Michael Symon Uses Fruit Peels To Make Cocktail Hour More Sustainable

From cultivating sugarcane to packaging and from the resource-intensive distillation to the waste it creates, The Rum Lab claims that rum production makes a sizable impact on the environment. However, many rum brands have made efforts to change that. By managing resources, conserving energy, reducing waste, and building greener infrastructures, companies are applying eco-friendly practices to every stage of the rum production process. 

Those efforts are a part of the reason Michael Symon, American chef, New York Times best-selling author, and winner of Food & Wine's 1998 Best New Chef award (via Michael Symon), found his partnership with the rum brand, Diplomatico, so special (per Instagram). Following suit, Symon shared his personal tip for making more sustainable cocktails at home: Oleo-saccharum, a key bartending ingredient since 1982, when the first known book on mixed drinks was made (via Diffords Guide). By experimenting with your fruit scraps, you can craft the zero-waste syrup out of fruit peels you'd otherwise throw away.

Save your fruit peels

The UN's advice for minimizing food waste at home includes using shopping lists, composting, storing food correctly, and loving your leftovers (via Food and Agricultural Organization). These are all proactive ways to minimize the amount of food you waste — but for foodies like you, loving and experimenting with your leftovers is easily the most fun. And, according to Michael Symon, one of the best times to do this is during cocktail hour, per Instagram. That's when, in addition to shopping for your fruits locally, you can save their peels and make delicious, zero-waste cocktails by using them to make oleo-saccharum — an old bartender trick that repurposes fruit scraps, peels, and all (via Diplomático).

To start, all you need to do is save your fruit peels — whether they're from a banana, lemon, grapefruit, lime, orange, etc. — and toss them into a bowl with some sugar, per Bon Appétit. Then, you can let them sit for three to 24 hours, at which point you'll be able to press the peels and extract their oils. The resulting syrup should last you about a week, which you can use to inspire any zero-waste cocktail creation you can imagine. Some that Symon shared include a "Low Impact Banana-Peel Daiquiri," using banana peel oleo-saccharum, and an "In-Fashion," a classic old fashion that utilizes citrus oleo-saccharum. 

Regardless of what you choose to create, your happy hour is sure to be much happier knowing that nothing is going to waste.