March in Chicago might be all about the St. Paddy’s Day green, but we’re taking some liberties adding some eco-conscious ways you can go “green” this month too. From sipping a sustainable cocktail to shopping at Chicago’s first zero-waste store, here are six easy (and fun) ways to go “green”—literally and figuratively—around Chicago this month.
On Saturday, March 14, nearly half a million townies and tourists will gather around the Chicago River between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive to watch as members of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union turn the water a spectacular shade of shamrock — a tradition that dates back to 1962. The vegetable-based dye, which is actually orange before it is mixed into the river, doesn’t actually cause any harm. But, while it’s a beautiful sight to behold, not everyone loves this annual event. Friends of the Chicago River have taken issue with the fact that the tradition portrays the river as lifeless and artificial. “I think it sends a message to people that the river is not alive,” said Friends of the Chicago River Executive Director Margaret Frisbie. “Can you imagine there are actually beavers living there? Because there are. You would never do that to a beaver. … Dyeing the river green does not respect that resource.”
Eco-boozing? Yep — it’s a thing. Try it by sipping this sustainable cocktail by Carolina Gonzalez, Beverage Director/Mixologist at WoodWind:
Cocktail name: The WoodWind
How this drink is green/sustainable: “This cocktail was crafted with the goal to create zero waste. Pineapple is a key flavor in this drink and every piece of pineapple is fully utilized. The pineapple meat and skin is poached to create the puree, while the crown of the pineapple is used for garnish. Additional pineapple skin is sent to the kitchen to be used on dry-aged duck served at WoodWind. After squeezing the lime juice, all scraps are put in a dehydrator to create black lime, which is utilized in dishes as well as other cocktails.”
Make it at home:
2 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum
2 oz Pineapple Puree
¼ oz Lime Juice
4 drops of Habanero Shrub
Garnish with Tajin rim, pineapple leaves forming a “W” and lime mist!
Visit one of Chicago’s zero waste stores, including Zefiro. You can find their eco-friendly kitchen, beauty and cleaning supplies at various markets around Chicago, including Bide Market, Chicago’s first sustainable and luxury shopping experience, and at the Wicker Park Farmers Market.
The Chicago Park District is the oldest park district in America, dating back to 1836 when a map of the city was carved out of public ground. Composed of more than 8,000 acres of open space totaling 570 parks (including the Loop’s beloved Maggie Daley Park), 31 beaches, 50 nature areas, and two world-class conservatories, it’s not only the oldest in America, it’s also one of the largest.
Designed as an ode to classic parks district field houses and located in River North’s historic Borden Dairy Depot, FieldHouse Jones, it’s safe to say, is an alternative lodging destination like no other. But it gets even cooler: Co-founders Debra and Robby Baum know a thing or two about thrifting and antiquing, so the space showcases repurposed goods in the most stylish way possible (think old high school gymnasium bleachers as communal-space stadium seating, and vintage trophies and street signs as funky decor). Bring the kiddos in for a bite at Dropshot Coffee & Snack Bar, then get the competitive juices flowing over board games, pingpong, foosball, air hockey — there’s even a custom slot car race track. Whether or not you make it a staycation and bunk up for the night, be sure to check out the hotel’s interactive scavenger hunt, which encourages little ones to explore the property for hidden finds.
We don’t just mean eating your vegetables; this month, visit restaurants that source sustainable and organic foods, which have a better impact on our environment. Here are just a few of our favorites:
Lyfe Kitchen Streeterville, River North & Gold Coast
Lazy Dog 1115 N Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills
Lula Cafe 2537 N Kedzie Blvd., Chicago
Fare 205 W Wacker Dr, Chicago
Left Coast Food & Juice Lincoln Park & The Loop