At the start of this month, select cocktail bars across the UK featured a three-drink, minimal-waste menu in collaboration with Ketel One. The idea was for bartenders at each bar to gather left over ingredients from local businesses in close proximity to them and prepare three cocktails using what they’d picked up. Utilising different techniques, the bartenders would aim for a balance of minimal wastage and maximum flavour extraction.
To check it all out, we popped into the trendy Nine Lives Bar in London Bridge and had ourselves a little taste test of their menu. Nine Lives Bar is, in fact, a totally ‘zero waste’ bar all year round. With nearly everything being recycled and their own little herb garden out the back, looks like Nine Lives were already well equipped to take on the Ketel One collab.
As we stepped into the moody, dimly lit space, friendly bartenders hopped straight to it, serving us up each drink with a smile and some witty banter. The Bermondsey Bees Knees was our first cocktail offering, and probably our favourite of the night. The drink comprised of Ketel One Citroen, honey from sustainably sourced honey producer Bermondsey Bees, citrus from Natoora and orange pulp from Turnips – a family run fruit and veg wholesaler. The drink was sweet, packed a totally more-ish flavour punch that had us going back for seconds and thirds.
We found The Southwark Shuck to be the most interesting drink of the lot, combining Ketel One Vodka with dry vermouth, oyster shells from Richard Haward’s Oyster and mushroom pate from Pate Moi. While there weren’t actually oyster shells in the drink, what the bartenders had done was infuse the vodka with the flavours of the leftover oyster shells, which ended up giving the cocktail a very distinct and acquired taste. It was kinda salty and sweet, kinda fishy, and also pretty damn strong to us.
We didn’t have the chance to try out the third cocktail, The Holyrood Highball, however we do know it paired Ketel One Oranje Vodka with fig leaf from Pilgrimage Street, skeleton leaf from Gibbons Rent and watermelon cordial from Turnips again.
We would honestly love to see more of this concept being introduced to bars everywhere because, as anyone knows, one of our biggest pet peeves is food wastage. Both of us have worked in hospitality before our marketing jobs, and we both know just how much is wasted behind closed doors. It’s a damn lot. To read more about Nine Lives Bar and their ethos, click here.