You may have heard about cooking with your leftovers, but how about drinking them? Two London-based bartenders are introducing the world to that idea via Trash Tiki, a zero-waste cocktail pop-up (coming to a city near you!)
Kelsey Ramage and Iain Griffiths are experienced mixologists, but they admit the sustainable side of cocktail making wasn't something they were aware of until they teamed up with chef Dan Barber for wastED London earlier this year. “It was kind of serendipitous really,” says Griffiths. “We noticed more people were becoming aware of food waste in the dining world but there was still a big gap in the drinks world.”
What began as a side project late last year became a full-blown initiative as Ramage and Griffiths decided to take Trash Tiki on tour. Joining forces with sustainable spirit makers Fords Gin, and bars and restaurants worldwide, the two are spreading the word on how delicious and accessible anti-waste drinking can be. Last month, they kicked off their North American tour -- catch them in New York next week, with Chicago, Detroit, and other cities to follow.
“We wanted to prove that you don’t need to be an extreme eco-warrior to do something,” Ramage said. “It’s about making small, easy changes while showing you can still be fast and fun -- and make good drinks that don’t mess up the planet!”
Before each bar takeover, Ramage explains they reach out beforehand to see what and how much of it is being tossed out on the regular. “We try to use everything that’s available and get as much flavor out of it all,” she says. “If we need something the host bar doesn’t have, we may even have them reach out to other local bars for anything in excess.”
To date, their waste-free craft concoctions have featured ginger pulp, lime husk stock, fermented pineapple scraps, and various citrus leftovers. They’ve even used coffee grounds to infuse syrups. And while Ramage and Griffiths often arrive at each bar with recipe ideas in tow, inspiration leads to new creations along the way. “One really cool one was taking leftover herb stems, dehydrating them, and then blitzing into a powder to make a nice cordial. Typically, you’d overlook things like mint, considering them as being just for garnish.”
The Trash Tiki tour includes events for the public as well as those exclusive to the bar industry, and hopes to spark sustainable dialogue for bars and restaurants everywhere. Griffith describes their goal simply: “Ideally, at the end of all this, enough bars will start becoming more anti-waste and we won't have to do the tour again!”