Closed-loop cocktail initiatives offer imbibers a new take on sustainable alcohol

The food and beverage industry is undergoing a major shift toward more eco-friendly practices, which we’ve charted in various Dailies about new (and interesting) sustainability initiatives. Now, the following entities are pioneering sustainable cocktail programs that involve upcycling food scraps from other dishes into creative cocktail ingredients.


Trash Tiki collects what other bars and restaurants deem as waste and upcycles these scraps into creative cocktail ingredients—all in an effort to ultimately make closed-loop cocktails mainstream. Trash Tiki recreates classic cocktails like a Mai Tai crafted with a stock that has been infused with leftover almond croissants(!), lime scraps, and orange peels, along with with rum-infused, discarded pistachio shells. Not only does Trash Tiki upcycle food and drink scraps, but the company also reuses boxes for transporting ingredients and turns them into cardboard coasters. In two short years, Trash Tiki has grown from an intimate basement party into an international event series that has traveled to nearly 100 cities.


Hunky Dory, a trendy, all-day cafe in the heart of Brooklyn, is reinventing the way it uses and reuses cocktail ingredients. Owner Claire Sprouse carefully considers how scraps from one dish can be repurposed as a garnish for a cocktail, minimizing waste and maximizing creativity. For example, when Hunky Dory opened in the winter, the cafe used seasonally-available carrots instead of using out-of-season or canned tomatoes as the base for its Bloody Mary. And rather than force its sustainability dogma onto patrons who might not know where or how to start such practices on their own, Hunky Dory hopes its menu will inspire customers to rethink their own food scrap reuse at home.


True to its name, San Diego-based Bar Green upcycles unfinished cocktails and barely-eaten snacks into creative ingredients. Bar Green’s menu includes a weekly Magical Mystery Pour as one of its many creative upcycling techniques. In this offering, leftover liquids from drinks like a Daquiri or a Martini are collected in a resealable vessel before the contents are redistilled into a neutral spirit base and used in Bar Green’s special drink of the week. Bar Green’s interesting take on sustainability hits home with Millennials’ dual passion points around creative eco-friendly initiatives and innovation within the alcohol space.