FAIR Ethical Cocktail Competition⎪North UK

FAIR Ethical Cocktail Competition⎪North UK

So you may remember last year that we ran the first Ethical Cocktail Competition … wait what is that? You don’t remember? Well, you can refresh your memory on the what and the why here.  In short though, we are a on a mission to find the best cocktails, made by the best bartenders, at the best bars – that all support environmental and economic sustainability from start to finish (that’s right, the cocktail, the bartender, AND the bar must all be on board with this sustainability business). Taking the competition to the North UK, we found a huge amount of worthy contenders and had a tough time narrowing it down to just six for the final. And by tough, we mean, it was really hard meeting all these wonderful people and judging all of these amazing creations. So tough. I know you feel us.

The final takes place on July 3 at FoodWell, another of our fantastic stockists. FoodWell is a venue that has sustainability at its core. The creator of FoodWell, Christian Coates, spent years in LA studying to be a personal trainer and nutritionist and wanted to bring some of that back to the UK. His inspiration was all about mind, body, and soul and how people nurture and take care of themselves day to day, being mindful and making conscious decisions about the food they eat and the drinks they drink without depriving themselves. In short, as James Marsland of FoodWell says, “Foodwell isn’t here to preach, it’s here to help and inform.” FoodWell are also committed to carbon free dining by offsetting their footprint in association with the Green Earth Appeal, planting trees in Tanzania. An optional 99p is added to all restaurants bills and supports the planting of new trees. Umm, that’s cool and we do not mind if you add 99p to our bill any time !

But enough with the background information!! We know what you really want to know is who are the finalists … and where can you taste their cocktails!

‘I’m FAIRly Sure That’s How You Spell Kumquat’ by Luke Stoney at Villager in Edinburgh
Starting us off is a cocktail that goes by the name of a sentence we’ve *all* uttered at some point or another. Who the hell knows how to spell Kumquat anyway? Well Luke does now, thanks to this cocktail. “Summer in a glass,” he describes it as, and using all vegan ingredients, it is something that everyone can enjoy. The ethos behind the drink is using mostly ingredients that would otherwise be thought of as waste. The aquafaba is from the kitchen and the oleum saccharine is made in hose from the peel of tangerines that are used in other dishes and drinks. His cocktail is easy enough to build, but takes a little extra work to create – which is how we like to think of sustainability; it’s easy enough to build into your day to day life, it just takes a little extra work to do it.

‘My Fair Lady’ by Kieran Walker at The Watermark in Leeds
Kieran and The Watermark know that great drinks come from sourcing great ingredients (just like us, hence why we go all the way to Bolivia for our quinoa), but that sourcing great ingredients can come at a great cost to the environment. We’ll stop saying “great” now I promise. Fuel emissions from planes, ships, and trucks all contribute heavily to the global warming crisis and must be offset somehow. At The Watermark they find other ways to use waste, whether through dehydration or fermentation or many other ways, they are always trying find a new way to use what they had previously considered waste. The My Fair Lady uses pineapples from other local businesses that are no longer being used, that have been fermented by Kieran, and then paired with FAIR Gin and FAIR Kumquat Liqueur for a classic, tropical twist on the French 75.

‘Knot Fair’ by Sam Worrall at Derby Lane in Glasgow
Wow. Talk about a drink that is sustainable. Knot Fair expresses sustainable mixology at its core; the spirit and liqueur are Fairtrade certified, the cordial is made from hand-foraged botanicals which are widely available in the local area and are harvested in a responsible manner, and the citrus, while not being grown locally, is refined into four forms (juice, zest, puree and powder) to make the most out of sourcing a product from further away. So yes, this cocktail is sustainable AF, but it is also unique AF (our fav combo, in case you hadn’t noticed). It uses Japanese Knotweed – a species that can be seen as destructive and invasive, but if grown and used correctly, is a healthier (it has loads of vitamin C) and hardier alternative to rhubarb. Sam just makes sure to use the whole plant so that it doesn’t spread and take over.

‘Forgetting Mr Big’ by Joseph Brooke at Hedonist in Leeds
When thinking about what he wanted to create, Joseph knew that he wanted to use something that was found in bars up and down the country, but that has a short shelf life, and often gets thrown away. Enter the humble cranberry juice. Joseph and Hedonist show that even when it is starting to ferment, cranberry juice still has a place in our bars. The same ethos applies to all they do at Hedonist, and almost nothing goes to waste. Joseph rationalizes it like this: “When you consider the carbon footprint left behind when we fly limes in from a different country for example, I believe that we should all look to find new ways of utilising “waste” so that it isn’t just a one use item, but can go on to create multiple other things.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

‘Waste Not, Want Not’ by Joseph Burford at 97 & Social Newcastle Upon Tyne
What inspired this drink? Well one of Joseph John Burford’s answers is ‘Trash Tiki’ lol, but it is also ZERO WASTE! Joseph wanted to see if it was possible to create a drink using as much of the ingredient as possible and making this drink has helped everyone at 97 & Social come together and think more about what they’re throwing in the bin. It even led them to create a bin labelled ‘this is not a bin’ which we LOVE! The ‘this is not a bin’ is for all the off cuts on the boards at the end of the night. For example, Joseph uses the “waste” to make his ‘chopping board cordial’, the egg shells left over from splitting eggs (the kitchen uses the eggs for cooking) for making his soda (um wow, dedication!), and the watermelon rind for infusing the gin. It doesn’t get much more sustainable than that.

‘The VVP’ by Michael Edwards at Aether Bar UK in Liverpool
What’s better than a cocktail made with a FAIR spirit? A cocktail made with THREE FAIR spirits of course! Michael Dylan at Aether Bar feels the same and so used our Juniper Gin, Café Liqueur, and Kumquat Liqueur to create The VVP. Based on a blood orange, cardamom, and chocolate canelé he had in Nice a couple of yeas ago (staying true to our French roots!). In terms of sustainability, Michael knows that sometimes less is more. He’s kept the ingredient count low and simple enough to be able to source each item locally. This makes it sustainable for the environment, and easy for you to replicate at home (or get your local to replicate it, let’s face it). One last fact we love about this cocktail: it’s name is based on the source location of the ingredients, Varganza, Veracruz, and Paraguay, which we think is pretty cute!

So there you have it! Six amazing cocktails, made by six sustainability champions, at six amazing bars across the country. If you can make it, we’d love to see you at the final on July 3, and if not, we look forward to hearing of your experiences trying these drinks or making them yourselves!

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