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Anyone for a banana skin daiquiri?


Anyone for a banana skin daiquiri?

Saving the planet might be the last thing on your mind when sipping your evening tipple. 

But an increasing number of drinks are using food waste as a key ingredient, meaning you can do your bit while savouring what’s in your glass.

According to industry expert WRAP, the UK produces a staggering 9.5 million tonnes of food waste a year valued at more than £19 billion. 

Now beers and spirits made from food waste are becoming big business, with distillers infusing spirits with discarded fruit and brewers using surplus bread and cereal to craft beers.

But are they still palatable as well as virtuous? Our drinks expert Helen McGinn puts them to the test . . .

Discarded Banana Peel Rum, 70cl, £31.25, The base is Caribbean rum that’s infused for two weeks with unwanted banana peel, and the result is smooth and deliciously fruity


Toast Ale Craft Lager, 330ml, £2, Ocado

The idea to make surplus bread-based beer first popped up almost ten years ago, and Toast is now one of the leading beer brands tackling food waste in the UK.

To date it has used three million slices of surplus bread from bakeries and supermarkets to craft its beer.

Bread is used in the brewing process, along with malted barley and European hops, and this one really does what it says on the tin. It’s crisp and refreshing with a reassuringly present hoppy flavour. 8/10


Discarded Banana Peel Rum, 70cl, £31.25,

This brilliant brand is all about creating spirits from waste food, including vodka from grape skins, vermouth from cascara (the discarded fruit of the coffee berry) and this one — my favourite — rum made from discarded banana skins sourced from a food flavouring manufacturer.

The base is Caribbean rum that’s infused for two weeks with unwanted banana peel, and the result is smooth and deliciously fruity.

Sip on its own, mix it with ginger ale or use it in a daiquiri. A truly tropical delight! 7/10


Seven Brothers Thrown Away IPA, 440ml, £2.50, Booths

Started by (funnily enough) seven brothers almost a decade ago, this impressive Salford-based outfit teamed up with Kellogg’s to make beer from rejected corn flakes (ones that are too big or small to make it into a packet).

There really is a whiff of cereal to it, closely followed by plenty of citrus and tropical aromas from the Chinook and Amarillo hops. 

Fresh and biscuity, this is one to sip and savour — just perhaps not at breakfast. 9/10


Served Hard Seltzer Variety Pack, 6 x 250ml, £12, Ocado

Brothers Dean and Ryan Ginsberg launched this drinks company back in 2019. 

They use imperfect or ‘wonky’ fruit to infuse four-times distilled vodka and sparkling water to make so-called hard seltzers, and singer Ellie Goulding is such a fan she invested in the firm. 

Flavours include lime and raspberry and they taste brilliantly crisp, fresh and fruity.

But they’re so easy to drink, you might forget there’s alcohol in there (4 per cent abv). 6/10


Black Cow Vodka, 70cl, £29, Morrisons

Black Cow Vodka, 70cl, £29, Morrisons

Black Cow Vodka, 70cl, £29, Morrisons

When Dorset dairy farmer Jason Barber and his friend Archie wanted to produce something from whey (the part left over from milk after making cheese), they decided vodka was the answer.

The result is a triple-filtered vodka that’s clean and bright with a creamy texture. Smooth enough to sip on its own, it’s also great in a vodka martini.

To make a Dirty Cow, put 50ml Black Cow Vodka into a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice, add 20ml of dry white vermouth and a teaspoon of olive brine from a jar of olives.

Then shake and strain into a martini glass and garnish with an olive. 8/10


Hyke Gin, 70cl, £29.24,

The company behind this gin specialises in making spirits from surplus food — in this case, it’s unwanted table grapes from UK supermarkets.

The grapes are distilled and then infused with a long list of botanicals including juniper (the main botanical used in gin), rooibos leaves from South Africa and cumin leaves, coriander, cardamom and lemon zest.

Crisp and fresh with a reassuring hit of pine from the juniper, it’s a refreshingly sustainable option for your evening G&T. 7/10


Trash & Treasure Spiced Botanical Rum, 70cl, £34,

Trash & Treasure Spiced Botanical Rum, 70cl, £34,

Trash & Treasure Spiced Botanical Rum, 70cl, £34,

Tom Warner makes a range of award-winning gins at his Northamptonshire farm, but it’s his rum that really hits the spot.

Made using overripe bananas, discarded fruit peel and dandelion roots, these waste ingredients are distilled and infused with Jamaican white rum to produce a properly complex spirit with fruit and spice on the palate. 

Try on its own or use it to make a banana daiquiri. 8/10

  • Helen’s book The Knackered Mother’s Wine Guide is out now.

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