Our dream is for our guests to come and discover something new at one of our cocktail festivals.
Whether it be a new bar, a new flavour or a product or category they hadn't considered before. In 2020 we are excited to be working with Discarded Spirits in partnership with The Merchant House and caught up with the team at Discarded ahead of the event on April 2 - 4 at The Vaults, London.
How and when did the Discarded Spirits begin?
The idea behind the first variant, Cascara Vermouth, originated from the Global Brand Ambassador for Monkey Shoulder, Joe Petch.
Inspired by emerging trends in vermouth and coffee, Joe started working with baristas to understand more about cascara, learning of its taste and blending capabilities. Every year, billions of tonnes of cascara are wasted in coffee production after the bean is extracted. Discarded takes what would be wasted and re-purposes it to bring a new flavour dimension to create a vermouth like no other.
The Banana Peel Rum was first idealised after bananas were found to be one of the most thrown away food items in the UK. The Rum is initially used to season whisky casks up in our Scotland distillery before it is given new life and combined with the banana peel. Once distilled, the banana peel provides a fresh toffee note with a fruity balance whilst maintaining the foundation flavour of an iconic Caribbean Rum.
The story behind the hero ingredient has driven the ethos behind the brand. We live in an age where single-use is increasingly untenable. What others have wasted we have welcomed and made the distinguishing feature in Discarded. In everything we do, we want to embody our brand purpose and to champion the Discarded.
What vision do you have for the Discarded Spirits portfolio?
As we are entering a post-plastic and zero waste world following consumer pressures and regulations, we aim to set the agenda for sustainable spirits and encourage others to #ReuseCreatively.
We are currently working with bars around London to challenge industry norms and create cocktails which close the loop by giving wasted husks, skins and pulps new lives.
A lot of people are talking about rum being the next gin, do you have any thoughts on that?
Rum is certainly gaining pace in the industry. In particular, flavoured and spiced rum is of growing interest as consumers are more willing to experiment with premium rums and cocktails in both the off-trade and on-trade.
Are there any other businesses you admire or take inspiration from in this area
There are plenty of businesses who are creatively reusing. We particularly love Toast Ale who brews surplus bread and turns it into amazing beers. Grind, the popular coffee cocktail bar made a sustainable twist on the Whisky Sour by using aquafaba (the liquid in a chickpea tin) instead of egg white.
What signature drinks would you recommend for our guests?
Caramelized Banana Old Fashioned - we collect wasted banana bread and almond croissants from local cafes and turn these into syrups. These are then mixed with Discarded Banana Peel Rum to create this delicious cocktail!
Upcycled Espresso Martini - using just spent coffee grounds collected from coffee shops and combining it with our Cascara Vermouth, this super easy cocktail is a sustainable twist on the classic.
What has been the reaction from bartenders and consumers to the idea of sustainable spirits?
More and more consumers are looking for sustainable products. Traditionally, you'd expect 'sustainable' to align with food and fashion industries but there is no reason why it shouldn't extend to spirits. Vermouth, in particular, is also gaining momentum in the industry as cocktails are on the increasingly popular.
Bartenders particularly like the Cascara Vermouth due to its warming, sweet flavour profile which works well when mixed long with tonic or in classic cocktails like Negronis and Boulevardiers.
You can discover the Discarded Spirits range in partnership with The Merchant House at Cocktails in the City The Vaults on April 2 - 4.