It’s almost the New Year and time to ring it in! They say how you spend your New Year’s Eve is how you will spend the rest of the year. So if you want to welcome the new year right, ring it in with an ethical twist. Today we have a delicious organic and fair trade cocktail recipe complete with champagne. This recipe also works great for New Year’s Day brunches, as it is traditionally a morning drink. Not only will this recipe taste delicious to your guests, it will feel good going down. So start your year off right with an organic drink. Happy New Year!!

Organic Lemon Rose Bellini

4 oz Organic Champagne
1/2 oz Fair Trade Vodka
1 Tbsp Organic Lemon Sorbet
2 Organic Raspberries

You have many sources for organic champagne including Brut Nature Champagne and Proseccos. Check out this handy organic champagne guide for more choices. For Fair Trade vodka, we suggest you look for FAIR, made from Fair Trade certified quinoa. You should be able to find organic raspberries at your local farmer’s market, natural foods store, or grocery store. These locations should also carry organic lemon sorbet. We suggest using Natural Choice Foods Organic Lemon Sorbet. Now to make the drink…

In a cocktail shaker, add the vodka and sorbet. Shake these ingredients thoroughly and then add in the champagne. Stir, do not shake after adding champagne. Strain into a champagne flute and top with raspberries. Repeat for each drink served.

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October is here and Fair Trade Month is officially in high gear! The idea behind Fair Trade Month is to both celebrate and raise awareness for Fair Trade. In the United States, there are literally thousands of educational events, parties, promotions, and sales going on the entire month. So how do you get involved? What is the best way an ethical shopper to enjoy the month? We have put  together a short list of the best ways to celebrate Fair Trade Month!

1) Promote Fair Trade: In our 21st Century world, one of the easiest ways to bring awareness to a topic is to use social media. During the whole month, use your Twitter, Facebook, and other sites to spread the word! There are tons of great resources to share such as Fair Trade Resource Network and Fair Trade USA,  or even mention or post pictures of some of your favorite Fair Trade products! Be sure to use hashtags such as #FairTradeMonth and #FairTrade.

2) Give Fair Trade: Maybe you have some birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, or baby showers coming up or maybe you want to get a head start on holiday shopping. Either way, when you are purchasing a gift this month, make sure it is Fair Trade. This is a perfect opportunity to give your loved ones quality gifts and educate them on what Fair Trade means. We recommend including information with your gift. Some places to find Fair Trade goods are Global Exchange, World of Good, Ten Thousand Villages, and of course Autonomie! Speaking of Autonomie, we are featuring different producers all month long and have special week long sales, as well as giveaways. Check our Facebook on how to enter.

3) Get Involved: If you want to really bring awareness to Fair Trade, get involved in your community or school. Did you know cities and universities can become Fair Trade Towns and Universities?! Check out Fair Trade USA’s programs Fair Trade Towns and Fair Trade University for more details. If you community doesn’t have an initiative already going, start one yourself. Another great way to bring Fair Trade to your community is to talk with business owners about carrying Fair Trade items. Talk with your local grocery stores, natural food stores, cafes, restaurants, and retail stores about the growing need for ethical items.

4) Party, Party, Party: Since it is October and Halloween ends the month, why not party, Fair Trade style. Plan out a Fair Trade themed costume, hand out Fair Trade chocolate, and serve Fair Trade treats and alcohol. Luckily, there is wonderful Fair Trade vodka and wine these days! Send out Fair Trade Month with a bang and truly celebrate all that is Fair Trade. Your guests will be impressed with an educational and ethical Halloween!

For more great ideas on how to celebrate Fair Trade Month, check out Fair Trade USA’s Top Ten! Happy Fair Trade Month!

There are only a few more days until Father’s Day, are you prepared?  If you haven’t locked down your Father’s Day gift yet, we have a few suggestions for you!  Whether you Dad is a Fair Trade Guru or weather he knows nothing about the movement, Sunday is a perfect way to support the workers of the world and give you Pops the gift and praise he deserves. If your Father is a newbie to fair trade, Father’s Day is a great opportunity to expose him to the world of fair trade.  So here are some helpful suggestions.

