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Sustainability: Making Your Bar Items Go the Extra Mile

Sustainability has become a buzzword. I personally very rarely use this phrase on its own. Once upon a time replacing your plastic straws with paper versions gave you real green credentials, but no longer! I believe in fact that responsibility, not sustainability, should be the core message for bars and restaurants moving forward. Especially as true sustainability and zero waste is almost impossible.


Modern bar programs can and should be hacked, tweaked, and manipulated to reduce waste, reuse any waste materials produced and maximise ingredient usage alongside recycling organic and non-organic waste whilst rethinking methods, techniques and processes to elevate the status quo of drink making.

The Wilderness has one of the most responsible and sustainable bar programs in the country, but we never talk about it unless asked as we believe it is what should be done. Not necessarily what should be marketed. We have no commercial ice machines instead we opt to produce our own ice entirely allowing us to control our water usage and have almost zero wastewater. We use very little fresh citrus as part of our bar program and when we do buy speciality citrus, we maximise every gram (see below).

Cocktail ingredients citrus

We currently use no disposable garnishes, instead opting for reusable and keepsake garnishes that elevate the guest experience. Our bar area does not even have a waste bin in the traditional sense, our waste is collected in a 4-litre ice-cream container and weighed at the end of every service. Each service is recorded by the gram we have made a game of who can run a service with the least non-compostable waste. We batch all our drinks and so do not shake or stir them either.

The Wilderness InteriorThe Wilderness InteriorThe Wilderness InteriorThe Wilderness InteriorThe Wilderness InteriorThe Wilderness Interior

Remember sustainability is all-encompassing: if your team shakes 100 drinks every service 5 days a week, how many years do you think they can keep that up? Shaking takes its toll on shoulders, elbows, wrists, and necks not to mention knees and feet. My message is ultimately this: think about every single action you take and analyse how you could do it better how yourself and the business you work for. Shatter the status quo. I promise our industry will be better for it.

More so now than ever, the subject of maximising ingredients and stretching the cost of goods is more prevalent than ever. Here at The Wilderness, we have ceased purchasing commercial coffee liqueurs instead we created a coffee liqueur from an otherwise waste material. It is rich, delicious, flavoursome and complex and is made from single varietal Brazilian coffee that has already been used for Espresso. We utilise a machine called Upress to remove the Origin Coffee from their compostable pods, the pods go to compost and the coffee is infused with Pedro Ximenez Sherry. Once filtered, the sherry is fortified with a chicory essence and a hint of rum; the result is beautiful and mixes incredibly well in both Espresso Martini style drinks and Old Fashioned style cocktails.


Single Origin cocktail in coupe glass

REUSING INGREDIENTS

BRAZILIAN COFFEE LIQUEUR 18% ABV

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COCKTAIL RECIPE

NAME: SINGLE ORIGIN

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Allergens: Sulphites


Gimlet cocktail

MAXIMISING INGREDIENTS

BERGAMOT CORDIAL

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COCKTAIL RECIPE

NAME: CALABRIAN GIMLET

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Allergens: None