Beverage directors and bartenders across the globe are looking closely at ways to reinvent—and reinvigorate—their cocktails in accordance with principles of sustainability. From environmentalism to economics and from creativity to taste, there’s a lot at stake.
Food waste and related issues are on the minds of restaurant executives and chefs, and the push to join the movement extends to all corners of the hospitality industry. Claire Sprouse is a Texas native who has worked in restaurants in Brooklyn, New York, and San Francisco. Sprouse is also the co-founder of Tin Roof Drink Community, a consultancy that works with restaurant owners, bartenders, and other hospitality groups to find more-sustainable practices. In Brooklyn, at Sprouse’s new restaurant and bar, Hunky Dory, she has created a cocktail program inspired by the principles of minimal waste.
In order to use all parts of an ingredient in their drinks (often referred to as “closed-loop cocktails”) bartenders and mixologists have to get creative. “It isn’t limiting,” Sprouse says. “It should inspire you to create new flavors.”
To that end, at Hunky Dory all parts of fruits and some vegetables are utilized. Peaches are dehydrated and pulsed in a blender with salt for an unexpected salt rim. Lemons and limes are juiced, then the rinds are washed and either dehydrated or soaked in water or sugar. They can then be turned into fruit-zest-infused salts and sugars, citrus cream, or citrus syrup.
Hunky Dory even makes a cocktail using old coffee grounds: The Stop and Stay is made with Averna, rum, and “old brew.” For Sprouse, the goal isn’t only to increase awareness of sustainability. This is, after all, a business of pleasure and taste. “These are new flavors,” she says. “And new learning opportunities.”