Wine & Chocolate: If your Pops is the kind to want to wind down on his special day, treat him to some fair trade wine and chocolate, I mean really, who is going to refuse that? Check out Etica wines for some terrific fair trade wine with many choices. Pair your Dad’s favorite type of wine with some delicious fair trade chocolate. Alter Eco has some fantastic fair trade chocolates with unique flavors such as dark chocolate and quinoa.

Bloody Marys: Many of the Dad’s we know, love a good cocktail, especially a Bloody Mary. You can make your Dad the perfect Bloody Mary using the fair trade vodka: FAIR. This is a great way for your Father to start the day. But in case Bloody Marys aren’t his thing: check out these Fair Trade cocktail recipes.

Sweet Tooth: Let’s face it, a lot of Men, especially Fathers love their sweets. Try something a little different and bake your Dad some sweets. Make his favorite cookie, cake, or brownie recipe using all fair trade ingredients. You can find fair trade sugar, baking powder, bananas, chocolate, and vanilla!  Make sure you tell him your goodies are fair trade certified as well as baked with love.

Breakfast Coffee: Wake up your Dad with a fair trade cup of coffee to go along with your treats. Or bake him an entire breakfast using as many fair trade ingredients as you can find.  As mentioned above you can find many cooking and baking ingredients fair trade. Finding fair trade coffee is pretty easy and you have a number of different options including Grounds for Change, Peace Coffee, and Equal Exchange.

Fair Trade Gift: If you want to buy him something he can use all year, check out Global Exchange or Global Good Partners. There are plenty of great gifts for any Father out there including cell phone cases and laptop bags to picture frames and ties. Find the perfect gift for your Dad on either of these sites.

Memorial Day traditions have become just as American as Apple Pie. And while we are supposed to be honoring those who have died serving in our many wars, most people use the day for cookouts, parades, camping, the start of summer, and of course the American tradition of drinking on holidays.  All these traditions are  a blast and an exciting way to start your summer off with a bang. They also can all be done with the environment in mind. We celebrate our Memorial Day as green as we can and here’s to hoping you will too. Let’s start a new American tradition of making a smaller imprint on the Earth, while still indulging in our fun! To help this new tradition along, we have put together some helpful tips on how to make sure your Memorial Day is red, white, blue, and green!

1) Green that Grill: BBQ is a true Memorial Day and summer tradition and it is easy to green your grill.  Replacing your chemical laden charcoal to more earth friendly means such as wood briquettes or natural organic charcoal. For that smokey BBQ taste, we recommend the wood briquettes! Either of these choices will leave your food without the burning of coal, petroleum products, sawdust, or limestone, which are all toxic. If you want to take it one step further, invest in a new clean burning grill. This will emit far less pollution into the air and your food. It may not be traditional but electric grills, put out 99% less carbon monoxide. If you have the money, the Hybrid Grill is a great way to go, although a tad pricey! For more tips on how to have a green grilling experience, refer to our blog from last summer: Green Your Grill: Eco BBQ Tips.

2) Hold the Meat: Although traditional American BBQs include tons and tons of meat! To truly green your BBQ, we suggest you hold the meat. The meat industry consumes more than a third of the fossil fuels in the US and contributes 18% of greenhouse gases, which is even more than the transportation industry! And those figures are just the beginning of how the current factory farm meat industry is adversely affecting our world.  Environmentalists have long been promoting a veggie based diet as a way to green your life, so why not make the switch for your BBQ this year! There are hundreds of great veggie based “meat” style products on the market such as Veggie Burgers, Soy Dogs, Soy Sausage, Veggie Ribs etc. For some great recommendations check out our Vegan BBQ Tips and Product Battle: Hot Dogs. If faux meat is not your thing, you can always grill veggies straight on the grill or drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and olive oil! For more ideas on veggie recipes look no further than our backlog of delicious vegan recipes. Also, don’t forget to purchase your veggies organic and local if at all possible!

