Earth Day - an annual event, celebrated on April 22 with the focus of demonstrating support for environmental protection. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, and has grown to more than 190 countries.
The creation of Senator Gaylord Nelson and motivated by the antiwar protests of the late 1960s, Earth Day was initiated to create a mass environmental movement.
The idea was for Earth Day to be a teaching moment for students, and was held on April 22 to maximize the number of students that could be reached on university campuses. The focus was to raise public awareness of air and water pollution.
Weisi Li, bartender at farm-to-table institution Blue Hill, has created some easy-to-make cocktails from seasonal ingredients featuring American Harvest, a 100% organic vodka distilled in the United States.
American Harvest is handcrafted in small batches from USDA-certified organic winter wheat which is grown on a family-owned farm located in Rigby Idaho. Throughout the production process, American Harvest adheres to strict sustainability guidelines including:
Sustainable Agriculture: The producers of American Harvest support sustainable agriculture by using organic, locally-sourced materials including water from aquifers deep beneath the Snake River plain – which gives a distinctly clean and crisp character.
Wind Power: One-third of the monthly electrical consumption at the distillery comes from local wind generated power.
Reuse & Repurpose: Unused materials from the distillation process are used as cattle feed.
Recyclable Glass: American Harvest bottles are 100% recyclable and are coated and decorated with organic inks and water-soluble varnishes.
Six delicious and refreshing cocktails which feature American Harvest vodka accompanied by fresh ingredients which capture the spirit of Earth Day.
Weisi Li’s Picks:
"A Tonic from the Garden"
- 1.5 parts Dill & Fennel infused American Harvest*
- .75 parts Thatcher's Organic Blood Orange Liqueur**
- 4 Sorrel leaves
- Fever Tree's Mediterranean Tonic Water
Bruise 3 sorrel leaves in shaker before adding the other ingredients. Shake, strain over ice in a Collins glass. Top with tonic water. Garnish with a sorrel leaf.
*Place 2 ribs of fennel (sliced) and 3 strands of dill straight into the American Harvest bottle. The flavors should be well infused after 24 hours. Feel free to replace fennel/dill with any herbs or vegetables in season.
**If Thatcher's is not readily available, Combier or Cointreau orange liqueurs are both great alternatives.
- 1.5 parts American Harvest
- .75 parts Spring pea puree*
- 3 barspoon Meyer lemon marmalade
- .5 parts Lemon juice
- 5 Mint Leaves
Combine all ingredients in shaker. Shake, double strain in a coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.
* Boil a pot of water seasoned with salt (to the strength of sea water). Blanch the spring peas until sweet to taste. Then cool down immediately in a ice bath. Puree in a food processor or blender and add regular water to loosen (to the consistency of a very loose fruit smoothie). Strain through sieve.
- 2-2.5 parts American Harvest
- .5 parts Pickled green garlic juice*
- .25 parts Pickled beet juice*
Combine all ingredients in shaker. Shake, double strain into coupe. Garnish with a pickled green garlic segment.
* Any vegetable in season can be pickled, and any purchased pickle juice will be equally delicious. I prefer my pickling liquid a little on the sweeter side - a couple notches of sweetness from a bread and butter pickle liquid. The recipe can be equal parts vinegar and water, with 2:1 sugar to salt and any other pickling spices. 12 hours is more than enough time to extract the flavors of green garlic and beets.