The journey began in early this year in January as we announced the return of the sustainable cocktail challenge, More Taste, Less Waste powered by Mount Gay Rum with Collectif 1806. After a national call for the most intriguing, and of course delicious, sustainable cocktails featuring Mount Gay Rum, five regional finalists were announced – Peter Hannah, Gabriela Holzer, Jesse Sherman, Kimmy Baer, Isabel Tulloch, and Vincent Glackin. The regional finalists were awarded the opportunity to travel to Barbados, the home of Mount Gay Rum, to experience the terroir, people, production, culture and the environmental ecosystems of the rum. In the end, Peter Hannah of Orlando was named the 2022 Champion of the More Taste, Less Waste cocktail competition with his original cocktail Urbanized Chaos.
Arriving in Barbados, the competitors did not know each other, but throughout the experience, they became super supportive of one another and deeply connected through their shared passions. In keeping with Mount Gay Rum’s commitment to the environment and sustainability, the finalists were invited to experience the natural resources that contribute to making Mount Gay Rum so special. The bartenders took to the ocean on catamaran to soak in the crystal waters in the sunshine where they discussed the brand’s partnership with 4Ocean, they explored Harrison’s Cave which is the source of pristine coral-filtered water, walked the sugar cane fields to learn about the terroir of Barbados with Agricultural Manager, Jacklyn Broomes, toured the oldest rum distillery in the Caribbean and aging rooms and experienced a specially guided rum tasting and blending session with Master Blender, Trudiann Branker. The extraordinary first-hand deep dives into the natural tropical environment that contributes to making Mount Gay Rum aimed to expand their personal lens on sustainability and allowed for any additional insights into their cocktail presentation.
The competitors presented their original sustainable cocktails featuring Mount Gay Rum to judges Julio Cabrera (Cafe La Trova), Christine Wiseman (BarLab / Broken Shaker) and Laurent Cosson (Global Director of Mount Gay Rum) at the distillery at a private intimate event hosted by Collectif 1806. Christine Wiseman shared some thoughts on her advice for approaching sustainability in cocktail presentations,”think about the competition as a whole concept versus just your one specific cocktail that uses repurposed ingredients. Sustainability can be and is so much more.” Which is exactly what this competition encourages asking bartenders to push the boundaries and possibilities of sustainability in cocktails. All of the finalist’s cocktail presentations were exceptional, but it was Peter Hannah whose thoughtfulness in sustainability, incorporation of what he learned during the tours of Barbados, his confident presence and, of course, a super delicious cocktail, that ultimately led him to win as overall national Champion of More Taste, Less Waste 2022.
Pete Hannah (he / him) shares some of his experience
What was your cocktail and it’s sustainability aspect?
Urbanized Chaos was a swizzled cocktail (to alleviate water waste) that used Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, banana bread amontillado sherry, spent orange peel Curacao and mango hopped shrub with a float of chocolate bitters and then garnished with mint stem/hop powder and mango leather. The idea was to create a cocktail that used waste not just from my bar but from other businesses around town (banana bread from a local bakery, mango skins and pits from a juice bar, hops from a local brewery etc.) to try to create a thoroughly Floridian cocktail that utilized waste products from our local establishments. I called this Urban Terroir; resuscitating local products from local businesses to create location-centric cocktails with reused products. I think it could create some cool new cocktails and ingredients from different parts of the country and around the world.
What was it like participating and competing in this competition in Barbados and did you learn anything significant about Mount Gay that you didn’t know before?
I learned so much about Mount Gay Rum, Bajan culture and the wonderful island of Barbados. It was an amazing experience that I’ll cherish forever. Getting to experience a competition where I was the only man was also great. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by a team of totally awesome women bartenders; they all brought their A-Game, so I was very humbled to come out with the win. It was a real highlight to visit the rum shops on the island and speak to real local islanders, and also to eat the different strands of sugar cane on the Mount Gay property. It was unreal to see the lengths Mount Gay are going to to resuscitate the island that’s given them so much; from doubling their bee population every year to re-introducing a mahogany grove onto their land.
Do you have any tips for bartenders interested in submitting a cocktail to the More Taste Less Waste Competition next year?
As Kayla Mata from Collectif 1806 said to me, “you’ve nothing to lose and a great experience to gain.” If you’re not into sipping rum on a catamaran as the sun sets over the Caribbean, or can’t get inspired at the thought of visiting the oldest distillery in the Western Hemisphere then maybe this isn’t for you. If, however, your brain works then I say, “GO FOR IT!” It’s a chance to not only make drinks for people who genuinely respect your craft but also gives you an opportunity to think about something that is genuinely good for the planet.
How are you sustainable in your day to day life?
Honestly, I don’t think you have to go from zero to sixty miles an hour as you consider sustainability. Little things can help. I try to eat less meat than I previously did to lower my carbon footprint and when I reach for fruit or vegetables, I look for things in season and local, with a closer supply chain whenever possible. I also try to limit my plastics usage. In my retirement planning, I’m investing in companies like Rivian as I believe sustainable energy is important. In terms of bar sustainability, I like cordials as an alternative to using too much citrus and I like seasonality or produce that can endure cold storage to avoid needing nitrogen rich fertilizers and chemicals that erode and degrade soils. I also try to learn as much as I can about (environmental) changes that affect our industry. Just yesterday I was speaking to my good pal and agave boffin Robert Mercier about agricultural practices in Mexico and how we might think about pricing and building tequila cocktails as agave becomes harder to source because of the surge in new brands.
Urbanized Chaos – Cocktail by Peter Hannah
- 1.5 oz Mount Gay Black Barrel
- .5 oz Bananabread Amontillado Sherry
- .25 oz Orange Peel Curacao**
- 1.5 oz Hopped Mango Oleo Shrub***
- Chocolate Bitters Float
- Mint Stem and Hop Powder**** & Mango Leather Garnish*****
*1 slice of banana bread (day old from your local bakery is fine) blended on high into 1/2 bottle sherry for 60-90 seconds. Strain through cheese cloth/coffee filter. Bottle and refrigerate
**Add 300g used orange peels from juicing/not used during service into 375 bottle of Remy Martin 1738. Gently press the peels. leave for 6-8 hours agitating a few times along the way. Strain the mixture and add one part 1:1 simple syrup to 1 part orange brandy base. Bottle and store in a cool dry place.
***Add four mangoes worth of skin and pits and 200g of hops to tuperware/large mason jar (it doesn’t matter if there’s fruit flesh left on the peels). A local juice bar will have plenty of peels and Brewery’s will give you spent hops if you don’t want to buy any. Cover with one cup of granulated sugar, combine thoroughly and cover. Leave in the fridge for 12 hours. Remove peels and hops and stir any undissolved sugar into the mixture you’re left with to make an oleo. Mix two parts oleo to one part champagne vinegar. Bottle and refrigerate.
****Dehydrate discarded mint stems and hops from oleo, blitz in vitamix until turned into a powder. Store in airtight container.
*****Take mango pulp from juicing and blend/puree until smooth. May need to add a touch of water if your juicer has done a thorough job. Spread the mixture onto a baking tray and dehydrate at around 175F for 4-5 hours. Turning once in the middle.Cut into desired shape. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
For more information on Mount Gay Rum, visit mountgayrum.com and follow @collectif1806 to stay up to date on the latest news and opportunities.
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