or ribbon, and offer as one-of-a-kind homemade take-home party favors.

Here are a few eco-friendly products to get you started:

Have a Happy and Safe Eco-Friendly Halloween!

 

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