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  • Writer's pictureSharon Wilson

Toast to Gaia - climate-friendly cocktail trail

Kicking off on Saturday, 19 March, Toast to Gaia is a self-guided trail of Edinburgh’s leading independent bars and restaurants, each offering a brand-new climate-themed cocktail. Presented by Edinburgh Science Festival (9-24 April), the trail aims to highlight the important work the Scottish drinks industry undertakes to help fight the climate crisis.

Keeping a keen eye on the future of our planet are 17 bars and restaurants, two of which were recently voted best in the UK: Paradise Palms, Voodoo Rooms, Joseph Pearce, Victoria, Vesta, Nauticus, Panda & Sons, Leith Depot, Little Rascals Wine, The Green Room, Bellfield Taproom, Hoot the Redeemer, Bramble bar, Smoke and Mirrors, Last Word Saloon, Lucky Liquor and Uno Mas.

Adult audiences are invited to sample the new cocktails and chat to the bartenders about the story behind their creation: from using sustainable ingredients to managing waste, e.g. fermenting cucumbers leftover from gin cocktails, using beer from cleaning the draught lines or making cordial from discarded citrus husks.

Sample drinks like:

Temperance from Smoke & Mirrors comprising Fair quinoa vodka with grapefruit liqueur, pineapple and vanilla

The Lovelock at Paradise Palms: Avallen Calvados, Flor de Cana 7, tea syrup, citric acid, apple juice, peach bitters, raspberries

Oscar the Highball from The Last Word: Avallen calvados or Portobello Road gin, IPA & citrus husk cordial, orange bitters, soda

Quite Contrary from Bramble: Seawolf rum, garden peas, fermented cucumber, honey.

Hannah Schlesinger, Director of Development at Edinburgh Science said:

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with and support some of Scotland's leading bars and restaurants through Toast to Gaia, a unique trail not only showcasing the vibrant cocktail and bar scene in Edinburgh capital but, more importantly, the fantastic work the Edinburgh hospitality industry is undertaking to help tackle the climate emergency. We are so excited to share this, along with the Sociable Science events within our 2022 programme, with our adult audience who can look forward to immersive, hands-on and science-based events that are sure to inspire.”

Jon Hughes, Group Operations Manager at Bramble, the Last Word Saloon and the Lucky Liquor Co. said:

“The climate emergency we’re living through affects all parts of our lives which of course extends to what we do in our leisure time. The cocktail trail is a great opportunity for us in hospitality to look at the way we’re doing things, and to see if we can make drinks in ways that aren’t harmful to the world. We wanted to see if we could make use of some things that we usually might consider waste and so the key ingredient in our serve is a cordial made from beer that is usually discarded when we clean our draught beer lines, and from leftover citrus husks that we’ve already used for juicing and zests.
“We’re also super excited to see that organisations like the Edinburgh Science Festival are keen to work with bars and restaurants in the city after what has been a difficult time for our trade, and we can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve come up with.”

Toast to Gaia is part of Socialable Science strand at this year’s Edinburgh Science Festival which also features Climate Cocktails, a special event exploring how the drinks industry can create a perfect tipple without it costing the Earth, Phenomenal Fungi delving deep into the world of the delicious, dangerous and vital to life on Earth fungi, The Material World looking at the history of fabric – and including a botanical hand-dying experience – and Sensational Stories of Science, an evening of fantastic science discoveries and feats of genius, hosted by Susan Morrison. As per previous years, the legendary Science Festival Late takes over the flagship children’s venue, City Art Centre, for one evening of unadulterated fun and over at the National Museum of Scotland, the interactive exhibition about big data, DataSphere, transforms into Data After Dark, including DJs, bars and new activities.

Becky Paskin, Sprits Writer and Whisky Expert and a speaker at Climate Cocktails said:

“There has never been a more important moment to tackle our climate emergency and I’m proud to say that the drinks industry has embraced this challenge and opportunity. It’s fantastic to see Edinburgh Science bring this to their audiences through their Festival programme and I look forward to seeing how the community of excellent, and innovative, independent bars and restaurants around Edinburgh can inspire and challenge us all to take positive climate-action when it comes to enjoying ourselves.”

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