1. Create cordials and shrubs
Making cocktails often requires the use of citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes, with the spent husks usually thrown away after juicing. Often these fruits are imported from all over the globe creating a large carbon footprint. We recommend making the most out of your citrus fruits by creating your own shrubs and cordials.
Before you juice your citrus fruits, wash them in warm water to remove any wax and use a Y-peeler or sharp knife to remove the fruit peel. Make sure the skin is thin with minimal amounts of pith and combine with sugar in a kilner jar for a few days. This draws out the zesty essential oils from the skins to create a beautifully sweet oleo saccharum (Latin for oil-sugar). Combining this with some of the citrus juice and water can create a cordial or with the addition of a vinegar, turned into a shrub.
2. Mint stalk syrup
With the Mojito being one of the most popular cocktails to make at home or enjoy in a bar, we go through lots of mint mixing up delicious and refreshing cocktails. Many people pick mint leaves and discard the stalks however, mint stalks can provide great complexity to a simple yet elegant sugar syrup.
Dehydrating is a great way to preserve fruit and ingredients that you might not get round to using all at once. Perhaps you have some grapefruits left over from making Palomas or you overbought lemons for your cocktail night? So why not create some cool edible garnishes for the next time! Dehydrators can be expensive, but you can just as easily do it in your oven.
For citrus fruits, pop your oven onto the lowest setting, between 60-80oC, and place your sliced fruit about 5cm thick onto a lined sheet pan for up to 8-10 hours. When trying to dehydrate apples or pears, you can use a higher temperature, approximately 100 oC, but make sure you’re there to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
4. Grow your own
As soon as fruits and herbs are picked, they begin to lose flavour and aroma. So by growing your own, you are going to have delicious, fresh ingredients all while reducing your carbon footprint! Next time you visit your supermarket, choose to pick up potted herbs instead and create your own little kitchen garden. We have some great tips on growing your own here.
5. Reusable straws
Drinking at home and in bars is fun but we may not realise how much waste we create from our lovely libations. One of the biggest wastes in cocktails is the amount of plastic we consume in the form of straws, so it is time to try reusable. Every year, it is estimated that we consume 8.5 billion single use plastic straws are thrown away in the UK, most of which end up in landfill or accumulating offshore. Pick up a metal or bamboo reusable straws as not only do they reduce our use of single use plastic but they’re also easy to clean and now come in all sorts of colours and can be personalised.