Sustainable Cocktails go Mainstream: From Trash Tiki to Supernova Ballroom
Supernova Ballroom, located in Toronto’s financial district, is a cocktail lounge with a distinct 1970’s vibe, set in a building from the 1920s, that serves up drinks made with the 2020 consumer in mind. Upon first glance, the space itself seems like it would be the most impressive feature of the bar. High ceilings reminiscent of a cathedral are highlighted by a long velvety curtain and hanging chandeliers. However, when you understand the commitment to sustainable practices that allowed Supernova Ballroom to take form, you understand that there is so much more to the space than chic decor.
Iain Griffiths and Kelsey Ramage are the team behind Supernova Ballroom, but you may also recognize these familiar faces as the dynamic duo behind Trash Tiki. Trash Tiki began as a pop-up that borrowed elements from the punk movement, encouraging both consumers and industry players alike to “#drinklikeyougiveafuck”.
Griffiths and Ramage met while working at Dandelyan in London. After witnessing the waste created within the bartending industry, Ramage and Griffiths began discussing “a project we could take on the road where we could play the music we wanted and start breathing some life back into the word ‘sustainability’”.
In just one month, Trash Tiki grew from a solo pop-up into a global tour. They brought Trash Tiki on the road, setting up in bars to educate and inform bartenders, owners, operators, and customers about sustainable cocktails.
At RC Show 2019, Ramage and Griffiths served up insights on the sober curious trend as well as actionable advice on how to create more sustainable cocktails. This year, the duo will be back at RC Show 2020, representing Supernova Ballroom.
While the team has kept true to their environmental roots, Supernova Ballroom is a more mature and sophisticated approach. Guests are invited to sip on classics like the gin fizz, French 75 or peach Bellini. Their Supernova Bellini, a summer special, features locally-grown peaches from the Niagara region. Using local produce is one of the key ways that Supernova Ballroom aims to connect to their sustainable roots. “We’re right in the belt and we have access to a vast array of ingredients.” says Ramage.
As many Canadian chefs, cooks, bartenders and owner/operators can attest to, one of the biggest issues with prioritizing the use of local ingredients is the limitations in the winter. Ramage and Griffiths turn to preservation techniques to extend the shelf life of Canadian produce.
By leveraging local, Ramage and Griffiths aim to lessen the disconnect between consumer and producer. It helps that Supernova Ballroom projects an approachable atmosphere that takes the mystery and hard work out of drinking sustainably. It can be intimidating for consumers to begin to understand where their food / drinks come from, and it can be equally as intimidating for them to apply practices to their own menus at home. Stylish and high-end, Supernova Ballroom brings in customers first with a fun story and unique lounge vibe but ensures they return by offering cocktails that do good for the stomach and Earth.
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