How London cocktail bar Nine Lives is making sustainable booze cool…
Sustainability used to involve wearing sandals knitted from coconut husks and a steady diet of aubergine. Now, sustainability has become the new luxury. Take Nine Lives, the pioneering ‘zero waste’ cocktail bar in London Bridge. This swanky neighbourhood booze den is making getting trousered good for the planet (if not for your liver).
The three owners are serious about it, too. Or as they put it, “We have painstakingly given a shit about every item that sits on our menu; every spirit, every beer, every glass.”
If you’re not familiar with the concept of ‘zero waste’ cocktail – or are deeply mistrustful of ‘eco-babble’ – here’s a quick primer. Take, for example, a lemon. Nine Lives uses the juice for its drinks. The skin and pith can then be distilled, releasing essential oils that can be used to manufacture everything from artisan liqueurs to hand soaps and moisturisers. Anything left over from that process is composted and used to fertilise the bar’s impressive herb garden (more on that later).
Nine Lives’ menu is comprised of signature classics (£10), plus spectacular sharing cocktails such as the Pink Panther (£45) that bring a touch of theatre to proceedings. They’re all delicious and they all have a have a tiny carbon footprint.
Take the Kelross Daiquiri, which is made with Ron Zacapa rum and Hackney Honey. To remove the need to use imported citrus fruit, Nine Lives has swapped out the limes for tart Bramley apples, grown in the back garden of one of the owners. Meanwhile, the Ephemeral (Somerset Cider Brandy, Cherry, Hazelnut) features parsley grown in Nine Lives’ herb garden, which is cultivated in partnership with London homeless charity St Mungo’s.
Ingenious. Even the bar’s sound system is reclaimed. The speaker rig was rescued and repurposed from legendary London Bridge night club, Cable.