Rooftop Gardening, Beekeeping, Composting for the Bar at Charlie Parker's in Sydney

Charlie Parker's is a cocktail bar downstairs from restaurant Fred's in Sydney, Australia. Above both of them is a rooftop garden where they have a 20,000-resident beehive, lots of edible produce, and composting. Our compost bins take care of 90% of all bar waste and our top to tail plastic free approach has seen major success from exclusively using grain straws (or no straws), to all drink prep being stored in food safe mason jars that double as epic sous vide vessels. Our garnishes are made out of the by products from our preps and, our citrus soda is the... Read more →


Bar and Booze Sustainability News, July 2020

A few recent stories relevant to sustainability for bars and bartenders. Bar Trigona’s New Cocktail Menu Featuring Tropical Fruits Is Its Strongest Yet "After such a long hiatus, our menu marks a time for renewal. We’ve not kept a single drink from our previous menu," announces head bartender Ashish Sharma. "What I did was to pen down 11 different fruits that you get year-round in Malaysia. Bartenders Emirul, Joe, Marcus and Shawn then invented three cocktails using one fruit each. The point is to showcase the varying stages of a fruit's life cycle. One might encounter fresh juices or purées... Read more →


Keep Mint Fresh Longer on the Bartop and in Storage

In this post we'll examine preparing mint so that it lasts a longer time either on the bartop during service, and/or stored to last a long time. The basics of mint preparation were researched and published by consultant Peter Vestinos and has become known as the Vestinos Method. You can find the full account of mint preparation for the bar top on his website The Bar Medic. The basics of the technique are: Strip the mint of lower leaves. Cut the stems of bunches of mint to the desired length. Cut them at an angle as you do flowers. Plunge... Read more →


Sodium Metabisulfite and Ascorbic Acid to Prevent Browning and Oxidation

I recently attended an online talk by Luis Hernandez of Cocktail Illustrators. Hernandez is one of the leading bar experts in using various alternative acids to replace citrus in cocktails. Here's an older story on some ways that he does this. One new tip I picked up in the talk (I'd link to it if I could remember where it was) is another way to prevent browning in cocktail ingredients. When ingredients that turn brown after cutting, such as avocados, apples, celery, avocados, and other cut fruit, they can either be preserved to prevent discoloration and oxidation, or discarded. When... Read more →


HPP Cold-Pressed Citrus Juice: Process, Sustainability, Consistency at Twisted Alchemy

I've been curious about HPP juices for a few years now, and over the past year have had a chance to email with Kim and Scott Holstein, Co-Founders of Twisted Alchemy. They provide a range of juices and some mixers for corporate and individual bar accounts as an alternative to heat pasteurized or self-squeezed juice. HPP Background Foods preserved by HPP (High Pressure Processing) are pasteurized without heat but instead by using pressure to squish any bacteria or other forms of life on the food products into oblivion. Or, more accurately, according to the company that makes these machines, "High... Read more →


Tips from Books Street Smart Sustainability and Sustainability Made Simple

In this post I cherry pick a few tips out of two books that aren't really intended for the bartender audience. The book Street Smart Sustainability: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Profitably Greening Your Organization's DNA by David Mager and Joe Sibilia is not aimed at bars but more small to mid-sized businesses. I did find a few points useful in it though, so I'll put them together here. These are all directed toward management/ownership. Involving Employees in the Waste Audit. The book covers a lot on conducting a waste audit. It covers the case for all sorts of businesses but... Read more →


Make Easier Oleo Saccharum from Leftover Citrus Bits with a Stand Mixer

Daren Swisher, co-owner of the forthcoming Daiquiris & Daisies, a "cocktail bar in a food hall, in the Financial District in Boston that might open soon" replied on Twitter to the post about Freezing and Thawing Citrus Ends in an Attempt to Make Oleo Saccharum. The post was about a (failed) attempt to make easy oleo saccharum from the ends of citrus fruit by freezing and thawing it to break the pockets of oil in the peels. It didn't work. Swisher replied, "I’ve done a similar thing, but with unfrozen ends and shells, I beat them up in a stand... Read more →


Testing Color Retention Strategies in Citrus Wheels, Part 3

Many bars make dehydrated citrus wheels as garnish because they don't readily spoil and there are no leftovers if a whole fruit isn't used at the end of a night as with fresh. I have been attempting to make better-looking wheels. First I tried blanching citrus before dehydrating. This didn't make great wheels once they were dehydrated. I also candied some wheels after blanching. These were more attractive but a lot of work and now that garnish for a cocktail will have lots of sugar. In a second set of experiments I tried covering lime wheels with tonic water (because... Read more →


Dehydrated Citrus Wheel Garnish - Fast Versus Slow Dehydration

In a Facebook conversation about making nicer-looking dehydrated citrus wheels, Jessey Qi posted a picture; a comparison of citrus wheels on a higher heat setting in a dehydrator versus a lower one. I think the "low and slow" ones on the bottom look much better than the burned-looking ones on top. So if your food dehydrator (or oven) offers multiple settings and you can set it below 200F/95C, then that's worth a try to make fresher-looking citrus wheels for long-lasting garnishes. Read more →


Testing Color Retention Strategies in Citrus Wheels, Part 2

Many bars choose to use dehydrated citrus wheels instead of fresh ones to use as garnish in cocktails. As drying out the citrus preserves the wheels, there is no waste at the end of the night. However, some customers do not enjoy the look of ones that are toasted to a brown color. I decided to try my hand at dehydrating/preserving some lime wheels in various ways to see if I could make them retain a lively bright green color while preserving them. (Spoiler: I have not succeeded.) My home dehydrator has only one setting, and it seems pretty hot... Read more →