6 zero-waste bars shaking up sustainable cocktails around the globe

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The zero-waste ethos isn’t just limited to fashion and food. Today, sustainable cocktail bars are taking greater steps to mitigate the environmental impact of what can often be a wasteful industry. One of the pioneers of this movement was White Lyan, a London establishment that declared it would not use any perishable ingredients in its drinks when it opened in 2014. Although it shuttered in 2017 (becoming Super Lyan), other bars have picked up where it left off. Meet these six tireless advocates for “green” cocktails in London, Paris, Singapore and beyond.

1. Bisou, Paris

The space: Set in the trendy Haute Marais neighbourhood, Bisou’s distinctive interior features a marble bar counter and a striking millennial-pink-hued awning. The charming joint bills itself as “sexy and sustainable” – and what it lacks in size, it makes up for with its inventive approach to tipples.

How it’s sustainable: It sources only local and organic ingredients, and minimises waste by dehydrating leftover produce for use as cocktail garnishes (yes, they’re all edible).

Cocktails to try: There’s no menu here, so all drinks are bespoke. Check if there are any slushy cocktails available as they come with fascinating flavour profiles. Previous creations included one that featured sous-vide slow-cooked pumpkin and lemon zest syrup, as well as a refreshing melon colada.

2. Sexy Fish, London

The space: Located in the upmarket Mayfair district, Sexy Fish is the epitome of kitschy opulence (read: fish-shaped ceiling lamps designed by Frank Gehry and mermaid statues created by Damien Hirst). It’s also reportedly the home of Europe’s largest Japanese whisky collection.

How it’s sustainable: None of its cocktails use perishables; instead, citrus, herbs and garnishes are replaced with cordials, syrups and shrubs. What’s more, straws are biodegradable and are only provided upon request.

Cocktails to try: The enigmatic Bee Pollen & Fennel, features Hibiki Japanese Harmony whisky infused with fennel and beeswax, Courvoisier VSOP cognac, chamomile-infused vermouth and bee pollen. There’s also the Under the Moss, an earthy potion that counts wasabi, green Sichuan pepper, kumquat and beetroot among its ingredients. For a low-alcohol long drink, order the Smoke & Peppercorn, made with pepper-infused mezcal and tequila.

Sexy Fish sustainable bars
Sexy Fish’s interior is delightfully kitschy. Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness

3. Vesper, Amsterdam

The space: Buzzy and intimate, Vesper is an effortlessly chic Bond-inspired cocktail bar that’s a hit with the locals. Its interiors are fancy but not overly fussy – just like the tipples it serves up.

How it’s sustainable: In 2017, bartender Julian Bayuni founded Trash the Place, a movement that encourages bars around Amsterdam to create closed-loop cocktails to reduce waste. The bar also uses metal or bamboo straws and is exploring ways to repurpose discarded fruit peels.

Cocktails to try: While the menu changes every month, you can expect cocktails such as the Corn Cobbler (habanero bourbon, corn liqueur, sherry, grapefruit and sage) and The Pollinator (bee-free honey rum, plum spirit, cinnamon and clove liqueur, lemon, sparkling wine and lavender).

Vesper sustainable bars
Vesper’s menu changes on a monthly basis so there’s always something new to try. Photo credit: Vesper

4. Himkok, Oslo

The space: This hidden speakeasy doubles up as a micro-distillery, and there’s also a cider garden and greenhouse on its premises at Storgata – one of Oslo’s oldest and busiest streets. With its innovative cocktail menu and its stylish industrial interiors, it’s little wonder Himkok was ranked 43th on the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2022.

How it’s sustainable: 80% of the spirits Himkok uses, such as vodka and gin, are made in-house, while its herbs are grown using hydroponics.

Cocktails to try: All the cocktails here have conveniently descriptive names. The Peppery X Herbal X Effervescent features Himkok’s own house-distilled gin with quince distillate, paragon timur cordial, brewed ginger and sage. For something a little sweeter, pick the Fruity X Velvety X Tart which is brimming with tart cherry flavours tempered with vanilla and fresh whey.

Himkok sustainable bars
80% of Himkok’s spirits are made in-house. Photo credit: Himkok

5. Native, Singapore

The space: A pioneer of Singapore’s sustainable bar scene, Native first opened in 2017 with an innovative cocktail menu that highlighted foraged plants and unconventional ingredients like ants and grasshoppers. The bar is set in an intimate space in an Amoy Street shophouse that spans two levels, featuring warm tones and brick accents.

How it’s sustainable: From coaster to cocktail, Native has an uncommon focus on sustainability that goes beyond the basics. Coasters are made with dehydrated lotus leaves and reusable cloth towels are provided in lieu of serviettes. Additionally, cocktails make use of herbs and botanicals from their own garden. The bar even gets its electricity from a solar energy provider.

Cocktails to try: As its name suggests, Forager’s Garden draws inspiration from ingredients that grow in the bar’s neighbourhood. The vibrant pink-hued drink features a backbone of gin flavoured with fresh calamansi, lemongrass and butterfly pea. Alternatively, try the Tree of Life, a cocktail that celebrates all parts of the coconut tree: it features Ceylon Arrack (made from the sap of coconut flowers) and the milk, nectar, wine, water and husk of the coconut.

Native (Photo: Aaron Low)
Native’s menu features novel ingredients and fermentations. Photo credit: Aaron Low

6. Providence, Los Angeles

The space: Providence is set along Melrose Avenue, one of LA’s premier shopping, nightlife and entertainment areas. The cosy, softly lit space stands as proof that sustainable bars don’t have to skimp on luxury. Exuding understated elegance, the Michelin-starred Providence’s bar section comes with plush seating and warm lighting.

How it’s sustainable: Re-purposing kitchen scraps and turning them into intriguing ingredients is the order of the day here.

Cocktails to try: Muay Thai is made with rum, leftover ginger, lemongrass and makrut lime leaf, while Clever Hippie contains “astronaut juice” (made from leftover orange peels), passion fruit and sparkling wine.

To book a flight, visit singaporeair.com



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