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Right now, the bar scene in Australia is grappling with the idea of sustainability. Some are calling it zero waste. Some are calling it anti waste. Some are simply doing the work of sustainable bartending without making too much of a fuss about it. If you've already tried a cocktail making class in Melbourne you'll know the bartending basics like how to mix, muddle and shake. However sustainable cocktails take this one step further, and are all about mixology with the least amount of impact on the Earth. In order to do this, bartenders are getting inventive with the way they use ingredients and adopting techniques like dehydration, fermentation and infusions to minimise wastage. Intrigued? Read on, because as it turns out, sustainable cocktails are not only good for the environment, but they’re absolutely delicious too.
Sustainability is a hard term to pin down. It can mean different things to different people. The WWF Australia has a pretty rounded definition that might help us better understand the sustainable cocktail movement. They say in order to promote sustainability, there are four main solutions to focus on:
Now, how does that translate to a cocktail? Well, there’s a lot that goes into a cocktail that you might not consider as being harmful to the environment. Consider the following ingredients and ask yourself whether they strike you as sustainable as the WWF Australia defines it:
As you can see, there are a lot of ways that a simple cocktail can have a negative impact on the environment. But don’t worry, the sustainable cocktail movement has already gathered momentum, and you can join!
In 2018, the vodka company, 42 BELOW, invited contestants from all over Australia and New Zealand to see who could make the most sustainable cocktail. Competitors came together for a Sustainable Cocktail Showcase to share their sustainability projects, and the most original and delicious sustainable cocktails were voted best. Winners, including bars from Sydney, Hobart, and Adelaide, won an eco trip to Bali to celebrate the victory. There were creative glasses made out of fruit. Foraged garnishes. And, while most drinks had no straw, the ones that did made sure to create highly degradable ones. If you want to learn more about how bars in your area are making their own contributions to the movement, make sure to check out Australian Bartender magazine. They have an entire online index of sustainable bartending with stories of trendsetting bars all over the country.
Whether you make your own cocktails at home or you like to go out for a nice drink every once in a while, you might be thinking about how you can make your own habits more sustainable. Here are a few ideas to get you started: