Saturday 18 August 2018

First Look: What are closed-loop cocktails? Ireland's newest bar tells us all you need to know

Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

An Irish bar serving a sustainably-minded drinks menu is opening in Dublin this week.

Head bartender Paddy Noir at the Lucky Duck bar and restaurant has created a cocktail menu inspired by the closed-loop movement.

Closed-loop cocktails leave no carbon footprint, and involve zero waste, especially in terms of food and packaging.

They’re a growing trend amongst sustainably-minded bartenders, and have been pioneered in bars like SuperLyan and restaurants like Cub and Silo in Britain.

“It’s a growing trend in the industry as a whole,” Paddy Noir tells Independent.ie. “We’ve tried to utilise what we have and what’s close to home to make as little waste, and create as low a footprint, as possible when it comes to the drinks.”

 “Closed-loop is as close to zero waste as you can get: repurposing everything that you’re using… So you grow the grain yourself, then distil a liquid out of it, which you then use to create a drink… and any other perishable products within that drink would then be repurposed a second time for say a garnish or flavouring.”

“It’s essentially creating next-to-no footprint, next-to-no waste, through to the process.”

The Lucky Duck’s building lay derelict for over 20 years before the Press Up group spent a year restoring it and creating a traditional Victorian style pub and restaurant.

It opens on Friday at 5pm on Dublin’s Aungier Street.

Paddy says they’ll use locally grown and locally foraged herbs and botanicals, as well as drinks produced in Ireland, for their menu. Lusca wine which is produced in north Dublin, will feature alongside wines from France, Spain, Italy and the new world, some of which will be served on tap.

Sustainability he says, is as much the responsibility of businesses as of customers.

“The onus is on us as a business or as bartenders to be the ones to make the step to reduce the waste and to point people down that path, because at the end of the day, all Joe Bloggs really wants is to come out and have some nice drinks, some tasty foods, and to have a good time… if you can help them do that whilst lowering your footprint on the earth or by lowering the amount of waste going out, then why not, it’s a great thing to do.”

“It’s just trying to utilise as many Irish products as possible. We all love cognacs and Tennessee whiskeys and Asian spirits, but if there are other things that are produced - obviously have a different flavour profile – but which are equally as delicious, say an apple brandy being made down in west Cork or if you can use a red wine which is being grown in north Dublin as opposed to something that’s being shipped around the earth, then why not? So there’s a lot of focus on that.”

“Also there’s a lot of focus on taking just as much waste out of the bar to begin with. We try and use as little citrus as possible. We try and use very, very small amounts of fresh perishable produce.”

“Instead of using lemon zest to go over every drink, we make a hydrosol which is a non-alcoholic distillate with the scent of lemon. So one lemon for that will give us a few hundred drinks, as opposed to eight drinks out of a single lemon. A lot of the time the fruit will just get thrown away.”

“If there’s anything which we are using that’s fresh fruit, we will then keep the fruit and juice it afterwards, and then turn that juice into either a sherbert or a shrub - something with a longer shelf life. You want to keep the quality of your produce up [while cutting down on waste].”

Paddy describes his menu as presenting big flavours done in a simple way.

“Big bright, clean flavours,” he says.

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