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Sustainability Award 2024

Mother Cocktail Bar

Long before he even had a lease, Massimo Zitti, Mother Cocktail Bar’s founder, was making plans for a space rooted in eco-friendly practices that included foraging, local sourcing, seasonal cocktail programs and finding a second, third or even fourth use for anything and everything.

Fermentation is a very clever way to reuse ingredients and offer something completely different” Mother Cocktail Bar founder Massimo Zitti

Often as not, his zero-waste initiatives rely on fermentation, a traditional “waste not, want not” method for making fizzy drinking that utilizes everything from pineapple husks to whey. “Fermentation is a very clever way to reuse ingredients and offer something completely different,” notes Zitti.

The bartenders use these novel tepaches and kombuchas as ingredients in cocktails or as part of the bar’s impressive non-alcoholic program. Here’s an example of a cocktail in which every flourish and flavour is a product of the bar’s sustainability program.

CORN ’N’ OIL

At Toronto’s Mother Cocktail Bar, sustainability is not a trend; it is part of their DNA. This drink deconstruction traces the thinking and processes behind a single sustainable cocktail.

This cocktail takes a super simple Caribbean classic (dark rum, falernum syrup, lime and bitters) and transforms it into a complex and aromatic oak-aged drink.

  • Sustainable falernum uses ginger scraps, spent tea and pineapple husk.
  • Tepache reduction rescues flat tepache (fermented pineapple soda) and turns it into a syrup.
  • House-made ice saves on the gas that would be used for delivery. Blemished ice is used for stirring and shaking drinks.
  • Pineapple dust is made from leftover fruit pulp, dehydrated and upcycled into a low-impact garnish.
  • Seasoned oak barrels, sourced locally and from France, are reused often (30-plus cocktail batches per cask).
  • Flor de Caña Rum is a carbon-neutral and Fair Trade–certified base spirit.
  • Beeswax infusion adds a long-lasting floral flavour profile and buttery texture.

—CHRISTINE SISMONDO

Photography by Gwenola Seignoux


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