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Nothing takes the air out of happy hour like lofty sustainability talk fogging up your Gin & Tonic, especially when the plastic straw you’re chewing on has a strong chance of becoming fish food. Those discussions are becoming more common, though, as the bar world steadily acknowledges its impact on the environment.
Bartenders are rethinking the carbon footprint associated with slinging drinks and doing everything from forgoing plastic straws to using previously discarded ingredients, such as lime peels and cherry pits, in their creations, .
The pop-up and online platform Trash Tiki, for example, created a recipe for citrus stock as a way to make the most of the those ubiquitous lemons and limes used in cocktails. (Yes, thinking of your footprint means factoring in that citrus is usually shipped from far away, squeezed for its juice and the bulk of the fruit itself discarded.)
If you’re looking to sip more sustainably, these four eco-friendly cocktails are a solid place for a green start.
This drink by Kim Stodel of Providence in Los Angeles is a hybrid of a Margarita and a Paloma, made with tequila, dry curaçao, guava, lime juice and grapefruit juice. Stodel makes her own guava syrup, a process that results in a lot of guava pulp. Throw it away? Nope. Instead, Stodel repurposes the pulp to make the cocktail’s fruit-leather garnish.
In this room-temperature cocktail by Justin Lavenue at The Roosevelt Room in Austin, dried lemon peels and cassia bark are set alight to smoke the cocktail. And, yes, the absence of ice means the drink requires much less energy output to assemble.
Making your own vinegar from wine is easy. The team at Fish & Game, in New York’s Hudson Valley, has made it part of their philosophy to reuse what they can, including old vino. They adapted this gin and ginger swizzle to give it a deep-red float made from homemade red wine vinegar. Next time you’re left with a little juice at the bottom of a wine bottle, give your own vinegar a try.
Schuyler Hunton of Tiger Mama, in Boston, was tired of watching the compost pile grow night after night, so she did something about it. This gin-based cocktail is made from lime peels, carbonated coconut water (from coconuts the bar typically uses to make Tiki cups) and the oft-discarded syrup from the Luxardo cherry jar, for a tall drink that’s bright, refreshing and easy on your conscience.