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8 Ways to Shake Up a More Eco-Conscious Cocktail at Home

July 25, 2022 by Anna-Bet Stemmet

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What on earth are sustainable cocktails and do you really need to be using eco-friendly drinking straws? Here’s a concise look at the rise of sustainable cocktail recipes and why you should be loving this trend as a citizen of Planet Earth.  

What are sustainable cocktails?

Close view of a home mixologist making a sustainable cocktail using seasonal strawberries

Sustainable cocktails are made in a way that minimises your environmental impact while still creating delicious drinks. This includes everything from using eco-friendly barware to being mindful of the ingredients you choose and how much waste you produce.

Here are some key aspects of sustainable cocktail-making:

  • Reduced waste. Minimising waste through techniques like using every part of an ingredient and opting for reusable items.
  • Local and seasonal ingredients. Choosing fruits, herbs, and spirits produced locally to reduce transportation emissions.
  • Water conservation. Being mindful of water usage during preparation and opting for water-efficient techniques.
  • Energy efficiency. Using energy-efficient appliances for tasks like making ice.

By incorporating these practices, you can enjoy your cocktails guilt-free, knowing you’re doing your part for the environment.

Read next: 30 Cocktails to Make the Most of Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables

1. Wave goodbye to the straw

Cocktails without straws

The plastic straw might be a regular guest in classic cocktails, but it’s also very bad for the planet. It is currently projected that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea if we keep going at the rate that we are. At the moment, approximately 8 million plastic straws are thrown away every day in the United States alone.  The easy solution here is to opt for reusable eco-friendly drinking straws from bamboo or stainless steel when you make cocktails at home.  

2. Celebrate local ingredients

Extreme close up of a person holding a handful of fresh strawberries in a light bright home environment

Consuming locally is always better. This also shows that you’re willing to spend a little more to deliver a drink for your guests. More and more people are attached to sustainable ingredient provenance, and knowing that what is in their glass does not come from the other side of the world, but from the trader next door, is a plus. This is the basic groundwork we need to lay to create and develop sustainable cocktail recipes. You vote for or against the planet every time you open your wallet! When you know that freight emissions can represent half of the carbon footprint of a cocktail, it makes you think… 

Read next: Vegan Cocktails: Explore Vegan Spirits in 2024

3. Shop & shake seasonally

Use seasonal produce in cocktails

The same logic regarding sustainable cocktails applies here. Respecting the season must be a priority. Instead of choosing a cocktail at random and then hunting down the ingredients at your grocery store, rather see what’s in season at the moment and base your cocktail choices on that. This way you will be able to get ripe, fresh fruit from your own region and you’ll pay less as well.  

4. Make your own ice

Close up of a person making clear ice cubes in a tray

Instead of buying bags of ice every time you want to make cocktails at home, make your own instead. There are a variety of molds available on the market, including very durable metal molds with levers that make the ice easier to dislodge.  

Go pro! How to Make Clear Ice for Your Favorite Drinks

5. Use everything

Use every part of the fruit when you make cocktails

Make your objective to throw away as little as possible. Use every element of an ingredient. For instance, if you only need the peel of an orange for your Cosmopolitan, squeeze the juice and freeze it in cubes to use later. Or make syrup! Herbs can be used to infuse oils, fruit scraps can be used to make vinegar – there is always a way to be thriftier.  

6. Infusions

Bottles of vinegar syrup outdoors

Infusions allow you to capture the essence of peak-season fruits and herbs and enjoy their flavours throughout the year. Stock up on seasonal ingredients when they’re abundant and affordable, and infuse them into your favorite spirits, such as SKYY Vodka, Bulldog Gin, or Appleton Estate Rum. Think strawberry-infused vodka for summer cocktails or rosemary-infused gin for winter warmers! This way you can savour those vibrant flavours long after the season has passed.

7. Dehydration

Top view of sliced figs ready for dehydration to make sustainable cocktails

Dehydration breathes new life into leftover ingredients. Instead of tossing out citrus peels, apple cores, or leftover herbs, dehydrate them and create beautiful and flavourful garnishes. Dehydrated orange peels add a zesty touch to an Old Fashioned, while dehydrated fig slices can add a sweet and crunchy element to a Mediterranean-inspired cocktail.

8. Fermentation

Berry Shrub Syrup

Fermentation is a fascinating process that uses microorganisms to transform fruits and vegetables into new and exciting flavours. This age-old technique can be harnessed to create unique ingredients for your sustainable cocktail repertoire. Overripe or bruised produce can be transformed into delicious fermented ingredients like shrubs (fruit vinegar) or even homemade creations like fermented fruit wines.

Learn more: Why Fermented Cocktails are Growing in Popularity (+15 of our Favorites to Try)

There you have it, besties – eight easy ways to make more sustainable cocktails at home. Sign up for our newsletter to receive more inspiration like this straight in your inbox.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

‘Sustainable cocktails’ is a term used to refer to mixed drinks that are made in a way that carefully considers waste and environmental impact. For instance, mixologists with a sustainable outlook will use locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in their drinks, and aim to use little or no single-use plastic in the process.

A zero-waste cocktail is a drink that is made in a way that minimizes waste. As such, the mixologist or DIY drinks maker will be sure to use every bit of the ingredients they gather to make the drink in an inventive and sustainable way. For instance, if they need lime zest, they will take care to squeeze out the juice of the lime and freeze it for future use, and compost the rest of the fruit fibers.

Use locally-sourced, seasonally available ingredients and steer clear of any single-use plastics, such as plastic straws.

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