Cheers!

VeeV Acai Spirit and agave nectar with hints of lime and mint is similar to a traditional mojito. (VeeV/MCT)

Save the planet! And the rainforests and the ice caps and the whales and polar bears, too. Come April 22, make a celebratory toast on Earth Day that will last all year by transforming 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 (www.VeevLife.com), 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.


Here's the recipe:

VEEV TREETINI (a strained Eco-Mojito)

2 ounces VeeV Acai Spirit 1/2 ounce agave nectar 4 lime wedges 6 mint leaves Club soda

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.

Also in honor of Earth Month, look for Jack Daniel's (www.JackDaniels.com) in a special collectible bottle. The whiskey maker is partnering with the non-profit organization American Forests (www.AmericanForests.org) to release the bottle beginning April 1 to be in conjunction with a tree planting effort. For every bottle purchased American Forests will plant a tree, about 100,000 of them, that's to sequester about 33,000 of CO2 as they grow. That's about the same as taking nearly six thousand cars off the road for a year or conserving 3.3 million gallons of gasoline. Now those are figures worth a toast.

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.

LYNCHBURG LEMONADE

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 Cinnamon stick Good squeeze of fresh lemon juice Boiling water

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)

Ingredients: 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.