Hong Kong and Macau’s F&B industry is evolving towards sustainability, and the mantra of going green isn’t just a fad but a lifestyle concept. It remains a hot talking point amongst chefs and mixologists, who continue to push the boundaries of incorporating sustainability into an array of cuisines. Whether you’re a Michelin-starred restaurant, trendy café or intimate speakeasy, saving our planet from added food waste, replenishing our ecosystem and looking towards innovative future-forward solutions remain highly desirable goals shared by all in the industry.
Diving into the world of cocktails, sustainability has the potential to help the industry to save time and resources and to help bars to economise on their operations rather than remaining a short-term fad. Does cocktail drinking have the potential to be truly sustainable? And producing sustainable drinks involves a lot of energy, so how can eco-friendly principles apply in the context of mixology?
To find out the answers, we reached out to a handful of passionate bar managers, mixologists and industry experts who envision their businesses to be at the forefront of integrating sustainability, with a strong commitment to the environment.
For Hnin Pwint Aye, lead mixologist and bar manager at Sofitel Macau’s RendezVous, saving the planet means adjusting the bar’s day-to-day operations. The team have hopes of painting a greener path for other hotels on the block, with the ultimate goals of reducing food waste and minimising pollution.
RendezVous Lobby Bar at Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16
Aye explains, “When it comes to making drinks, our team make the most of all the ingredients we use. Upcycling, reusing and recycling ingredients make a huge difference. The bulk of our orange peels is saved to make marmalade or for infusing into our spirits. Incorporating smaller details such as switching to paper straws or reusable napkins has been part of our day-to-day operations for awhile, and this awareness is directly experienced by our guests while they have a cocktail.”
In addition, we’ve seen the rise in zero-waste cocktail menus launching in Hong Kong. Amongst top-rated bars, hotels and restaurants, guests are becoming keen to know what’s going into their drinks as well as the origins of the spirits and mixers. Today, it seems necessary to offer locally and ethically sourced ingredients.
The ethics of cocktail making has been embedded at vegetarian bar and restaurant VEDA at Ovolo Central since its opening earlier this year, with sustainability a focus of VEDA’s head mixologist, David Monroy. When it comes to finding organic ingredients, VEDA avoids outsourcing in order to reduce food miles and its carbon footprint, saying no to excessive packaging and transport fuel, which both cost the environment.
VEDA at Ovolo Central
“Our entire philosophy circles around environmental consciousness and responsibility. All of our staff is aware of this vision to ensure this is on all fronts,” Monroy explains. “We have curated our cocktails based on the ingredients we have available to us and in the kitchen. Producing juices fresh under our roof or creating organic kombucha right at our bar allows us to control the strength of production and create a unique flavour.”
Katelyn Ix, Group Food & Beverage Director at Maximal Concepts, shares a similar perspective to Aye and Monroy. John Anthony, Hong Kong’s first eco-friendly Cantonese bar and restaurant, has embedded sustainability from the food to the design, providing guests the opportunity to learn about the restaurant’s initiatives while they enjoy a memorable and unique dining experience. Driving a social and environmental initiative at Maximal Concepts helps the group to promote a higher level of eco-consciousness while illustrating their commitment to the environment.
“At John Anthony, sustainability has been fabricated and remains at the forefront of our minds since we’ve developed the concept,” Ix says. “Sustainability is more than an action. Evaluating what products are being brought to the venue and the waste produced helps our team to cross-utilise or eliminate products.”
Places like RendezVous, VEDA and John Anthony aren’t devoted to incorporating every single superfood into their cocktails simply for the sake of stirring up buzz – they’re in it for the long haul, crafting cocktails with a purpose in mind: saving the health of our planet.
For more articles like this, like Foodie on Facebook