“If you know how to do it safely, you can make alcohol out of anything,” said trained chemist-turned-mixologist Mark Lloyd. The barman, one of Bangkok’s best known despite having relocated to the city just a few years ago, plans to put his money where his mouth is next week with a pop-up bar at Thailand’s favorite festival, Wonderfruit.
The ambitious project, aptly called “Zero Waste Bar,” is going to require that Lloyd think on his feet. Since he’ll be traversing the festival grounds collecting food waste from various vendors, he can’t be positive what’s going to be on the cocktail list yet. It’ll all depend on what he finds.
He explained a bit more about the concept to Coconuts, “A lot of people misconceive zero waste bartending, it’s not like I take garbage and make drinks out of it. It’s more like, if you’re given a pineapple, you use every bit of it. Nothing is thrown away.”
When asked to take the pineapple example further, he broke it down, from the spiny skin, to the fibrous fronds to the hard-as-hell core. “The frond has loads of gentian in it, which is the active ingredient in bitters and tonic water.” He likes to put it into high-proof vodka and leave it for 2-3 weeks to make cocktail bitters with a really intense flavor.
The pineapple skin is transformed into a South American-style fermented alcohol drink called tepache. “There’s loads of yeast in pineapple skin, we add water and coconut sugar and leave it.” The resulting brew is light, slightly carbonated, fruity and — thanks to a low alcohol level — great for drinking under the hot sun.
The hard core of the pineapple is made into vinegar. Lloyd explained that, thanks to loads of enzymes, it makes great vinegar, created by salting the middle to force it to go soft and sour.
He says that he’ll definitely be doing a load of pineapple and watermelon tepache since those ingredients will be everywhere. He also knows he’ll have “Watermelon 101” a cocktail made with boutique Thai Grandma Jinn spirit, watermelon juice, watermelon rind cordial, and roasted seed and black pepper powder.
One thing you won’t find at his bar is lime. “Citrus is a massive waste, so we won’t use it. We balance our cocktails with vinegar to take the sweetness away rather than the traditional lemon or lime.”
It’s not that limes can’t be employed in a zero waste bar, it’s that it would require long hours of cooking and dehydrating to do it and would be nearly impossible in a field.
And don’t even mention sleep. In between being creative with menus, playing binman, and making the actual drinks, Lloyd will be teaching festival-goers about zero-waste at workshops during the day. He’ll be leading classes on tepache-making, safe fermenting at home, and “how to use every part that you possibly can from your fruits and vegetables.”
For those not familiar with Lloyd, he’s been associated with the (sadly now-defunct) 88 Surawong bar, booze importer Bootleggers, consultant for countless bars and restaurants in Bangkok, and developed the recipes for some of the boutique boozes now being made in Thailand, such as Lamoon rum from Surin province.
And, he’s got his own pop-up monthly bar event near his home on Bangkok’s outskirts, Sammakorn Cocktail Club. Well worth the trip just for the PB&J Old Fashioned, trust us.
Zero Waste Bar is an ongoing project for Lloyd, who thinks he’s among the best-qualified to run it with his chemistry background. He’s done one-off events like special menus at Bunker Sathorn, classes at The Commons, and talks all over the city. However, this is the biggest undertaking he’s done with the earth-friendly endeavor.
If you see him on the festival grounds looking sleepy, now you know why.
Zero Waste Bar
Wonder Kitchen Tent, Wonderfruit Festival
The Fields at Siam Country Club, Pattaya
Dec. 13-16, nearly around the clock
All drinks THB250