If one thing was apparent at the world's largest booze industry conference Tales of the Cocktail, which we just happened to attend over the weekend in New Orleans, it's that sustainability is currently at the forefront of the cocktail industry's collective mind-set. That's a good thing, because it's pretty evident that bars waste a lot of produce, and go through plastic straws and cups like nobody's business — in 2015 a scientific case study of the "foodprint" of San Francisco's famed Mission Chinese found that the restaurant's annual carbon dioxide emissions were around 600 tons, the same that would be produced by 105 cars on the road, with beverages accounting for 16 percent of those emissions. There haven't even been specific studies of bars' emissions alone, not that you can easily find by Internet sleuthing anyway, but bartenders and booze professionals are becoming adamant about curbing waste.
Among the most sought-out events at this year's Tales was something called Trash Tiki, a boozy party sponsored by Fords Gin that utilized ingredients on the verge of turning — mushy or ugly fruits that would normally be tossed out, herbs that might look smashed or frazzled, that sort of deal. The party itself was almost trashed, as it took place at a rooftop pool area at the same time as a deluge, four inches of rain in one hour, which turned much of the Big Easy into a flooded mess on Saturday.
But Tales revelers simply moved inside to get a taste of these tasty "trash" drinks.
If you weren't blessed with a trip to New Orleans this past week to partake in the booze fest, you're still in luck. The founders of Trash Tiki are actually taking this pop-up party on the road, and the first stop, from July 29 to July 31, is at none other than Ninja Ramen, 4219 Washington.
Trash Tiki was actually created by London-based award-winning bartenders Kelsey Ramage of Dandelyan and Iain Griffiths of Mr Lyan — which, for all you non-cocktail geeks out there, is basically the first bar in the world not to use perishables, including fruit or ice, in its drinks, making for extremely low waste. The duo also founded the popular WastED London pop-up with highly acclaimed, award-winning chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Farms, as a means to address the issue of mass consumption that the booming craft cocktail industry has created.
The duo's collaboration with Fords Gin also seems a given, as the booze brand is incredibly sustainably minded, reducing its carbon footprint by shipping its gin in bulk to northern California, where it's then bottled in reusable packaging featuring removable labels and a scale for bartenders to use for batching.
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All in all, if you want to sample the future of bartending, then Ninja Ramen is the place to be on July 29 and 30, beginning at 6 p.m. when Ramage and Griffiths will make tiki drinks-for-purchase inspired by (and utilizing) the restaurant's food waste.
On the afternoon of July 31, the duo will pair up with Fords Gin’s Jason Kosmas to lead an educational seminar for the bartending industry on anti-waste cocktails.
Needless to say, the only thing getting trashed here will likely be your Tinder date.
For more information, head to trashtikisucks.com.