Keeping your spirits clean…

Considering the insanely quick rate that the organic trend has spread its way into nearly every market (I mean, come on who really needs organic kitty litter!?!) it comes as no surprise that the liquor industry has jumped on board. But before you disregard the marketing of your favorite vodka as ‘now healthier for you because it’s organic!’ you should really look at exactly what an organic drink means and where the organic philosophy comes from.
The trend really started in the wine industry with many of the world’s finest vineyard owners realizing the negative effect that chemicals were having on their highly valuable land. Starting first with the ancient vineyards of France and Italy, word began spreading that maybe the ‘steroid-like’ pollutants that Agro-Chemical companies were pushing on farmers all over the world in the ‘80s and ‘90s were actually poisoning the land and making grapes that were weaker in flavor and lacking a certain subtlety or depth they once had.  At the same time as more and more vineyard owners who embraced natural methods began winning awards and vocalizing their success with bio-growing, the word ‘organic’ became associated with ‘fresher’, ‘more taste’, and just plain higher quality.
Distilleries all over the world started experimenting with using organic products as the base of their spirits not long after and had similar effects. For instance, many whiskey distilleries in Scotland started buying or growing their own grains organically and noticed not only a better flavor but that many of the plants and animals that had abandoned the environment surrounding their distilleries returned–same with vodka producers throughout Scandinavia, Gin producers in California and Tequila producers in Mexico. It soon became clear that not using chemicals was a win-win situation.
Though it is hard to find many of these organic spirits, there are a plethora of fresh organic fruits and vegetables to create at least an ‘as-organic-as-possible’ cocktail like I do. A good example is the Hafif Ruzgar for which I use organic basil to naturally infuse flavor into Utkins UK5 Vodka, fresh lemons, organic sugar, and Efe’s (newly released) Organic Raki. There is no doubt that the highest quality of ingredients and well-made spirits creates altogether a better-tasting drink. Although not necessarily ‘healthier’ for body, it certainly is much healthier for your soul!

Hafif Ruzgar
3 cl Basil Infused Vodka**
2 cl Organic Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
3 cl Organic Sugar Syrup***
6 Fresh Organic Basil Leaves
1.5 cl Efes Organic Raki
Sparkling Water

In a shaker muddle the basil, lemon juice, sugar, and raki. Add the Basil Vodka, ice and then shake hard for about 20 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with new ice and top with soda water and a fresh basil leaf.

** add about 15 grams (20 leaves) of organic basil into a bottle of vodka and let sit for 6-8 hours unrefrigerated. Strain and transfer into a glass container
***Combine 500grams of sugar with 1 Liter water in a med. sauce pan. Heat over medium heat for about 15 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved. Transfer into an airtight container and refrigerate. Will last for weeks.


2 Responses to “Keeping your spirits clean…”

  1. the best cachaca starts life as the best ingredients | Abelha Cachaça UK Says:

    […] excellent cocktail place in Shoreditch, London) wrote a really good treatise about it on his blog. It’s about where the idea of organic spirits came from, and why it’s important. The […]

  2. anthony Says:

    well put Joe, I’ve been meaning to write something like this for ages. have put it on our blog at

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