Cocktails were inherently viewed as a luxury commodity, and few of us considered the environmental impact each order had on the planet. Whether it is plastic straws, napkins, lemon and lime skins, ice or water, not forgetting the crops harvested for spirit distillation and the energy needed to do so. However, as we evolved, the education and the technology pitched in and provided us with various alternatives and parameters to judge the impact.
The word ‘sustainability’ has slowly but surely made it to the Food and Beverage dictionary, and continues to dilate it’s presence. Various bars around the world have taken up the charge for the motion and expect the others to follow. India has been ramping up with the progress too, and our very own trend setters are in for the rove.
- Paasha, JW Marriot Hotel, Pune.
Bartender Rohan Rege is working to promote sustainability in his own way. He swears by online resources like Trash Tiki — which shares ideas on reducing waste — and is realistic about the broad habits of the industry. The use of canned juices and syrups has been eliminated to cut down on transportation of ingredients from far away, and reduce plastic packaging. The tasting straws are no more in use.
2. Aallia-owned restaurants, Mumbai :
Arth, A Bar Called Life, Bastian and One Street Over have also been the stalwarts in this eco-friendly process. The use of bamboo, paper and metal straws is put in place, and condensed milk tins and similar tins are used as cocktail glasses. Coming to the ingredients themselves, orange slices are used in drinks. The leftovers are put to dehydrate every Friday and Saturday, for nearly 60 days. Then they are used for garnishing.
For their signature cocktails, they use mint infused bourbon, and the infusion is done by using the mint stems, instead of just discarding it.
To reduce their carbon footprint, they focus on using local ingredients, and have changed the recipe of a number of cocktails to meet this ideal. Bushi mushrooms cocktail usually uses mushrooms indigenous to Latin America and Europe whereas these bars use Kashmiri morels instead.
3. [email protected] in Gurugram
has designed menus with cocktails based on single ingredients, which includes utilising all parts of the ingredients leading to zero waste. For instance with an orange, the juice can be used for cocktails body, zest for the flavour and skin to garnish. The focus is more towards the use of the seasonal product’s rather than stretching out and adversely affecting the environment.
4. Olive Bar and Kitchen, Mumbai
is working on their Upcycled Espresso Martini. The restaurant says that the ‘zero waste’ concept is a great “cost controlling exercise”. “It does require a lot of effort and preparation, however it really does push the creative side of bartending further than just mixing flavours”. For the Upcycled Espresso Martini, the restaurant uses recycled coffee grains to make an in-house coffee liqueur. The restaurant also uses citrus from daily fresh juices (lime, lemon, pink grapefruit and orange), which are trimmed into small rinds and made into a marmalade.
5. Hello Guppy, Mumbai
The trimmings of cucumber from the kitchen at Hello Guppy are used to make one of their signature cocktails — Fisherman’s Tonics. The restaurant says the cucumber trimmings are muddled to add flavour to the drink. The cocktail, which was on the menu since the restaurant’s opening day — June 2017, is made using gin and elderflower cordial. It is then shaken with freshly muddled cucumber, lime and lime leaves, which are strained into an iced glass topped with tonic.
6. W Goa, Goa
A recent innovation on this restaurant’s cocktail menu — The Bee’s Silk, is a sustainable cocktail made using a base of corn silk infused whiskey, wherein instead of disposing off the husk from the corn it is infused with whiskeys. The honey for the drink is sourced from a local vendor, which is claimed to be taken “straight from the hive”. Muddled homegrown basil leaves add warmth to the cocktail. Freshly squeezed lime juice is then added to top off the cocktail, while the lemon peels, after it has been squeezed, are used for the garnish. “It’s a small effort in order to save the planet from added waste,” says Ved Thakur, the restaurant’s mixologist. He adds, “Citrus is known to be the most common and most wasted ingredient”.
A greener cocktail era is standing at our doorstep. It is up to us to act towards this much needed change.