Today I'm appearing on Connecticut's WTNH Channel 8 with the ever-charming Matt Scott, and we're talking about eco-friendly parties.
Here are five really easy tips for adding a bit of eco-style to your next gathering.
1. Shop your 100 miles. In other words, go local. Of course that means using seasonal local foods, but "local" also applies to wines and spirits. Today I've designed a fabulous summer cocktail, the Strawberry-Watermelontini, featuring a local vodka, Vermont Gold, distilled from Maple sap. You don't have to look to Russia for great vodka--check your own backyard and you might find some wonderful resources. The recipe is below at the end of this post.
2. Reinvent things. Nothing is more ecofriendly than not buying something new. The cocktail napkin in the photo above is made from an old men's shirt that had a hole in it. I cut it into squares and finished the edges and voila! A summery accent to any party! I also keep old flower vases and turn them into stylish, windproof lanterns. I use strawberries and mushrooms as place card holders and bracelets as napkin rings.
3. Think double-duty. When something can be used for more than one purpose, it's more ecofriendly. Create a living centerpiece with starter herb plants, and give them away at the end of the party so your guests can enjoy them all summer. They'll have a wonderful treat, and their herbs will have less of a carbon footprint because they'll come straight from the garden instead of being trucked in and packed in plastic.
4. Use sustainable materials. I love the plates from Verterra.com -- they're made from fallen leaves, and they're fully compostable (which means they disintegrate completely) in 60 days, unlike plastic which will be around for a very long time in the land fill!
1 pint fresh Watermelon Juice
1 quart fresh Strawberry Juice
1/2 cup simple syrup (making simple syrup is EASY--see below)
1/2 cup vodka (Vermont Gold or use your own local vodka)
Watermelon chunks, splashed with vodka and frozen, for garnish
Mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and heat over high heat until the sugar dissolves into the water. Presto! You made simple syrup!
Make the cocktail:
Mix the juices and simple syrup together in a pitcher. Add the vodka and chill until the party.
Spear the frozen watermelon on toothpicks. Add the gingerale just before serving and present in cocktail glasses.