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July 01, 2013

Go Green with a Café Rio Cocktail

 

Rio Skinny Margarita at Cafe Rio

I had not been to Café Rio in Aptos since its newest incarnation, but have always considered it one of my favorite waterfront restaurants.  Best yet, it not only has a glorious view but is only “Fifty steps to the sand!” (the restaurant is located directly in front of Rio Del Mar Beach, a stone's throw from Seacliff State Beach) It made perfect sense to visit this seaside gem during Santa Cruz Earth Week, since my mission was to learn about the popular organic cocktails. Longtime employee and now current owner Jeanne Harrison introduced bartender Luke White, who invited me to join him on the sunny, pet-friendly patio to chat and answer questions. Luke said that he was motivated to feature the cocktails because of how aware our Santa Cruz community is when it comes to making healthy lifestyle choices. He told me that Greenbar Collective, Cafe Rio’s supplier of vodka, tequila, spiced rum and bitters, uses all organic ingredients. “Their company declares ‘We plant a tree for every bottle sold,’ he said. Bartender White uses fresh juices and agave sweeteners in the cocktails, rather than unnatural syrups. Looking ahead to the busy tourist season, he plans to come up with some fresh new twists on a few of the traditional cocktails. Two customer favorites that will surely remain on the menu are: Fresh Pineapple Margarita - $11
  • IXA Organic Silver Tequila
  • Cointreau
  • Fresh pineapple, blended
Rio Skinny Margarita - $10
  • Greenbar Organic Silver Tequila
  • Fresh lime
  • Agave
This popular cocktail is a seasonal specialty for fall: Coffee Rio - $10
  • Greenbar IXA Organic Silver Tequila
  • Kahlua
  • Chipotle-infused brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Coffee
  • Whipped cream
  • Grated orange peel
Greenbar co-founders and spirits-makers Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew made the commitment to be environmentally conscious. They began making their spirits with local produce, and as farmers switched to organic, the spirits tasted better, so they switched too. Using lightweight bottles and 100% PCW recycled labels, they proudly announce that “One 2 oz. cocktail with any Greenbar spirits makes a customer carbon negative for a day.” My take on that?  See you for cocktails at Café Rio!    



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