3) Organic & Fair Trade Drinks: Even if we try, we can not deny that many American holidays revolve around drinking! And Memorial Day is no stranger to this rule. Luckily more and more organic beer, wine, and spirits are on the market these days. Try your best to support your local micro breweries when selecting beer, however, if no organic beer is available try a couple of these brands: Peak Organic, Samuel Smith, and Fish Tale Organic Ales. Green America has also put together a list of recommendations for organic beers that we found helpful. For wines look no further than Frey for organic and Etica for Fair Trade. If you like the hard stuff there are also a number of organic and Fair Trade spirits on the market such as Square One Vodka, Tru Organic Gin, 4 Copas Organic Tequila. Also, FAIR Vodka, the first Fair Trade vodka on the market is now available in the US. For ideas on Fair Trade and Organic Cocktails, check out our recipe backlog.

4) Stay Local: We know, we know, a “staycation” is nowhere near as exciting as traveling far away to go camping. However, traveling by car for long distances or by plane is not so eco-friendly. Now we aren’t saying you should camp out in your own backyard literally (although that can be an adventure), we just mean look for destinations close to home. Stay within 20-50 miles of your own home! You may find that there are wonderous campgrounds, beautiful hiking trails, or a pretty lake nearby that you never noticed. You can even do a search on Reserve America to find campgrounds near you or look into the National and State Park systems for local ideas.

5) Alternative Transportation: If you must travel this Memorial Day weekend, we suggest you look to other means besides planes and cars! Bike travel is catching on quickly and is a fun and healthy way to travel. There are plenty of companies that put together tours or you can do it DIY style. Here are some tips on traveling by bike! If traveling by bicycle is a little too intensive for you or if you are traveling with a larger group, you can look into traveling by bus or rail. There are bus companies that will take you and your family to beautiful destinations for camping or hiking. Traveling by public transportation or by bike makes your entire journey an adventure and while you won’t get control of the radio perse, you can experience a whole other world of travel. And really do you ever get control of the radio on family trips?

Are you ready to get your drink on? I hope so, because FAIR Vodka is now available in the US. You may remember last September’s blog entry where we introduced our readers to the announcement of the first fair-trade certified Vodka, FAIR Vodka. When we first mentioned this marvelous product, the availability was much more restricted, but thanks to the innovative geniuses behind the Fair Trade Spirits Company, the demand for FAIR Vodka in the US market has been heard and met. Select liquor stores, Whole Foods, and other natural foods stores across the country now supply this socially responsibly made liquor for you to leisurely enjoy at your convenience.

This spirit is very special because it takes the quinoa grain, a great protein source for non-meat eaters and carnivores alike, and ethically produces Vodka that improves lives. Not only is this the first Vodka that has been derived from the quinoa grain, but all the quinoa used is Fair Trade certified. A native of Peru, quinoa has been a staple in the diets of many cultures for over 5,000 years, but only recently has this “super-grain” become popular in the United States. The research behind the FAIR Vodka process totaled two years, and is a collaboration of French distillers and Bolivian farmers who are part of ANAPQUI (Asociacion Nacional de Productores de Quinoa), which was established in 1983 as a collaborative effort for small farmers to collectively sell and market the quinoa they grow.

I can’t wait to introduce my friends and family to my mad-mixing-skills this Memorial Day weekend with the inclusion of FAIR Vodka as the spirit of choice. Barbeques with booze are my favorite, and I would love to swap recipes for mixers to try out. Here are two of my favorite cocktails:

The Cape Cod (or Vodka Cranberry)*

1 1/2 oz FAIR Vodka
4 oz Organic Cranberry Juice

Combine in a highball glass with ice. Garnish with a wedge of lime, and serve.

Espresso Cocktail:*

3/4 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur
3/4 oz FAIR Vodka
1 oz Fair Trade Espresso
Prepare a martini glass with a brown-sugared rim. Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into the prepared glass, and serve.

*Recipes for a single serving

Please feel free to share your favorite recipes! And remember drinking responsibly for yourself and the planet is easy!

