Trash Tiki: Bartending duo is bringing low-impact cocktails on world pop-up tour

Trash Tiki
© Trash Tiki

Ah, summer. It's that time of the year to head out for a camping roadtrip, invite friends over for a backyard BBQ, or lounge out on a bar patio somewhere with a fresh cocktail. But have you ever considered the environmental footprint of that cocktail, and how much wasted food these drinks can generate?

That's the lightbulb moment that the organizers of Trash Tiki -- an initiative that's serving up low-impact cocktails made from ingredients that would otherwise be discarded -- wants to inspire. Launched by London bartenders Iain Griffiths and Kelsey Ramage, Trash Tiki is currently touring cities around the world, bringing the message to bartenders and consumers everywhere that delicious cocktails don't have to be wasteful.

Trash Tiki© Trash Tiki

By the pair's estimate, bars on average throw out around eight bags of food waste every night -- and that's not including the packaging. The idea of building a more sustainable drinking culture starts with reducing food waste, says Ramage on Munchies:

By using the by-products of other bars or things that would be thrown away, we're not actually bringing in anything new. And while that's saving us throwing things away, we're also saving things that would be going in the garbage, which is saving a little bit of money. We're getting more uses out of the same thing.

Trash Tiki© Trash Tiki

For example, bartenders could save the parts of a pineapple that are usually thrown away, and ferment them to create a non-alcoholic soda-like drink called a tepache. Used coffee grounds and about-to-be-discarded-but-still-good almond croissants from a local café could be blended up with white rum into a delicious café orgeat. All manner of leftover fruit can be transformed into yummy, homemade syrups for alcoholic beverages, or even pink citrus-flavoured salt to line the rims of glasses. It is all about taking the time to find new ways to convert so-called "waste" into great but simple recipes, says Griffith:

It puts a value against something that as a society we're always assuming is a zero-value product. Look at bars: we're all guilty of just turning round and lobbing stuff in the bin straight away without realizing how much flavour we're tossing out at times.

Trash Tiki© Trash Tiki

Even though the duo say it's difficult for bars to go completely zero-waste, the idea is to at least reduce the amount that being sent to landfills, and to get people thinking (and probably a bit tipsy) in the process. It's a pretty ingenious way to show those sometimes-abstract principles of sustainability, reuse and zero-waste in action -- with a bit of fun thrown in.

Trash Tiki is on tour, with upcoming pop-up-style stops in New York, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, Sao Paolo and Mexico City -- visit their website to find out if and when they may come to a bar near you, or check out the recipes.

Tags: Recipes | Waste | Zero Waste

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