Sustainability Sunday #80

GIN GIN GIN

Did you know that yesterday was the 10th anniversary of World Gin Day? Mmm gin. A remarkable substance that blends with many an ingredient to form the most delicious concoctions, but are we sipping it sustainably?

Drinking sustainably doesn’t mean that you have to source all your own natural ingredients and brew your own toxic liquor, you just have to do a little research. The gin-making process is typically quite intensive as most gins are made with a mixture of grains and potatoes and the distillation process uses more energy and water than other spirits; but as a rule the distance your gin has travelled is usually the most environmentally damaging part.

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In the wake of World Gin Day yesterday here’s a few recommendations that keep your tipple sustainable: two local (London-based) gins that keep your drinking footprint low, and two with worldwide environmental causes at heart:

  1. Dodd’s: a London gin made in Battersea with local honey and 100% organic botanicals that are approved by the Soil Association. Interestingly, this gin is named after Ralph Dodd, a brilliant civil engineer famous for attempting to construct the first tunnel under the river Thames in 1798. The distillery has been established to be as eco-friendly as possible, with heat from the distillation process recycled and the bottle labels printed on carbon neutral paper. Flavour-wise this is quite a sweet, rich gin due to the honey, and also has some spicier notes. Delicious with basil or mango garnishes.
  2. Beckett’s: gin made with juniper berries picked from the native UK conifer meaning the produce is fresh, local and doesn’t come with a big distribution footprint. Zesty and peppery this is a versatile gin which can be enjoyed simply with tonic or in a cocktail. In 2014 they began working with the Forestry Commission and the National Trust to start a new conservation project which aims to create a new population of juniper which has been in decline in the UK due to the impact of humans on habitat.
  3. Silverback: made by the Gorilla Spirits Company this gin has only been on the market since the end of 2015. Fresh, citrussy and grassy this is quite a lightly flavoured gin which goes well with unflavoured or flavoured tonics. Most importantly, for every bottle of Silverback Gin sold £1 goes to The Gorilla Organization (hence the name of the gin). The Gorilla Organization addresses the key threats facing gorillas which includes everything from maintaining habitat to educating people living in gorilla habitat areas.
  4. Elephant gin: similarly to Silverback gin, Elephant gin has a conservation cause at the heart of it’s business plan. This gin is made in Germany and uses rare African botanicals to give it a unique taste – extracts from Baobab fruit, Buchu plant, African Wormwood, Lion’s Tail and Devil’s Claw are used. Since the first bottle of gin was sold, the company donates 15% of all proceeds to two African elephant foundations to support the preservation of the African wildlife which operate in Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa where habitat is protected and anti-poaching rangers are employed.

Alongside choosing more sustainable gins you can also switch up how you consume – don’t use plastic straws, go without or purchase a metal one; if you’re using a slice of lemon or lime pop the remainder in the fridge to flavour water tomorrow; instead of buying plastic packets of herbs for garnishing, try growing little pots of your own on a kitchen or bedroom window sill!

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Let us know what YOU think about these gins when you get the chance to try them and don’t forget to share any tips or tricks you use to make your alcoholic activities more eco-friendly!

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