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Sustainable Cocktail Anyone?

sustainable cocktails

Sustainable cocktails are the eco-friendly future of drinking.

Having a cocktail is a great way to unwind, but take the beer goggles off and you realize that it’s a full-scale drain on the environment. Frightening stat: the resources used (and wasted) during the long alcohol production process (distillation, maturation, transportation, bottles, packaging) could feed a large country.

Alongside the growth of the craft-cocktail movement has come an increased awareness of the impact our drinks are having on the environment.   Mixologists and bartenders produce a lot of waste. From fresh fruit garnishes and herbs, to water for ice from energy-guzzling ice machines, to bottle recycling, your typical cocktail bar is a waste machine.

Spirit makers and bar owners are now finding new ways, not only to reduce waste, but to eliminate waste entirely. The bar at the forefront of the sustainable cocktail trend is the White Lyan in London, England.  They repurpose their booze bottles, don’t use ice (they pre-bottle their drinks for the night) and use citrus acid powders and vinegars instead of fresh fruit.   The result? The number of bottles it sends for recycling is down to 24 a week – the average bar recycles up to three 300-litre bins’ worth.

“If you look at the cocktail part, you see hedonism and fun,” says owner Ryan Chetiyawardana. “Then you look at the philosophy and ethics that drives us to be so DIY and thorough about what we use and how we use it. All seeds of change need to be sown – what’s needed is a nugget of an idea and people willing to take that risk to try it. We’d like to persuade a classically led bar to not accept the status quo, to think deeply about what they do, and make changes to push them ahead.”

Lest you think that sustainable cocktails are all work and no play, have a look at the White Lyan’s incredible cocktail menu.  One Electric Daisy (tequila, turbo-charged lemon, electric stonefruit brandy) and a Meadow Spritz (meadow flower liqueur, bitters and white grape soda) please.

Here’s to hoping that sustainable cocktails and zero-waste bars arrive in Canada soon.