Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Retail Memo - Foodservice: First 100% Certified Organic Bar in the U.S. (Maybe the World) Opens Just in Time For The Holidays

Inside (above) New York City's GustOrganic 100% certified organic bar. [Photo credit: Keetsa.]

From the Natural~Specialty Foods Memo Editor's Desk: The first certified organic bar in the United States (and perhaps the world) has opened in New York City's Greenwich Village just in time for the rapidly approaching Christmas and New Years holidays.

The bar, GustOrganic, is located inside the popular New York City organic restaurant of the same name.

Now with both a certified organic restaurant and bar in the same building, dedicated organic food eaters and beverage drinkers won't have to step outside of their organic lifestyles at GustOrganic in order to have a before, during and after dinner cocktail with their 100% organic meals.

The 100% certified organic bar also will likely be the destination for pure organic lifestyle folks this New Year's Eve. Now they can get an all-organic New Years Eve buzz on without having to ingest pesticides and other chemicals used in the grains that makes the various spirits which are used to make their favorite holiday cocktails. We suspect there will be organic champagne available on New Years Eve to toast in 2009 as well.

Writer Brain Merchant attended the opening night of GustOrganic, which for sure is the first 100%certified organic bar in America and just might be the first of its kind in the world. He published a report on the organic bar recently in the online environmental publication Treehugger.com. We bring you his piece below:

World’s First 100 % USDA Certified Organic Bar Celebrates Opening Night
by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York
Treehugger.com

GustOrganic, an all-organic restaurant in New York is now also home to the world’s first all-organic bar. Using entirely organic spirits—beers, cocktails, wine, and liquor, GustOrganic is the first bar to be certified organic by the USDA. I was on hand for the celebratory opening night to find out what 100 percent organic martinis, mojitos, and margaritas taste like—and eventually, to investigate the first 100 percent organic hangover.

Since GustOrganic is a restaurant by day, it was pretty impressive how suitable the atmosphere was for an eco-chic bar. Dim lighting, stark d├ęcor, and an expansive layout made the whole place seem more like a SoHo nightclub than a Greenwich Village organic restaurant. And it all helped bring the focus towards the newly christened, pleasantly crowded bar.

Introducing the All-Organic Bar

The bar is stocked with certified organic rum, vodka, whiskey, tequila, organic wine, Peak Organic beers, and plenty of fresh fruit for the creation of all-organic cocktails. This means, according to GustOrganic, “All the drinks are free of chemicals, artificial substances, hormones and pesticides.” In addition to the environmental benefits, this theoretically means headaches should be easier in the morning, too (more on that later).

I tried golden standards like the martini and the mojito, both of which more than passed muster—the mojito was perhaps the freshest I’ve ever had. But the real stars were the creative cocktails made with fresh fruit: the Fresquito, made with mangos, orange juice and vodka, and the strawberry filled Rojito were standouts. They all made for quite a (blurrily) memorable night. As for the morning—well, let’s just say ‘organic drinks’ does not equal ‘hangover-proof.’ But it certainly could mean fewer headaches for someone who isn’t bent on trying every drink on the menu. Perhaps a follow up is in order.

GustOrganic Lives Up to Its Name

As a restaurant, GustOrganic already boasts a strong dedication to organics and sustainability. Owner Alberto Gonzalez has covered as many eco-friendly bases as he can, with gusto: there’s a wind turbine on the roof, the menus are made from 100 percent recycled paper and printed with soy ink, and every single ingredient he uses is certified organic. Just to name a few.

Gonzalez plans on keeping the bar open late every Saturday night to serve up his impressive organic cocktails, but it’s open during normal restaurant hours too. If you’re in New York, it’s well worth a visit to the world’s first organic bar.

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