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12 Days of Wild: Sustainable Spirits: Christmas Cocktail Making

Isla Stubbs gives her tips on how to make a festive, fun and sustainable cocktail at home this Christmas.

In a season where both joy and sustainability are essential ingredients for the festive season, taking our eco-conscious spirit to the world of cocktail crafting is a natural evolution. Crafting sustainable cocktails is more than a mix of ingredients; it's a journey of responsible sourcing, waste reduction, and consideration for the environment at every sip.

In this guide, we unwrap the steps and strategies you can take to infuse your cocktail creations with the holiday warmth, making them not only delicious but also a gift to our planet. Join us as we share a festive cocktail suggestion, just in time for the magic of the holidays.

An array of colourful Christmas cocktails. Image credit: Brooke Lark on Wikimedia Commons

Local, Organic, and Seasonal Ingredients:

Opting for more sustainable components not only spreads holiday cheer to local farmers, but also trims down your carbon footprint, ensuring your ingredients are at the pinnacle of freshness and flavour. Visit local markets near you to discover a variety of fruits, herbs, and even locally distilled spirits to incorporate into your concoctions. Wild’s article on sustainable alcohol brands can also help you take these eco-friendly concoctions to the next level.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:

Reuse glassware and bar tools to minimise waste, and consider upcycling items for unique garnishes or presentation. Utilise recyclable materials for strainers, shakers, and other tools. Be mindful of the environmental impact of packaging and choose products with eco-friendly materials whenever possible. Even better, check your local charity shop for mixologist equipment!

DIY Infusions and Syrups:

Rather than relying on pre-packaged mixers and syrups, experiment with creating your own infusions and syrups. This not only allows for a personalised touch to your cocktails but also reduces the need for single-use packaging. Consider infusing spirits with locally sourced herbs, fruits, or spices, and experiment with homemade syrups using organic sugars and natural flavourings. You can even bottle up your creations to make a perfect homemade gift for your friends and family!

Sloe gin is a popular infusion flavour. You can find infusion recipes here. Image credit: Stijn Nieuwendijk on Flickr.

Waste Reduction Techniques:

Minimising waste is a crucial aspect of sustainable cocktail making. Consider techniques like nose-to-tail bartending, where all parts of an ingredient are used. For example, citrus peels can be used for garnishes or infused into syrups, and fruit pulp can be repurposed into jams or preserves. Composting organic waste is another effective way to reduce the environmental impact of your cocktail production.

Festive Moscow Mule

Serves: 1


- 50 ml vodka

- 25 ml cranberry juice

- 12 ml fresh lime juice

- Ginger beer

- Ice cubes

- Fresh cranberries or lime slices or rosemary sprig (for garnish)


1. Fill your glass with ice cubes, and pour the vodka over the ice.

2. Add the cranberry juice and fresh lime juice, Top off the mixture with ginger beer, leaving some space at the top.

3. Stir gently to combine the ingredients.

4. Garnish with fresh cranberries, lime slices, or a rosemary sprig for a festive touch.

You could rim the glass with sugar (or a seasonal mixture of sugar and cinnamon for an extra holiday flair!) Feel free to adjust the ingredient proportions to suit your taste preferences and according to serving size, and enjoy this merry and bright Christmas cocktail responsibly!

A delicious festive take on the traditional Moscow Mule cocktail. Image credit: Charlotte May on Pexels.

Crafting sustainable cocktails is a creative and rewarding activity that not only delights the palate but also contributes to a healthier planet. By incorporating local, seasonal ingredients, reusing supplies, and minimising waste, you can make a positive impact on the environment.

About the Author: Isla Stubbs (she/her) has graduated from The University of York with a BSc in Environmental Science. She has now started the first year of her PhD in Ecotoxicology, continuing at York.


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