Earth Day Drinks News & Sustainability Tips

Thursday 22nd April is Earth Day, a day dedicated worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

With the cocktail and spirits industries early leaders in the field of sustainability and environmental awareness it will come of no surprise to you to hear that many brands, bars and bartenders are getting involved. We’ve picked three of these numerous initiatives to share with you:

Cocktails & Charity

First up is a charity push created by Alex Fatho-Bland of Place of the Way entitled ‘Adopt from the Most Endangered Cocktail Menu in the World’. He has teamed up bartenders with endangered animals and asked them (the bartenders that is, everyone knows sea turtles have shit pallets) to come up with a cocktail representing the animal and embodying what it means to be ‘World’s Best’.

These one-off bottled cocktails are being auction via Whisky.Auction’s website and all funds raised will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund. The line-up of names bartending types who have taken time to get involved is pretty impressive:

Anna Sebastian (The Artesian), Marion Zoelle & Angelo Sparvoli (Kwant), Jason-Candid Knusel & Stefano Bussi (The Nomad London), Chelsie Bailey (Happiness Forgets), Alan Sherwood (Little Mercies), Elvis Birbalas (The Cocktail Trading Co.), Alex Godfrey (Callooh Callay), Luca Cicalese (Roots), Marian Beke (The Gibson), Cressida Lawlor (London Cocktail Club), Victor Barascu (Nine Lives), Paul Mathew (Everleaf Drinks Founder), Julian De Feral, Ian Burrell and Camille Vidal.

So, if you fancy getting your hands on a one-off bottled cocktail by one of the lovely people above as well as helping to save endangered animals then head to the Whisky.Auction’s website and get bidding. The auction is open now until 27th April. They are also organising a get together (all Covid safe of course) on Thursday at ROOTS bar in Stratford, London, if you fancy going you can book a spot at the ROOTS website.

Climate Positive Brand

Since it was launched in 2019 Avallen Spirits has always had its good eye on the environment with a launch pledge to plant 10,000 plants in their first 3 years in business. Founders Stephanie Jordan & Tim Etherington-Judge have taken it a step further by announcing that their calvados brand, Avallen, is now officially a Climate Positive brand.

They have released a ‘Bee More Report’, ‘a completely transparent document that sets a benchmark by revealing exactly how much progress the brand has made so far on its mission to tackle the climate emergency, along with its future commitments to both people and the planet.’. If you want to check out the full report, including third party verified data, then head here.

The headlines of the report are pretty impressive. Each bottle of Avallen produced removes 2.73kg of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere, if like me that means nothing to you it is apparently the equivalent to the emissions caused by driving an average UK car 13 miles. They are also committed to water saving initiatives resulting in it taking only 1.2 litres of water to produce one bottle of Avallen (as opposed to an average of 30 litres for a bottle of bourbon).

The report is a really interesting read if you are interested in climate issues and if you want more info on Avallen you can check out their website.

Sustainability Tips & Serves For Bars

When it launched last year Ten Locks were unashamedly open about sustainability being important when choosing brands for their portfolio. As a result, it was no surprise to hear from them in the lead up to Earth Day with some great tips and serves (and good old fashion product plugs) from their very own Becky Davies alongside some other industry folk. Over to Becky and the gang:

Around 45% of customers are now actively interested in buying products that are better for the environment, with four out of ten keeping environmental issues in mind when purchasing. New drinks coming into the market are being created to resonate with those seeking to project a sense of self and are exercising their power and voice through the brands they buy.

With brands pushing boundaries and presenting bartenders with what they need to raise standards, the message ‘little steps make a big difference’ has never been more fitting when it comes to in-venue action.

