If you’ve ever worked in the service industry—particularly at a bar, restaurant, or pub—you’ve likely witnessed with your own eyes how disgustingly wasteful the sector can be. Napkins left unused at a table? Trash. The plastic straws that party of 12 specifically requested then inexplicably ignored throughout their four-hour meal? Trash. Perfectly good food that was barely consumed or untouched? You guessed it: trash.
And while some chefs and restauranteurs have been making an effort to reduce their environmental footprint in recent years, waste—especially food waste—still remains a large problem in the food-and-bevvy world.
That's where Trash Tiki comes in: a self-described “pop-up and online platform” that produces craft cocktails using ingredients salvaged from compost bins in an effort to encourage restauranteurs, mixologists, and bar managers to conduct their businesses more sustainably.
As the Trash Tiki website so eloquently states, “This shit isn't going to change the world, but our recipes mean you will consume a lot less and still have tasty as fuck drinks. If that one step can be part of, if not the beginning to, the larger conversation the food & drink world needs to have with itself about our approach to waste, then hell yeah we think we should take it.”
Founded by London-based mixologists Iain Griffiths and Kelsey Ramage—the latter of whom once lived in Vancouver—in 2016, the pop-up is now on tour and will be making a stop at Gastown’s Clough Club (212 Abbott Street) this Saturday and Sunday (September 2 and 3).
There, Vancouverites will have the chance to see Griffiths and Rampage in action as they shake up a menu of drinks that use orgeat born from uneaten pastries, tepache crafted from pineapple rinds, and melon nectar derived from leftover watermelon pulp, among other repurposed ingredients.
Past concoctions have included the Daq Smaq, which uses Caña Brava rum flavoured with discarded avocado pits, demerara sugar, and pink citrus made from lime husks; the Coconut Helmet, a mix of sherry, coconut cream, and grapefruit stock produced from grapefruit skins; and the Sufferin Succotash, which employs Fords Gin, coffee cognac infused with spent coffee grounds, ginger beer, lemon-husk stock, Angosturra bitters, and absinthe.
“We had a firsthand look at what the craft cocktail community was throwing away on a daily basis and realized that too many bars believe that it’s too big of a problem to turn around,” said Ramage in a press statement. “We wanted to prove that you do not need to be an extreme eco-warrior to do something about it. It’s about making small, easy changes while at the same time showing that you can still be loud, fast, and fun while making good drinks that don’t mess up the planet.”
Vancouver is one of two Canadian stops in Trash Tiki's 10-city North American tour, which is conducted in partnership with Fords Gin. Drinks will start at $12.
Trash Tiki takes place at Clough Club (212 Abbott Street) this Saturday and Sunday (September 2 and 3). The pop-up is open during cocktail lounge’s regular hours, on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and on Sunday, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., while supplies last.