Sustainability isn’t the sexiest topic in the bar and restaurant industry, but it’s a necessary conversation we have to have if we plan on making any dents in our big, fat food waste problem. It wasn’t always an issue for bars, especially those who made the majority of their money slinging draught beers and shots. But when the craft cocktail movement rolled in, so did more and more perishable ingredients that simply end up in the garbage if they don’t make it into a drink in time. To help combat this issue, two award-winning, London-based bartenders launched Trash Tiki, an anti-waste cocktail initiative that tackles the topic of sustainability in a fun, irreverent way.
“We had a firsthand look at what the craft cocktail community was throwing away on a daily basis and realized that too many bars believe that it’s too big of a problem to turn around,” says Kelsey Ramage, co-founder of Trash Tiki and bartender at Dandelyan. “It’s about making small, easy changes while at the same time showing that you can still be loud, fast, and fun while making good drinks that don’t mess up the planet.”
Before a Trash Tiki event takes place, Ramage—along with co-founder Iain Griffiths of Mr Lyan—speaks with the host bar to find out what kinds of scraps they discard on a daily basis. From there, they whip the leftovers into shiny, new cocktail ingredients from cordials to infusions to syrups. And because they work with a diverse group of partners (think everything from ramen joints to tiki bars), each cocktail menu is wildly different from the one before.