7 Local Organic Cocktails

organic martini

The always inventive mixologists at several chic DC-area hotel bars are shaking things up with cocktails that feature organic spirits, homemade fruit purees, and locally grown veggies and herbs. Here are our top picks:

1. Juniper at The Fairmont Hotel serves five “Going Green” organic cocktails featuring herbs from the hotel’s courtyard garden and regionally grown fruits. “Feeling Blue,” for example, is made with Blue Coat Organic Gin, courtyard grown cilantro, Virginia blueberries, housemade simple syrup, and club soda. There are also several cocktails made with honey harvested from the Italian honey bees that make the hotel’s rooftop their home such as the Bee-tini made with Belvedere Pomrancza vodka and honey mixed with fresh grapefruit juice, mint, and grenadine.

2. The mixologists at Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons make many of their own bitters, tinctures, and syrups and grow their own herbs. The cleverly named “Not Tonight” features additive-free Hangar One mandarin blossom vodka, velvet falernum (a sugar cane-based liqueur), orgeat, fresh lime, whiskey barrel-aged bitters, and a chipotle tincture

3. Stop by Zentan at the Donovan House for an organic version of a Margarita.”The Scarborough Affair” is made with organic sage-infused Herradura Reposado tequila, house-made thyme agave nectar, house-made sweet and sour mix, fresh lime juice, St. Germain elderflower liquor, and garnished with a fresh spring of rosemary.

4. Start brunch off right with an organic Bloody Mary from Entyse at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner. This tasty version is made with Square One Organic Vodka, organic Bloody Mary mix (made from organic, locally grown tomatoes), Tabasco, Worcestershire, a pinch of organic black pepper, and garnished with organic celery, lime, and green bean. All of the cocktails at Entsye are made with ingredients from local and organic farms.

5. The Blue Duck Tavern at the Park Hyatt offers martinis that can be made with Square One Organic Vodka and your choice of a pearl onion, olive, caper berry or lemon twist garnish.

6. Keep the wolves at bay with the “Little Red Riding Hood” cocktail at the Quill bar in the historic Jefferson hotel. This glorious concoction features house-made hibiscus-pomegranate-infused vodka, Cointreau, Galliano, cranberry juice, and molecular yogurt-vanilla foam.

7. With arguably one of the best views in town, POV at the recently opened W Hotel has an artfully crafted cocktail menu courtesy of Sasha Petraske of NYC’s Milk & Honey.  The all-natural libations change with the seasons and are made with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Bees Thrive at The Fairmont

Bees and beekeepers at The FairmontHigh above the hustle and bustle of DC, 105,000 Italian honey bees are living it up on the rooftop of The Fairmont.

The bees, which were brought in as a response to the nation’s honey bee shortage, will enhance the hotel’s culinary program, which already features herbs such as chocolate mint, coriander and sage that are grown in the hotel’s courtyard garden.

Executive Sous Chef Ian Bens and Executive Pastry Chef Aron Weber will share the responsibility of Chief Bee Keeper.  They expect to retrieve 300 pounds of honey within the first year, and plan to use it in soups, salad dressings, pastries, and ice cream at the hotel’s restaurant, Juniper.

The Fairmont Bees came from Larry and David Reece in Germantown, Maryland. The Reece family has been keeping bees for over 150 years, and are widely respected among local beekeepers. Each of the Fairmont’s beehives house one queen bee and about 33,000 worker bees.

“Many pollinating bees have disappeared due to habitat loss and pollution.  Creating these new hives helps keep the bee population healthy and helps to ensure that plants are pollinated, which is also essential for insects, birds and animals to survive,” says Bens.  “Eventually, The Fairmont hopes to use the honeycomb to create candles, soaps and even lip balm,” he adds.

Although honey from the Fairmont’s bees won’t be harvested until the fall, you can try a “Beetini,” a Basil and Honey Daquiri, and other honey-infused cocktails in the hotel’s lobby lounge.

Top 10 Green Hotels in DC

The fine folks over at RezHub.com have compiled a list of DC’s top green hotels based on a “Green Score” that uses criteria such as recycling, organic food offerings, water conservation, use of Energy Star appliances, non-toxic cleaning products, and more. Props to Kimpton for dominating the list:

1. The Hotel George – A Kimpton Hotel
Green Score: 19
Priced From: $168.75

2. Jurys Washington Hotel
Green Score: 18
Priced From: $235.00

3. Hotel Helix – A Kimpton Hotel
Green Score: 17
Priced From: $128.75

4. Hotel Madera – A Kimpton Hotel
Green Score: 17
Priced From: $98.75

5. Hotel Monaco DC – A Kimpton Hotel
Green Score: 17
Priced From: $168.75

6. Hotel Rouge – A Kimpton Hotel
Green Score: 17
Priced From: $138.75

7. The Fairmont Washington DC
Green Score: 17
Priced From: $189.00

8. Topaz Hotel – A Kimpton Hotel
Green Score: 17
Priced From: $128.75

9. Phoenix Park Hotel DC Capitol Hill
Green Score: 14
Priced From: $128.66

10. Hotel Palomar Washington DC – A Kimpton Hotel
Green Score: 13
Priced From: $158.75


Fairmont+Lexus=Eco Luxury

Are luxury and green mutually exclusive? Not necessarily. Case in point: The new travel option from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Lexus. These two luxury brands have teamed up to unveil “Lexus Hybrid Living Suites” geared for eco-conscious visitors. The first one opened at The Fairmont San Francisco in April 2008, and now we have our very own at The Fairmont Washington, D.C.

You can kick back in a fab room, designed by L.A.’s Kelly LaPlante Organic Interior Design. The D.C. suite includes 100 percent recycled polyester drapes, bedding by Coyuchi Organic, salvaged birch tree installations, countertops made from 100 percent recycled concrete and glass, and eco-friendly paint. Then, when ready you’re ready to hit the town, you can do so in a complimentary Lexus LS 600h L, a low-emission luxury car.

And if that’s not enough, now through December 30, 2008, The Fairmont Washington, D.C. will make a $100 donation to The National Geographic Society with the purchase of each Eco Power package.