The Nose to Tail Approach to Bartending

Sustainability in the bar setting has been a point of contention for as long as we can remember. From dehydrating unused garnish, to turning used lemon peels into a powder. Bartenders have found various creative methods to use every ounce of an ingredient. In celebration of Earth Day this April, let’s explore this process is known as a nose to tail approach to food and beverages. 

As a person from the province of Limpopo in South Africa, I am familiar with an informal community growing scheme where each neighbour has their own makeshift fruit orchard in their backyard. For us, December is when we harvest and share our bounty with family and friends as well as the odd theft from the neighbourhood children. The main problem is the fruit that falls to the ground and eventually looks unappetizing to people. This fruit is always thrown away even though it is perfectly edible!

The same issue occurs in supermarkets, where unappealing fruits are ignored by customers and eventually thrown away. This waste makes up a large amount of food waste in the logistics network and this is where food rescue can help. In America alone, it is estimated that 48% of food that is bought ends up in a landfill before it can be eaten. Food rescue involves identifying foods that are about to be thrown away and salvaging those foods to re-use in other ingredients.

The food rescue process encapsulates the principles of the nose to tail approach and is perfect for bartenders as these foods can be transformed into syrups, oleos, liqueurs and powders. All cocktail ingredients that ensure use of fruits to completion. This means using fresh fruit from communities as well as fruit that would have been discarded, ensuring zero waste and a nose to tail system that can be implemented in restaurants, bars and in local communities.

By limiting the amount of food that is wasted daily, we can make a difference in a way that still ensures delicious cocktails with an emphasis on sustainability and practices that ensure harmony with the local environment. Whether you’re in the kitchen or tending the bar, at Cocktails from Home we believe that we have just of a responsibility to think about the implications of our actions in regards to the health of our Earth.

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Written by Lead Bartender, Thabiso

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