Don’t waste, drink! #1


Amid all the panic buying and hoarding, England has seen post-Christmas levels of waste being created.

We at Smokestack decided that if we could turn some of that waste into delicious drinks the world would be a happier place!

A lot of our cocktails make use of waste ingredients so with this, we get to share some knowledge, tips and tricks!

To see our full cocktail menu, click here!

For our first session we’ve focused on cordials and how to use all those spent citrus peels from your fruit bowl. 

A cordial is a flavoursome syrup. Whereas a syrup will just include sweetness, a cordial can offer more balanced citric notes. You can substitute a cordial into your favourite cocktail instead of using fresh citrus or simply have it with soda for a tasty non-alcoholic option. 

You will need:

  • Any spent citrus peels (at least 100g to get going)
  • A set of scales
  • A mason jar/jam jar or anything you can put a lid on!
  • Caster sugar (but any white sugar will work as well)
  • A saucepan
  • Water

Step 1:

Congratulations! You’ve already completed this step by eating or using some delicious fruit. You just need to remember to keep the skins. Freezing is an option as you build up your supply and feel free to mix and match different flavours. Lemons, limes, oranges etc.

Step 2:

There are two methods for this next step:

i. Cold Process

Weigh your peels, place in your jar and add the same weight in caster sugar. Leave it overnight for best results to allow the sugar to pull out all those natural oils. The next day, add the same weight again in water and stir until all the residual sugar has been dissolved. 

ii. Hot Process

Add equal weights of sugar, peel and water to a pan and bring to the boil. Let it boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool naturally. 

Step 3:

Strain your mixture through a fine strainer or coffee filter into a sterilised bottle. Well done, you’ve just made a cordial – easy!

Bonus Points

If you want to add further complexity of flavours, you can use the following methods to pimp up your cordial:

  • Infuse your water with a flavoured tea before adding to the citrus and sugar. Earl grey, lapsang and jasmine are all great starters for delicious flavour combos
  • Add leftover herbs to your cordial before it’s finished on a hot process. Flavours like lemon and tarragon are great friends
  • Use a pinch of citric acid to give extra balance. Most world food supermarkets will have citric acid in their spice sections

Now drink!

Here’s one we enjoy at the bar. 

Smokestack’s No-Waste Collins

50ml gin

40ml lemon peel, jasmine & tarragon cordial

Top with Soda

Method: Build in a tall glass with ice. Stir and enjoy!

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