Save the planet! And the rainforests and the ice caps and the whales and polar bears, too. Transform your home bar to green.
No, not absinthe-green, creme de menthe green, or green chartreuse, but greener than green, as in organic and environmentally friendly and good for the soul.
If you're a fan of berry-flavored vodka or rum, you might not want to replace them entirely but do try VeeV -- the world's first acai berry spirit that's smooth, clean and not too sweet so that it mixes well with citrus.
Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-eee) berries, Brazil's national fruit, are the hot items of the moment, as they're reportedly filled with all sorts of powerful antioxidants. I mixed it three parts freshly-squeezed orange juice to one part VeeV for a screwdriver-like cocktail for a refreshing cocktail that seems at least semi-healthy.
In celebration of Earth Day and every day, VeeV is dedicated to green initiatives year 'round and is donating $1 of every bottle sold to the Brazilian rainforest.
Now that's a lot of oxygen.
Veev Treetini (aka strained Eco-Mojito)
2 ounces VeeV Acai Spirit
1/2 ounce agave nectar
4 lime wedges
6 mint leaves
Tear and slap mint leaves to release oils and drop into a cocktail shaker. Shake all ingredients well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with club soda. Stir and garnish as desired.
Order of the Amazon
1.5 ounces VeeV Acai Spirit
1/2 ounce Benedictine
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Dash of bitters
Lemon peel, for garnish
Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel.
While ever-popular Jack & Coke is easy to make -- three parts Coke and one part Jack Daniel's -- the smooth, mellow taste blends well in whiskey cocktails too.
1 part Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey
1 part Triple Sec
1 part sour mix
Stir all ingredients with 4 parts lemon-lime soda. Garnish with a lemon slice and cherries.
Hot Tennessee toddy
1 part Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey
Spoonful of honey
Good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Pour Jack Daniel's into a heavy mug. Add a spoonful of honey, cinnamon stick, and lemon juice. Top with boiling water and stir.
Liqueurs don't get much closer to Mother Earth than Benedictine (www.Benedictine.fr), as it's made with natural teas and 27 different herbs and spices. Dating to 1510 when it was cooked up by Benedictine monks, the French liqueur, reminiscent of warm honey and spice, is celebrating its 500th anniversary this year.
Benedictine has a romantic, sweet nose and palate and is an ideal complement to creamy desserts or simply as an after-dinner drink. Mix it with either coffee or try it premixed with brandy in the classic D.O.M. B&B. If you like cognac and brandy, you'll like Benedictine.
D.O.M. iced tea
25 ml Benedictine
100 ml green tea (cold)
Prepare green tea and let it cool down. Pour Benedictine into a stemmed glass or teacup, fill with cracked/crushed ice, and then pour in the green tea. Garnish with green tea powder and serve with a straw.
Jasmine Benedictine (serves two)
75 ml Benedictine
200 ml hot water
Jasmine flower tea
Prepare jasmine tea with hot water in a toddy mug, and then add Benedictine. Blend and serve.
Mary Ann Anderson writes On the Rocks for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.