An article I wrote for Chilled Magazine.
Green mixologist, Kate Harrison, provides eco-friendly drinks for brides. She planned her own green wedding in 2007 and founded greenbrideguide.com two years later. Her goal is to help couples use their weddings to promote social and environmental change, as well as support the local organic economy.
The inspiration for the guide sparked from Kate’s engagement. She and her husband Barry got engaged in 2007 when they were both in graduate school at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
“We were trying to plan a beautiful budget-friendly event that was in line with our values and beliefs and I thought it was much harder to find the resources we needed than it should have been,” said Kate. “I wrote The Green Bride Guide: How to Plan an Earth-friendly Wedding on Any Budget to help other brides navigate the process.” Kate launched greenbrideguide.com after her book became a best-seller in the wedding planning category.
The online guide offers a variety of environmentally friendly products and services for brides-to-be. Refreshing recipes for organic drinks are available, as well as a beverage calculator to add up your expenses, since occasionally, mixing up green drinks can be more costly. According to Kate, creating a green wedding cocktail menu is all about substitution. There are local, organic and fair trade versions of almost every type of alcohol. You just have to pair them with fresh, natural juices and garnish. There are three standards that apply to wine and spirits: USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, and Biodynamic for wine.
“When you choose one of these instead, you know the product is being produced in a way that is better for you and the planet,” said Kate.
Some of Kate’s original recipes include the Spiked Strawberry Iced Tea, made from natural strawberries, lemons, sugar, fair trade tea, and organic vodka or rum. The Emerald Isle includes Juniper Green Organic Gin, Green Crème de Menthe and bitters. Another satisfying, clean cocktail, the Illusion, is a mix of Midori, Triple Sec, Green Ribbon Organic Vodka, and fresh lemon and pineapple juices.
Since going all-out organic is associated with bigger bills, a smart way to make an impact without sacrificing quality or style is to focus on the food that goes along with your celebratory drink. “More than half of the average wedding budget is spent on food and the average American meal travels 1,500 miles from farm to table,” said Kate. Importing local, organic food makes a big difference in the amount you spend. Another way to avoid spending too much is to substitute the $2,000 conventional flowers drenched in pesticides with local, organic ones, at about $300. As Kate said, “Simple substitutions can save you thousands.”
The Green Bride Guide also teams up with other organic communities, like Bottlenotes, to provide their readers with a wide selection of fair trade and organic wines at a discounted price.
“The interest in going green is exploding,” said Kate. The trend for green weddings and environmental awareness is on the rise. According to a study by David’s Bridal this year, 69% of brides are looking to include green elements in their events.
There’s no better way to celebrate a wedding than toasting to the newlyweds with an eco-friendly cocktail.
Kate’s three tips for bars:
1. Try to source locally – beer, wine and food.
2. Use natural, biodegradable cleaning products to reduce your exposure to harsh toxins and other chemicals, and to reduce the introduction of these substances into the environment.
3. Swap out PCW (post-consuder waste paper) products when you run out of toilet paper, paper towels, etc. Only 100% PCW paper is made entirely from used paper and fibers that have been cleansed and de-inked, and would otherwise end up in a landfill. This process uses 45% less energy and creates half the waste of the traditional papermaking process.