When I turned 21, a friend of my grandmother’s took me out for an official drink. She ordered us each a Bacardi on the rocks, with a twist of lime and extra ice. When the bartender put the drinks in front of us, the first thing she did was pull the double drink straws out of her glass. “I never want to see you drinking out of one of these,” she instructed me. I mentally bookmarked that lesson in cool, and have since been in the habit of discarding them, or requesting no straw, whenever I’m presented with a mixed drink.
Since then, my aversion to straws has been cemented by their environmental impact: It’s been reported that Americans use half a billion straws a day (enough straws to fill up Yankee Stadium), much of which ends up in the ocean. Just last week, Grub Street reported that City Council members in Berkeley proposed an ordinance banning the use of plastic straws in restaurants and coffee shops.
While cocktail straws were easy for me to give up, iced-coffee straws posed more of a problem. Ordering my La Colombe without a lid or a straw is a dangerous and potentially very spilly proposition. While poking around on Amazon one day, I found a solution: Greens Steel’s metal straws. I opted for a four-pack — it comes with two straight and two curved straws, as well as a brush for cleaning. There are a few brands of metal straws out there, but the simplicity of the Greens Steels stood out to me. They are the right price and the right quantity. And “hyped” just about sums up how I feel about this purchase. I brought them to the office with me the day after they arrived, and immediately gave one to my office coffee buddy — who agrees that the straw is magnificent. Not only does it provide a cool, smooth sip, but it’s made from 100 percent pure food-grade stainless steel, so I’m not worried about any sort of trickle-down metal taste or adverse side effects.
I keep these in my tote bag (if you are worried about them getting dirty, I suggest a pencil pouch), and whip them up out whenever I’m at a coffee shop. Once at Starbucks, a talkative barista commented on my straw. “Hey, I’m with you,” he told me. “You’d hate to work here. You see how wasteful people are from behind this counter.” I’ll be gifting them to all of my friends for World Oceans Day on June 8.
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