In every aspect of life there are ways to reduce your impact on the environment; the bar is no exception to this statement. Everyone knows we need to recycle our empty cans and bottles, but there is much that can be done behind the bar to reduce its carbon, or environmental, footprint to a minimum.
Buy Alcohol from Sustainable Brewers and Distillers
Many liquor distillers and sustainable beer brewers are endeavoring to practice environmentally-sound production. There are a variety of methods to accomplish this, ranging from the choice of ingredients to use of recycled materials and sustainable energy.
Eco-friendly Vodka Companies
- 360 Vodka – Marketed as an eco-friendly vodka
- Charbay Vodka – Organic Meyer Lemon, Pomegranate and Blood Orange
- Orange V Vodka – 100% organic neutral grain spirit
- Prairie Organic Vodka – Certified organic corn
- Reyka Vodka – Geothermal production facility
- Square One Organic Vodka – Certified organic
- Tru Organic Vodka – Certified organic; a gin is also produced by this company
Ditch the Disposable and Plastic Barware
Consider all the common items used daily in a bar and then discarded. Aside from cocktail ingredients, ice and garnishes, all goods essential to a bar are made of washable, reusable materials. Some may be a bit more difficult to find than others, but they can be obtained and have the ability to endure for years. Plastics should be avoided if at all possible; bamboo, since it regrows rapidly, is a better choice than wood. Seeking products made from recycled materials is the best option.
- Bar Towels – cotton, rather than paper, towels
- Cocktail Napkins – linen is better than paper; better still, use coasters
- Coasters – recycled materials or bamboo
- Straws – stainless steel
- Swizzle Sticks – glass or stainless steel
- Olive Picks – stainless steel or bamboo
- Cutting Board – bamboo
Buy Fresh, Local Mixers & Garnishes
Use only fresh-squeezed juices to avoid more use of bottles or cartons. Choose organic, locally-grown fruits, herbs and other types of garnishes. Shop at local farmers’ markets, natural food stores, or join a food co-op.
Eliminate the electric juicer for a manual type.
Buy Free Trade coffees, teas, sugar and other such commonly-used ingredients whenever they are available.
Grow your own produce and herbs in a pesticide- and growth hormone-free garden. Compost all scraps from garnishes and other sources. Citrus fruits will take longer than most food scraps to compost, so they should be cut up to help this process along.
Bring your own reusable shopping bags to the market and liquor stores. Keep them in your car all the time so as not to forget them.
Be Conscious of How You Use and Make Ice
Ice is a bar essential; when you think about this, you most likely use ice more than any other ingredient when mixing drinks. This makes it difficult to eliminate ice altogether. The eco-print made by ice is a significant factor: water is needed to make ice, and electricity is necessary for freezing it. Once it’s no longer needed, half of this ice is dumped down the drain.
Unplug your refrigerator’s ice maker, especially if the bin is full.
Switch back to ice trays – since you’re already using the freezer’s power, why not eliminate the ice maker completely? Use large ice trays–preferably non-plastic–with a capacity of up to 60 cubes.
Stock up on ice by storing existing cubes in freezer bags or an ice bucket.
Only use whatever ice you really need; use cubes for mixed drinks, where they will melt more slowly.