Vino, verde, vici

Pub date April 17, 2007
WriterMarke B.
SectionMusicSectionSuper Ego


SUPER EGO Fuck green — I want emerald, I want turquoise, I want veridian. I want shades of chartreuse cascading down the sides of my highball glass and mint cream swirling at the lip of my rim. Mmm. I was going to write this week about how much I’m head over loafers for Lil Mama’s clover new vid, "Lip Gloss," and what the deal is lately with so many trash-tragic newbie chicks wearing flip-flops and fleece to the clubs (did I miss a memo from Target?), but it’s the Green Issue — yay for Earth! — so I’m going in on the recent trend toward "green" cocktails.

Green cocktails? Easy! All you have to do is down eight or nine shots of Fernet, and — voila! — you’re green. And let’s not even get into how some drinks instantly recycle themselves. Yet in terms of mixology, green usually means organic — juices, vodka, ice cubes, fruit flies, what have you. Organic, however, doesn’t necessarily mean green: it probably took five tons of jet fuel to plop that native Guangdong lychee into your tropical Bellini. Conundrums! When it comes to partying green, it seems, the snifter of a conscious tipple is somewhat bruised with environmental irony. It’s environy.

But if you can snag some local fresh-squeezed mixer, shake it with small-batch liquor, and consume only what you need — not hard, since organic cocktails are kind of freakin’ pricey — you can still get three sheets to the wind and not feel like you’re littering. Usual suspects such as gourmet vegetarian legend Millennium ( — house-infused kumquat–star anise gin, anyone?) and the snuggly bar at Roots Restaurant ( in the grandly green-built Orchard Garden Hotel have been in on the organic, fresh-brewed tip for a while. And a few surprising spots have begun wearing their green hearts on their sleeves too. Vesuvio ( in North Beach is bursting with ecofriendly drinks such as the Pojito, a mojito with local-made 209 gin and organic Pama pomegranate liqueur. SoMa restaurant Coco500 ( features a nifty lemongrass Bloody Mary, with lemongrass-infused organic vodka, organic tomato juice, and sriracha (sun-dried chili paste).

As for less immediately intoxicating spirits, Yield Wine Bar ( offers a vast array of biodynamic, sustainable, and organic wines with some of the more harmful of the 250 chemicals involved in production filtered out — that’s almost as many chemicals involved as in the first 10 minutes of a drag queen’s night out. Harmful. Wine’s pretty easy, of course — we live in wine heaven, and the products of conscious vintners such as Beringer ( and Five Rivers Ranch (, as well as those from distributors such as the Organic Wine Co. (, can be found all over. Beer’s getting in on it too: local foam-meister Anderson Valley Brewing Co. ( pumps out the suds from a solar-powered brewery, even.

But the green drink ground zero in San Francisco has to be Elixir in the Mission. Not only does it foreground organic cocktails, but the whole Elixir enchilada is officially green certified by the city in terms of recycling, cleaning, and waste disposal — the first bar of its kind. H., Elixir’s wryly gregarious owner, mixes up fierce experimental environmental drinks at the bar’s monthly green drink happy hour, which brings in an enthusiastic crowd of ecoliquor seekers (who are also really into baseball, judging from the reactions to the big-screen TVs). At a recent green grog gathering, he whipped me up a luscious Eldersour, using organic Square One rosehip-infused vodka and elderflower syrup, and a kick-ass — I can’t believe I’m seriously about to type this word — GreenTeani, a Square One martini with organic green tea infusion and lime zest. It was gone in a minute — gulp.

"There’s the green side of our business — stuff like installing low-flow toilets and making sure we recycle as much as possible," H. says. "And then there’s the organic side, with the drinks, that people seem to be getting really into lately. The little things you can do every day to feel like you make a difference matter more and more, the principle of it — even if it’s related to being a bar or going out. Nobody can be perfect when it comes to environmental stuff. I mean, I drive an old BMW to work — and it doesn’t run on used fryer oil. But it’s paid for."

After a few more GreenTeanis and a quick trip to the low-flow, I had to admit that I certainly felt better about my environment. Global warming? Pshaw. Everything was just ducky. Now where can I get an organic date? *


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