Zero waste cocktails, 100% creative mixologists

By Abi Englefield, One Planet Plate, Global Project Manager

As part of our partner rum brand Flor de Caña’s ongoing pledge to reduce waste and help fight climate change, they have launched Zero Waste Cocktails. It’s a campaign aimed at engaging bars and restaurants around the world to serve up delicious sustainable cocktails made from repurposed ‘food waste’. The goal is to reduce more than 15 tonnes of food waste globally and help build a greener future for everyone.

Last week saw the final of the UK leg of Flor de Caña’s Zero Waste Cocktail competition at Trailer Happiness in London’s Notting Hill. Ten bartenders across the UK created inspirational cocktails using creative ways to reduce waste. This included a cocktail served with frozen avocado stones instead of ice, a cordial made from foraged sea herbs and garnishes made from various waste products. 

Congratulations to ​​the UK winner Sean Cavanagh from Panda and Sons in Edinburgh. His cocktail returned to the roots of his bartending when he used to drink Rum and apple juice regularly. He wanted to create a sustainable and elevated drink where every aspect of the ingredients was used and nothing was wasted. He used local produce to reduce C02 emissions and techniques such as freeze concentration and freeze drying to utilise preservation.

Post finals, we sat down with Georgi Radev, Flor de Caña Sustainability Ambassador and owner of Laki Kane in Islington, as he shook up his Zero Waste Cocktail “Flor De La Vida” and discussed the importance of sustainability within the bar industry and working together to make a positive impact on the planet.

What was the inspiration behind your cocktail? 

In Spanish it means the flower of life, a geometric symbol of creation and the cycle of life – which is what sustainability is. It isn’t a destination. It is a way of life. 

Laki Kane’s Flor de la Vida

Do you think bartenders have a moral responsibility to work more sustainably? 

It is important that businesses make sustainable changes for the right reasons and not just because it is currently “trendy”. Being a more sustainable business is an ongoing commitment. Across all elements of your business, you should have a sustainable mindset, no matter what you are purchasing. 

What advice would you give to bar owners/bartenders to be more sustainable? 

  • Look at your supply chain and look at who you are working with. Question that, and question where they are getting produce/how they work as a business.
  • If you are attached to a restaurant look at what waste product you can use from the kitchen. Chefs and Bartenders should work together to support each other in reducing waste.
  • On the operations side – digitising menus or creating less perishable menus where you print less.
  • Find other businesses locally to you where you can reuse their ‘waste’.
  • Laki Kane works with local juice bar Lime & Ginger, using their left over mango skin and seeds to create a mango Oleo-Saccharum. We also use their pineapple leaves and banana skin for garnishes. 

What do you do to reduce waste at Laki Kane? 

As a tropical bar, we have a challenge when it comes to sourcing our tropical juices for many of our cocktails. We use local suppliers wherever possible. And to overcome purchasing tropical juices we use frozen pulp with minimal packaging. Using only what we need as we need it. 

What bars do you see do great things with sustainability? 

Nine Lives on Bermondsey Street, London are doing great things with sustainability. Their name Nine Lives refers to an ethos of salvation – unveiled treasures, nothing wasted, everything lovingly sourced and selected with intention.

Head over to the One Planet Plate website to find the best of the zero waste cocktail recipes.

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