Why restaurants are going in for sustainable cocktails

Restauranteurs share their own ‘zero waste’ recipes and speak of what makes their heady concoctions sustainable.
One of The Westin Mumbai Garden City’s sustainable cocktail — Martini Cinnamon
One of The Westin Mumbai Garden City’s sustainable cocktail — Martini Cinnamon
Updated on Sep 09, 2019 04:15 PM IST
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Mumbai | By Yoshita Rao

In the world of cocktails, there’s a constant stir with new trends erupting, mixologists showing off their culinary flair and more. The latest fad to hit the Indian market is one that has been brewing in the West for a couple of years. With the onslaught of environmental disasters making headlines week after week, it is the restaurateurs and the bartenders that are eager to do their bit in contributing to minimising the waste generated, apart from just switching to paper straws.

Sustainable cocktails, an irksome but intriguing name, is what’s cooking in these restaurants. They are described as “beverages that minimise the use of natural resources. These drinks often reuse and recycle ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away, for instance, the seeds and skin of a fruit”.

A colossal waste generated by cocktails is what has led to this movement. “In the cocktail scene, sustainability as a concept, first came up somewhere in Europe, and later, it was immediately caught on by the Americans. Indian bars have started utilising these practices in the past three to four years,” says Dushyant Tanwar, mixologist, Monika Enterprises. Dushyant says, “The top cocktail bars in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and Bengaluru employ sustainable practices,” adding that though the number of outlets providing such concoctions is low, they are “slowly gaining pace”.

He lists, the Jose Cuervo distillery, which produces paper with the pulp of the blue agave that is left after they have extracted the juice for their fermentation process. There are also, outlets like Together@12 in Gurugram, that have designed menus with cocktails based on single ingredients. “Thus utilising all parts of the ingredients leading to zero waste,” Ved says.

Here are just a few more.

1.Olive Bar and Kitchen

For their upcoming zero waste cocktail menu, Olive Bar and Kitchen is working on their Upcycled Espresso Martini. The restaurant adds that the ‘zero waste’ concept is a great “cost controlling exercise”. “It does require a lot of effort and preparation, however it really does push the creative side of bartending further than just mixing flavours,” says John Leese, Beverage Development and Bar manager.

For the Upcycled Espresso Martini, the restaurant uses recycled coffee grains to make an in-house coffee liqueur. The restaurant also uses citrus from daily fresh juices (lime, lemon, pink grapefruit and orange), which are trimmed into small rinds and made a marmalade.

Upcycled Espresso Martini
Upcycled Espresso Martini

2. Hello Guppy

The trimmings of cucumber from the kitchen at Hello Guppy are used to make one of their signature cocktails — Fisherman’s Tonics. The restaurant says the cucumber trimmings are muddled to add flavour to the drink.

The cocktail, which was on the menu since the restaurant’s opening day — June 2017, is made using gin and elderflower cordial. It is then shaken with freshly muddled cucumber, lime and lime leaves, which are strained into an iced glass topped with tonic.

Fisherman’s Tonic
Fisherman’s Tonic

3. W Goa

A recent innovation on this restaurant’s cocktail menu — The Bee’s Silk, is a sustainable cocktail made using a base of corn silk infused whiskey, wherein instead of disposing off the husk from the corn it is infused with whiskeys. The honey, for the drink, is sourced from a local vendor, which is claimed to be taken “straight from the hive”. Muddled homegrown basil leaves add warmth to the cocktail. Freshly squeezed lime juice is then added to top off the cocktail, while the lemon peels, after it has been squeezed, are used for the garnish.

The restaurant believes that sustainable cocktails “aim to reduce the waste generated by cocktails”. “It’s a small effort in order to save the planet from added waste,” says Ved Thakur, the restaurant’s mixologist. He adds, “Citrus is known to be the most common and most wasted ingredient”.

Bee’s Silk Cocktail
Bee’s Silk Cocktail

4. JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove

The restaurant says they have close to five innovative and creative drinks on the beverage menu that are “100% sustainable”. “The prime objective to be considered here is that the drink curated is completely based on ingredients procured and produced locally. Following the zero wastage policy, from production to consumption no waste is produced from the drinks,” says Vishal Gupta, Assistant Restaurant Manager and Head Mixologist. He further adds, “the way forward in today’s time is to be sustainable, even if it is having an exclusive beverage created at the property”. Their zero-waste recipe is the Himalayan Apple Cinnamon with wild mint leaf.

Himalayan Apple Cinnamon
Himalayan Apple Cinnamon

5. Westin Mumbai Garden City

Gurpreet Singh, head of beverages at the restaurant, says they have 11 sustainable drinks on the menu which have zero wastage. Few of the recipes that have been introduced in January this year are as follows:

a. Pomegranate Green Tea: Gin, fresh lime Juice, green tea syrup, pomegranate juice, homemade orange bitters

b. Bellini Thyme: Vodka, Jacob Sparkling, house made peach thyme syrup, lemon juice

c. Innocent Bellini: Homemade peach puree, Ginger ale

d. Cranberry fizz: Vodka, Cranberry juice, Freshly squeezed lemon juice, Egg white, Club soda

Sandeep Singh, food and beverage manager, at The Westin Pushkar Resort and Spa says, “Currently we have two sustainable drinks: Amla Freshener and Gulkand Bahar. They are made using locally obtained Roses and Amla and the technique used produces minimal wastage.”

Bellini Thyme
Bellini Thyme

Recipes you can try:

a) Bellini Thyme


30ml Vodka

20ml home made peach thyme syrup

15ml lemon juice

Sparkling Wine top up


1. In the metal part of a Boston shaker, add peach thyme syrup with vodka and lemon juice

2. Pour very gently from one part of the shaker to the other.

3. Repeat 3 times.

4. Pour into Champagne flute.

5. Garnish with slice of fresh peach and thyme


b) Sangria


1/4 medium apple, orange

20 ml Brandy

120ml Red wine


1. In the metal part of a Boston shaker, add all the ingredients

2. Pour very gently from one part of the shaker to the other.

3. Pour into red wine glass

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Friday, October 29, 2021