Straws and more
Skip the cocktail accessories that go into the trash - plastic straws, napkins, and plastic garnish skewers if you can. If at a bar, ask the server to bring your drink without all the extras. Most bars are turning to more eco-friendly alternatives like bamboo and paper straws. You can also bring your own silicone straw or just go without.
Clean out your fridge
There are many ways to use citrus, fruits and herbs in mixology. It can help cut down on food waste while also elevating your cocktail game. If you're like us, the herbs in your fridge seem to go bad before they're used up. Try using them in a simple syrup or cordial.
Garnishing is the easiest way to use the peels of the citrus you add to cocktails. You can do citrus twists, roses, dehydrated wheels, and so much more. You can also save peels if you plan on making more cocktails throughout the week, just peel the citrus and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Herbs and fruits are also great for garnishing. If using a fruit that browns quickly (e.g., apples), just squeeze some lemon juice on them to keep the brown away. Sprigs of herbs look great sitting on a cocktail.
See our blog on garnishing for some easy ideas, but also don't be afraid to get creative with your own garnish style. https://www.spring44.com/post/garnishing-with-fruits-and-veg.
Shrubs are old school and often referred to as 'drinking vinegars'. They are non-alcoholic syrups. They contain a base of vinegar and sugar. There is a resurgence of shrubs among mixologists. These mixtures can add a a pucker to any cocktail and they are extremely customizable to what you have around the house. These are usually made with apple cider vinegar. However balsamic, sherry, or red wine vinegar also work well. Add vinegar and flavoring together in an airtight container and leave in a cool, dry place overnight. The next day, pour mixture into a saucepan and over medium-high heat reduce by half. Strain, add sugar or honey and stir till dissolved. Store in refrigerator.
Simple syrups are called simple for a reason (three ingredients and ten minutes) and add sweetness to cocktails. Many classic cocktails require simple syrups. The ration is 1:1 sugar and water. While heating those over the stove you can add herbs, spices, teas, fruits, and more to flavor your syrup. Strain and store in your refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Infusions are also super easy and only require your desired flavoring and a spirit. Vodka works great for infusions. Just add your flavoring agent (citrus wheels, herbs, spices, fruits, etc.) to an airtight container with your spirit and let sit in cool place till desired strength of flavor has been achieved. Strain if desired. Think of that last knob of ginger, the last few cinnamon sticks, that withered jalapeño pepper.
Decorative Ice can make a beautiful addition to a cocktail. To get clear ice boil the water first and let it cool. Once cool add desired fruits, herbs, or edible flowers to ice cube tray and freeze.
Muddling is adding the fruit directly to the cocktail. You can put those not-so-perfect berries in a cocktail shaker and pound lightly with sugar or herbs. Then add your other ingredients and shake well. Strain if you wish. We love a good Buckhorn Bramble ourselves. Check our website for the recipe.
Preserving with citric acid
Citric acid can help extend the life of your simple syrups. Bacteria has a difficult time growing in an acidic environment so if you want to make your syrups last longer either add a small squeeze of lemon or a pinch of powdered citric acid. Aside from cocktails, you can use this trick on your guacamole or apple slices to keep them from oxidizing and turning brown quickly.
Buy from local farms or grow your own ingredients
Often when you buy from local farms it involves less packaging, fresher more flavorful ingredients, and you get to support your community.
If you want the freshest herbs for your cocktail maybe try growing your own! Might take some research, soil, and seeds but it's rewarding to just pluck some rosemary or basil right when you need it. No need to drive to the store and no plastic bags used.
Finding sustainable brands
Support brands that are eco-friendly, whether it's through their purchasing practices, their packaging or their production processes. Spring44 is run by solar power at our 9,000 ft water spring. We use local and organic ingredients, including our honey and juniper berries. Being friendly to the planet is not an Earth Day promise but is rather a long-term commitment that requires constant engagement.