Green Tip: Sustainable Cocktails

Green Tips | September 29, 2017

Do you enjoy a good cocktail now and then? Are you concerned about the impact your alcohol of choice may have on the environment?  This week we will provide you with more details on how to enjoy a drink while remaining environmentally conscious.  With the help of Grist, we are able to provide you with information on which alcohols to avoid, keep drinking, and to be more mindful of when consuming.

Overall, blended whiskeys, vodka, and gin tend to be less polluting. Tequila is generally the worst for the environment as most of it comes from Mexico’s Jalisco area, and creates waste which can leach into the ground.  Each liter of tequila creates 11 pounds of pulp and 10 liters of acidic waste. Rum is a close runner-up to tequila as it is derived from sugarcane, which produces large amounts of wastewater and greenhouse gasses.

However, the sustainability of a liquor varies just as much by brand and distillery as it does by classification of liquor. Square One Vodka is committed to sustainability, gin-drinkers can try TRU2, and bourbon Lovers can reach for the familiar Maker’s Mark, which has found a way to turn their acidic organic waste into biogas energy . Rum lovers can try DonQ or look to Bacardi, which founded Bonsucro, an organization dedicated to making the sugarcane industry more sustainable; and those who can’t imagine life without margaritas can try Casa Noble or 4 Copas.

Bar and distillery owners are also finding that sustainable practices can be good for their bottom line as well. For example, citrus fruits, which often come from far away places and use a lot of fertilizer, can be replaced with vinegars and citric acid for a lower cost.

Several organic liquors are available in stores and bars, and the number of these distilleries is growing. Another simple choice you can make to be eco-conscious: skip the straw! In the US we dispose of 500 million straws each day, or 1.6 straws per person.

The decision of where to grab drinks can make a huge impact on your drink’s sustainability. Locally-sourced and vegan/vegetarian minded restaurants tend to be more sustainable and less polluting than other establishments. Those enjoying their cocktails from a more low key establishment can opt for a vodka soda over a vodka cranberry or margarita, as the latter two will likely involve more artificial flavorings than organic fruit juices.

Those mixing at home can take several easy steps to be more sustainable. Products with excessive packaging can be avoided, and again, you should reach for organic and locally-sourced ingredients. This includes any mixers, fruits, and liquors you are considering for your cocktails.

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