You've signed up for a CSA box, started composting and have a cupboard full of reusable Trader Joe's shopping bags (don't pretend like you don't). So now that you've got sustainable eating covered, when it comes time for happy hour, what can you do to be a more eco-friendly drinker?
Luckily, bartenders and mixologists around the country are finding simple ways for you to catch a buzz while taking Mother Nature into account, whether it be shaking up iceless martinis or giving new life to leftover garnishes by turning them into house-made liqueurs.
Even if you prefer to celebrate five o'clock from your own couch, here are four tips on how to get your drink on, the eco-friendly way.
① Stock Your Bar with Locally Made Booze and Sustainable Liquors
Transporting heavy liquor bottles requires a lot energy, and we're not talking about the arm strength needed to lug a Costco pack of wine from cart to car. Stocking your home bar with spirits from local wineries, breweries and distilleries is a simple way to cut down on alcohol production's large carbon footprint. And while you might have to do a little extra research before your next liquor run, you can also purchase from an increasing number of sustainably focused distillers who are finding ways to reduce the amount of natural resources used in their distilling process. Take Maker's Mark whiskey, whose facility transforms bourbon by-product into energy to power manufacturing and also grain feed for cattle.
② Put Your Cocktail Scraps to Use
Bartenders have gotten creative over the years when it comes to excess garnishes used in making the perfect cocktail, and you can do the same at home. The flesh of juiced limes can be used to infuse a batch of simple syrup, while scraps such as pineapple rinds and leftover mint leaves can be turned into homemade tinctures or shrubs. Zest your oranges the next time you make a batch of screwdrivers, and you'll be all set to infuse your own orangecello.
③ Choose Simpler Packaging
Sure, there's nothing like the satisfying clink of beer bottles, but aluminum cans are more efficient to transport and in the end easier to recycle. (Not to mention you can't really crush a beer bottle with your forehead.) Better yet, if you're chummy with a local brewery or taproom, nab a refillable growler you can top up each week. And if you're still hesitant about drinking sparkling rosé in cans or hard liquor packaged in paper milk cartons, look for manufacturers like 4 Copas Tequila, whose handblown glass bottles you'll never want to throw in the garbage.
④ Ditch the Disposable Drinkware
Just because you're a classy, tree-loving grown-up doesn't mean you can't relive the flip cup tourneys and beer pong brackets of yesteryear, thanks to the invention of reusable Solo cups. Now, your college glory-day memories can still live on without killing the planet.
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