This year marks the sixth edition of Seed Food & Wine Week, Miami's plant-based food festival that's expected to have draw 10,000 attendees in four days.
Thursday, November 7, through Sunday, November 10, a lineup of events will see local and national talent converging on Miami to carry the festival's mission of living consciously and sustainably.
Returning with a bigger and better lineup this year, Seed has tapped Jules Aron as its mixology director to curate the cocktail program for the festival. Aron, also known as the Healthy Bartender, is a beverage consultant, holistic nutritionist, and author who has been lauded nationally for her dedication to wellness within the cocktail culture.
Her best-selling book, Zen and Tonic: Savory and Fresh Cocktails for the Enlightened Drinker, includes recipes that combine her knowledge from 12 years of bartending and her background in nutrition to help readers create healthier drinks at home. She shows how to make infusions using fresh juices, and natural sweeteners using ingredients that boost the immune system and leave the imbiber feeling refreshed. Reflecting on the book's success, Aron says, "It's been interesting, because when my book first came out, it was still a very new concept and people were just starting to pay attention to what they're eating. So it was a dialogue that we should start looking at what we're drinking as well."
As far as how she'll use this wealth of knowledge for Seed's cocktail program, Aron says, "I've been part of the Seed family for years now, and I love what they're doing. Our belief systems go together really well. We're definitely paying more attention to cocktails this year."
She says the festival organizers brought her on to add more flair to beverages at the events. "You'll see more craft cocktails and more creativity when it comes to drinks."
Aron has been responsible for pairing participating restaurants with local bartenders to create drinks that will complement the dishes served throughout the festival. Her attention to detail ensures there will be something for everyone, even those abstaining from alcohol. "I want everyone to feel welcome at the bars during the festival and enjoy something spectacular whether it has alcohol or not." She cites low-ABV (alcohol by volume) and zero-proof cocktails among the biggest trends because people are being more mindful about what they put in their bodies. "There's a huge movement with younger generations choosing to either skip booze altogether or be mindful about how much they're imbibing," Aron says.
Another growing trend she'll incorporate into the festival is the use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil in everything from cookies to cocktails.
For those interested in dabbling with CBD in their libations, Aron will teach a master mixology class Saturday, November 9, at 4:30 p.m. at the Whole Foods Culinary Stage at the Seed Festival Day Tasting Village. "The class will talk about CBD in general and then go into different options, whether it's just a CBD zero-proof cocktail or a CBD low-ABV cocktail... It's a different way of drinking that doesn't necessarily impair you and heightens your experience."
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The mixologist and author will show the audience how to make CBD cocktails using healthful, natural ingredients that work with the unique flavor profile of the oil. "People love how CBD makes them feel," Aron explains of the appeal of drinks containing the cannabis extract. "It's a calming sensation without losing focus. To keep it safe, we won't be mixing CBD with a full-proof cocktail since the effects aren't truly known, but playing around with flavors and showing people how they can make these at home."
Tickets to the Seed Festival Day Tasting Village cost $65 for general admission and $95 for VIP. Also available are the weekend ticket packages Plant Pusher Pass and Visionary Pass Experience, which include access to other events. Aron will also discuss CBD cocktails at the Seed Summit this Friday, November 8, at 1:30 p.m., and the VIP lounge will serve CBD cocktails to those with tickets to the Visionary Pass Experience.
With Aron joining Seed headliners such as supermodel Karolina Kurkova and retired NBA star John Salley, this homegrown festival continues to plant strong roots.