Better Bitters, Better Booze
What does the century-old Manhattan have in common with your favorite mocktail? Both are better with a few dashes of flavorful bitters. Potent infusions of herbal elements and flavor extracts, bitters add depth and complexity, bringing balance to cocktails and all-too-sweet mocktails. After decades of three hard-to-find brands dominating the dwindling market, this retro ingredient is back in a modern (and gourmet) way. Fueled by libation-lovers and the mocktail revolution alike, local, artisanal brands are producing ambitious, innovative bitters (we’re especially partial to Strongwater’s Tamer). A drop or two of bitters won’t add a considerable amount of alcohol to your drink, so you don’t have to limit your use to happy hour. Stir some into coffee with sugar and cream for a robust morning cup, or sprinkle a few to add pizzazz to your cold sparkling water.
Let’s Talk Tahini
Think sesame seeds are solely destined for life on bagels? Think again. When you grind them up, these tiny little wonders transform into a thick, surprisingly-healthy paste called tahini. Delicious, versatile, and nutritious, tahini is pure Middle Eastern magic (hummus wouldn’t be hummus without it). This sesame seed spread has already made its way onto restaurant menus and supermarket shelves alike, but the reign of tahini is just beginning. Thriving in both sweet and savory dishes, tahini is a kitchen staple that can be used from breakfast to dinner and is a perfect substitute for peanut butter. And it doesn’t stop there: tahini is high in healthy fat (and, for what it’s worth, gluten-free), plus it has a decadent lusciousness. Looking to test the waters? Try adding tahini to smoothies, salad dressings, or baked goods for a nutrient-packed boost, or pick up a tahini-based snack like the oh-so-tasty Salted Tahini Caramel Trill Bar.
Is Biodynamic the Next Organic?
Biodynamic farming is regarded by many as more than a method—they see it as a coherent philosophy. Inspired by the biodiversity of natural ecosystems, biodynamic growing is a regenerative farming practice designed to enhance the soil and ecological system rather than destroy it. As ‘big ag’ has gradually depleted our soils, so too has it reduced the vitality of the soil’s produce and its ability to store carbon (hello climate change). Right now, biodynamic is where organic was 20 years ago—on the periphery and seemingly extraneous. But, as organic continues to grow more commercialized, brands will look to biodynamics to be their differentiator.
Brands like EPIC and Yellow Barn are leading the biodynamic food revolution, placing a focus on relaying information beyond just ingredients, helping quench consumer thirst for increased transparency. This fervor for social responsibility and biodynamic processes is spilling into other industries too, with personal care brands like Weleda or retailers like Patagonia using their platforms to preach the importance of climate-friendly practice. Biodynamics may not be as prominent as organic yet, but before long, it’ll be commonplace to sip your chamomile knowing that it’s grown on a 100-acre biodynamic garden at the base of the Italian Alps and harvested at night when the essential oils are at their peak. (Yes, really.)
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