-Hannah Bybee

One of the best  things about the holidays is the cocktails! As you fill your days with shopping and wrapping gifts, its nice to warm up with a winter treat of nog, with a splash of rum of course. Or as you attend the many Christmas parties, be sure to relax and enjoy some holiday cheer. No we don’t condone gratuitous binge drinking or anything, we just wan you to have the best of times this holiday season. So we have begun a new series, just in time for a new year. Many of you might know that most of our AP team is on double duty and our lovely Anne is a superb bartender by night. She has put together some sumptuous holiday cocktail recipes for you to enjoy. These cocktails and our series have a bit of a twist, and I don’t mean lemon or lime, most the ingredients are either Fair Trade and/or Organic: including the booze! Our first installment includes a delicious and satisfying Apple Snowflake Martini. Most of the ingredients, besides the apple schnapps can be found Fair Trade and organic, yes that includes the vodka!

ETHICAL APPLE SNOWFLAKE MARTINI:

1 oz vodka

1 oz sour apple schnapps

1 oz apple juice

Sugared apple slice for garnish

Pour vodka, schnapps, and juice over a handful of ice in a cocktail shaker.  Shake until very cold, then strain into a chilled tall glass.  Place apple slice in glass for garnish.  You can also serve this in a martini glass with the apple slice on the rim or floating on top of the drink.

Now to make the ingredients as ethical as possible!

Organic-Fair Trade Vodka: There are a couple of different organic vodkas on the market. Take a peak at 360 Vodka, the very first eco-friendly vodka, check out there waste free philosophy. If you can not locate this brand or are looking for something a tad different, try Crop Vodka. Crop Vodka is also a very smooth and organic spirit. Lastly, check out Square One Vodka, another great and organic certified vodka. If you are looking to go the Fair Trade route check into Fair, the world’s first Fair Trade vodka, although its hard to find in the US currently.

Organic-Fair Trade Apple Juice: Organic apple juice is easy to find in almost any store now. Most major brands produce an organic version of their old recipe including Mott’s and RW Knudson. However, if you are looking to support a smaller all organic juice company check out Lakewood Organic Apple Juice or Eden Organic. There are many Fair Trade juice companies that produce Fair Trade apple juice, however many are not sold in the US, quite yet.

Organic-Fair Trade Apples: You should be able to locate organic apples fairly easily at any market or Co-op near you. Just look for the USDA certified organic label. If you are searching for Fair Trade apples, check out these provided by Interrupcion,  these babies are both Organic and Fair Trade!

Unwinding at the end of the day with a refreshing cocktail is a common practice for adults world wide. Now, thanks to the introduction of a new Fair Trade Vodka , the aptly named Fair Vodka, people can indulge their inner booze hound (responsibly, of course) without suffering any Green Guilt (symptoms of GG include: retrieving recyclables from garbage cans that do not belong to you, lecturing your family pet on the importance of water conservation, and an undeniable air of sexiness…yeah, i am talking to you, good looking!). This is the very first Fair Trade vodka on the market and is now available on their website, some bars, and very high end liquor stores. 

Cocktail on Flikr Photo By diongillardThis vodka boasts more street cred than just its Fair Trade label, with French well water being distilled five times through a Cognac copper pot in the awesomely named region of “Spirits Valley,” France, Fair’s meticulous production rivals the classiest and most respected of top shelf spirits. In addition to preparation prowess, this Fair Trade Certified Vodka has already received much deserved accolades becoming the winner of the Best Unflavored Vodka 2009 in New York this past June, despite of its newbie status.

Fair Vodka’s own website explains their venture asa smart balance between consuming and sharing, which is evidenced not only in their use of quinoa from fairly compensated Bolivian farmers in this elixir’s production, but also in its dedication to sustainability, with plans already in the work to make the entirety of its packaging from recycled material. It also seems they may have more Fair Trade alcohols in the works, as the website is named fairtradespririts.com as oppose to just vodka! So hopefully we will see more and more Fair Trade certified spirits in the coming years. 

Cheers Bing Photo By WebRanking Pictures' So pull up a stool and have your friendly bar keep set up a round of your favorite Fair Trade cocktails! Be sure to tip and remember to raise your glass in a toast to sustainability, fair trade practices and a delicious vodka that you can feel good about drinking….even if your pounding head disagrees the next morning.

Cheers, my green minded pals: this is drinking in the 21st century!

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