Born and raised in Detroit, Amanda McLemore always dreamed of becoming a chef. What she didn’t realize was that her journey through culinary schools would leave her with a need to understand where her food was coming from and what it was made of. In 2010, Amanda founded Baguette & Butter to be the world’s first sustainable digital food space and to be the leading authority in sustainable food media.
In 2016, Amanda gave up the grocery store for an entire year to learn to connect with the local food grown in her city. She not only learned to garden, preserve and make many staple grocery items, but she also reduced her waste; all for her health and the health of the planet.
Fueled by her belief that we can heal both ourselves and the earth simultaneously, Amanda is renowned for her unique perspective and presentation to self-care and sustainability for the city dweller.
We were honored when Amanda agreed to speak virtually with us about what it means to make sustainable cocktails at home and how to implement more sustainable practices within our home bars. Read on for our Q&A with Amanda, then make sure to check out Baguette & Butter for seasonally-focused recipes and follow on Instagram to fill your feed with colorful food porn all year round.
Q: Why do you think it's important to consider sustainability when making a cocktail?
Amanda McLemore: Being a sustainable food activist, I think sustainability should be at the forethought of every kitchen and bar, but especially in making cocktails. For so long cocktails have had a wasteful reputation. I can't help but think of red cups and overflowing garbage bins when thinking of cocktails. Curating a sustainable cocktail is all about intentionality. It is about the less, but better approach. The more we mix cocktails with sustainable ingredients, the more we are supporting spirit brands that are supporting healing the earth and aligning with our values. We don't have to sacrifice to be sustainable.
Q: What are some ways that city-dwelling home bartenders can mix up more sustainable cocktails?
AM: The most important tip is to learn the basics and keep your bar stocked with the essentials, because who wastes a perfectly made drink? It is also super important to support local and sustainable spirit brands, ie. How sustainable is your cocktail if the spirits you are using don't support sustainability too? Lastly, keep your cocktails simple. We don't need bells and whistles to make our cocktails exciting, we simply need great ingredients.
Q: We often hear about the importance of eating seasonal foods, but is it also important to consider the seasons when we make cocktails?
AM: It is important to consider seasonality in cocktails. Not only will your cocktails taste better - local and seasonal foods often have better flavor since they don't have to travel as far - but your cocktails will also be more seasonally appropriate. What's better than sipping a Bourbon Peach Smash while sitting in the shade under the peach tree in the summer garden?
Q: Are there ways to save money when mixing sustainable cocktails?
AM: So many! There are simple ways to use up parts of produce or excess produce to make simple sustainable cocktails at home. The simplest way is in the form of a simple syrup. Use up citrus peels or herbs before they reach the bin. You can also save money by curating your sustainable home bar in an intentional way where you most likely will spend less because you don't need a full bar assortment.