Hospitality, an industry that can chew through a lot of energy and resources, is nevertheless making leaps and bounds when it comes to sustainability – particularly thanks to initiatives like Zero Waste Cocktails, which encourages bars, cafes and restaurants to reduce their footprint and food waste.

“We’ve come a long way, but there’s definitely still more that could be done,” says Cara Devine, the manager of Melbourne’s late-night tapas joint Bomba. However, she’s still optimistic about a sustainable future. “If everyone does a little bit, then all together we can have a reasonable impact,” she says.

The team at Bomba seeks to reduce waste by using fewer bottles and buying spirits in bulk. “When you’re batching cocktails, rather than throwing out 10 glass bottles, you’re pouring out of a large-format container,” says Devine. House wine comes courtesy of Hey Tomorrow, a line of bag-in-box wine run by Bomba’s owners. “We also use sparkling water on tap rather than doing bottles of soda.”

Another strategy to make a hospitality venue more sustainable is to rethink the menu. It requires being “smarter in the way that you’re coming up with cocktails and dishes,” says Devine.

“We think about our food waste a lot – that idea of trying to make sure that we’re really getting the most out of every piece of fruit,” she says. Garnishes are salvaged from offcuts when making syrup, and citrus bits and pieces left over from making cocktails are thrown into sangria.

Devine has come up with a cocktail made from sustainable ingredients she has dubbed Apples and Oranges. Leftover fruit is the star of this cocktail. Apple and hibiscus left over from making Bomba’s apple and hibiscus shrub (a syrup made by soaking apple and hibiscus in sugar and vinegar) is blitzed with a splash of red wine to make twice-round apple, hibiscus and red wine puree.

Skinned oranges, left over from making orange twists destined for Negroni glasses, are repurposed to make acid-adjusted orange juice – an alternative to freshly juiced lemons. “You have that riper, warmer note from the orange, but with citric acid added for that balancing effect,” says Devine.

Flor de Caña, a cane sugar rum made in Nicaragua, is distilled with 100% renewable energy and naturally aged in bourbon barrels. It is also sustainably and ethically produced with carbon neutral and fair-trade certification. The Flor de Caña distillery offers free education and healthcare to employees and runs community outreach programs. “That’s important to me as well,” says Devine.

Altogether, Apples and Oranges is a rich cocktail perfect for chilly days. The warm notes from the fruit complement the spice of Flor de Caña’s 12-year-old rum, says Devine. “When a spirit’s aged, you get notes from the wood, like caramel and vanilla and clove,” she says. “They’re a pretty natural fit alongside those orchard fruits. The hibiscus adds a nice floral note, and then the amaretto obviously gives it a nice nutty base note as well.”

Apples and Oranges
Serves 3
Approx. 4.92 standard drinks

100g whole apples (approx. 1 apple)
5g dried hibiscus flowers
20g sugar
10ml apple cider vinegar
10ml water
120ml Flor de Caña 12-year-old rum
60ml amaretto
60ml fresh orange juice

Chop whole apples and add dried hibiscus flowers (hibiscus flowers can be used to make hibiscus syrup first if you like), sugar, apple cider vinegar and water.

Either sous vide for 3 hours on 65 degrees or leave overnight at room temperature – the juice should come out of the apples to create a syrup.

Mix well to make sure all sugar is dissolved then strain off the solids (make sure to keep them for the next step) and bottle.

After making apple and hibiscus shrub, strain off liquid and blitz leftover apple and hibiscus with a splash of slightly-past-its-best red wine to make a puree.

Combine ingredients with Flor de Caña rum, amaretto and citric-adjusted orange juice. Shake, and double strain into a coupe glass (served up to minimise ice usage).

This article was produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Flor de Caña.