Top tips to getting sustainability on the agenda in your outlet 

Appoint an eco-officer in chief 

Have a dedicated point person and ensure the whole team knows about their role and its importance. The trade is bursting with natural born leaders, self-starters and proactive people who care about their work, so inspire one team member to take charge of easily implemented actions and rallying the troops. Overtime, small acts will become part of the everyday for all team members… and then you can up your game! – Becky Davies 

Back the right brands

I’ve seen first-hand how bars hunt out incredible spirits and craft brands with real authenticity. Many are going a step further, and sourcing brands that are actively considering their impact to the environment via sustainable working or production practices or giving back to a charity. The gold standard here is those with the rare status of B Corp – such as Applewood Gin – or companies paying back into the community such as New World Trading. The company’s Good Egg Society is a collective of brilliant humans who help support, look after and fundraise for local and national charities. Getting behind those that are taking strides forward is an easy way to create to a better drinks industry. – Becky Davies  

 Education is king  

Have a hard look at your range and drinks menus and question if simple edits can make a difference to your bottom line and environmental footprint. Start by having one amazing brand on a pedestal – get everyone behind it and excited about it. With the right education around why it’s so special, you’ll empower your team to sell brands that truly matter. – Becky Davies 

The right stuff  

Invest in a dehydrator. They’re a relatively cheap piece of equipment that can help to reuse ingredients, whether it aids in making a garnish or drying out a ‘waste’ product from an infusion to be used again. It also fuels creativity – sometimes we just dehydrate ‘waste’ products to see what they can be reused for. – Johnathan Moncur, bartender at Manchester’s Speak in Code

A zero waste mindset   

Place a zero waste mindset at the heart of your drinks creation. I always aim to repurpose ingredients from behind the bar and seek to use all elements of it rather than it going to waste. – Rachel Orange, bartender at Schofield’s Bar 

Two serves to save the day

Earth Day serve by Johnathan Moncur, bartender at Manchester’s Speak in Code*  

60ml Applewood Coral Gin
10ml dry vermouth (coconut oil fat washed)
10ml fennel & jasmine cordial

Stir, serve on block ice and garnish with coconut meringue and coconut sea life jellies

What’s good about it
Moncur says: “Everything usable had a use; the water is made into a sweet jelly garnish, the flesh is blended with a small amount of water to make coconut milk before being filtered and left at room temp for 24 to 36 hours in a fridge so the curds and oil separate from the milk, then the oil is used to fat wash the Coral Gin and vermouth.

“Leftover milk and the flesh is then heated in a sous vide cooker for two hours on a low heat to extract all remaining flavour before being turned into a 2:1 syrup which is used to make the meringue.

“So from one single coconut there’s water, oil and syrup (with the syrup benefitting from a longer shelf life too).

“I wanted the gin to shine with all its tropical flavours, so it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. It’s punchy, fragrant and smooth all at the same time.”

*Created by Johnathan for Earth Day only, and not for sale in venue.

Earth Day serve by Rachel Orange, Head Bartender at Schofield’s Bar *

Core ingredients
30ml Applewood Gin
15ml SCHOFIELD’S Dry Vermouth
10ml champagne & thyme cordial top tonic
Sprig of thyme

Champagne & thyme cordial ingredients
200ml flat Champagne
100ml caster sugar
1 lemon
1 sprig of thyme

Pour the Champagne into a pan and bring to a simmer, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat, add thyme sprig and cover the pan with a lid. Allow to cool completely. Once cool squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Mix and bottle

What’s good about it
“It’s created with repurposing at heart. I took some champagne that had gone flat, and used it for the cordial. You still get the champagne flavour coming through, and you’ve simultaneously minimised wastage.

“You can make some really incredible ingredients, such as syrups, cordials, or even sorbet by adopting this mindset. They’re super easy to make, you get great flavours, and you’re doing your bit to reduce waste.

*Created by Rachel for Earth Day only, and not for sale in venue.

 Five things to do right now in your venue right now 

  1. Develop a sustainable cocktail list that is more in harmony with nature and the seasons, where possible, and using all elements of core ingredients to their full potential
  2. Source produce from the local grocer to pay back into a local economy
  3. Look at everything with a zero-waste mindset; repurpose, reuse and put less in the bin
  4. Eliminate single use plastics – replacing pens with pencils is a no brainer
  5. Embrace technology and go paperless – you’ll be more efficient and use less paper

To find out more about Ten Locks and check out their portfolio head to their website