Mix it up
If you’re looking for a simple way to make your upcoming wedding celebrations a little more eco-chic, think non-alcoholic drinks.
And why not?
You’ll likely need a selection of juices and sodas anyway, for pairing with spirits, under-21 guests and for those who choose not to imbibe, so why not make them extra special?
The best for the environment (but also flavor!) is fresh-squeezed juice from organic fruit, says Kate Harrison, author of “The Green Bride Guide: How to Plan an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget” (Sourcebooks, 2008) and founder of GreenBrideGuide.com. “If you live in a part of the country that specializes in citrus, or you’re having a brunch reception, nothing beats fresh-squeezed orange juice.” You could also offer fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, and a refreshing and pretty beverage made with lemons, limes, sprigs of lavender and honey. Other organic fruit, such as strawberries, blackberries and peaches, can be muddled for more classic cocktails.
If you have to buy canned or bottled juices, there are many delicious organic options available at local health food stores, large natural-food retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and even major supermarket chains, Harrison says. Some companies, like Elite Naturel (OrganicJuiceUSA.com), even offer exotic organic juice flavors, like Honeydew Melon, Black Mulberry and Rose Sherbet. If your nuptials are taking place during apple harvest time, it would also be fun to serve a spiced cider made from locally grown produce.
When it comes to soda, Harrison notes that any fountain beverage can be considered “green” on a certain level because they aren’t sold in individual packages, resulting in less waste. “But if you or your caterer need or want to use canned or bottled sodas, consider an alternative like Blue Sky’s organic soda line (DrinkBlueSky.com), which offers flavors like Orange Crème and Black Cherry in addition to the usual Cola, Ginger Ale, and Root Beer.” Blue Sky has an even wider selection of natural sodas, which aren’t organic but also don’t contain artificial color, flavors or preservatives.
That said, if you simply feel too attached to Coke or Pepsi to make the switch, Harrison recommends buying the largest bottles you can, and making sure they get recycled after the big day.
If you’re only able to serve a limited selection of spirits, which ones are key?
“Vodka, baby!” says Danielle Venokur Greenberg, founder of dvGreen, a sustainable event design company in New York. “It can be mixed with a wide range of flavors and is definitely the preferred liquor variety of many.”
Rum also pairs well with numerous sodas and juices, and whiskey is great by itself but also in numerous classic cocktails, mixed with cola, or combined with muddled fruit, organic mint, lemon and a touch of sweetness.
Featuring organic, responsibly made spirits (yes – there’s organic vodka!) can definitely help to “green” your bar, Greenberg says. But it’s also beneficial to buy locally distilled products whenever possible, she adds, as you’ll cut down on the emissions that come as a result of shipping – and help boost the local business!