Above image: The Peel and Sip at Smoke & Mirrors in Singapore
Like how it is with the dining scene, there is often plenty of waste that goes on with cocktail making. Unwanted peels, unused fruit juice, and even single-use straws are unnecessarily discarded daily.
Sustainability-minded bars (such as Laut in Singapore and Penicillin in Hong Kong) have done their darndest to reduce such wastage, and more and more bars are becoming aware and doing their part to reduce waste.
This month of September though, bars have come together for a concerted effort under the Zero Waste Month banner. Together with Flor de Caña (probably the most sustainable spirits brand in the world), top bars from over 30 countries have come up with creations that exemplify how bar waste can be minimised.
They hope to bring greater attention towards food waste with this initiative, one sustainable cocktail at a time.
[Read more: Brass Lion Distillery gives out free cocktails as dine-in resumes in Singapore]
At newly opened Low Tide in Singapore for instance, they’ve created the Hopped Shrub Time Machine, which achieves zero waste by utilising every single part of the pineapple in the drink.
The pulp is fermented into a vinegar, then combined with acid and sugar to create a shrub that doesn’t spoil as quickly as fresh pineapple juice does, thus reducing the potential that it goes to waste. The skins of the pineapple meanwhile, are dehydrated and used as a garnish.
At art-inspired bar Smoke & Mirrors, their Peel and Sip makes full use of the humble banana. Here, the peel is macerated overnight in a sugar and salt mixture to get a syrup, creating the banana version of oleo saccharum, that’s usually derived from orange peel.
The pulp is then strained and dehydrated to create an edible candied banana garnish which they also use in the drink. The method helps prolong the shelf life of the garnish as well, so that there is less wastage overall.
[Read more: Think of bars and restaurants as regulated safe places, says Singapore Cocktail Bar Association]
At Wasteland (the irony of the name is appreciated) in Thailand, the country’s first sustainable bar, often-discarded cacao husk, which they get from a craft chocolate cafe in Bangkok, is used to create the Cocoa Cola.
This drink, an elevated version of the rum and coke, tones down the spice notes one often gets from the concoction, and gives it more of a chocolate hit using the upcycled husk.
The ways in which the bars achieve sustainability are myriad and the list goes on. What’s meaningful and important here is that even as bars are becoming more sustainable in their practices, we as consumers should applaud and support such establishments too.
So this Zero Waste Month, head on over to a bar near you that is taking part in this highly important initiative. Check out www.zerowastecocktails.com, and use their bar locator to find a participating bar in your country.