Every Drops Counts! How to Reduce Water Waste in bar


Do you know how much water is consumed when you order a gorgeous cocktail in a bar? Claire Sprouse and Chad Arnholt from Tin Roof Drink Community shared with us their observation about water usage in bars during the Berlin Bar Convent (BCB 2018) . Tin Roof Drink Community is based in Portland, US and provides consulting and education towards more sustainable ways in the cocktail industry.

Water is essential and clean water was always an indicator of civilization. It can be very easy to access to it for westerner and northern people but who is really very aware of the cost of clean water? How much water is consumed daily for a modern and convenient lifestyle? “Being SAFE, being ABUNDANT and being CHEAP are totally three different requirements when we discuss about nature resource” Claire said. And, while resources are limited, it is hard to achieve three of them at the same time.

Here are the water consumption of each stages of the cocktails experience :

  1. Ice machine makes ice
  2. Ice added for shaking, chills and dilute cocktail
  3. Cocktail is strained over fresh ice
  4. Dump spent shaking ice
  5. Tins and jiggers get rinsed
  6. Guest consumes cocktail, with a possibility to add water to dilute
  7. Ice Leftover
  8. Glass goes through dishwashers


First, Claire and Chad divided the cocktail making flow into 8 checkpoints. While we drink a cocktail, water had been used more than 3 time. For example, one Margarita need between 0.9L to 2L of water.

Sustainable living doesn’t have to be about sacrifice and luxury doesn’t have to be about waste!” pointed out Chad. While designing a better working flow we can reduce pollution and waste efficiently!

Considering the equipment, a bartender rinses glasses through a sprayer, faucet and rinse it in a full watered basin. Each gadget uses different volumes of water. High flow of faucet would use most water compared to a well-designed rinser. Of course, recipes can also have some effects : some cocktails use more water and some cocktails are simple straight. For example  Martini is more environmental friendly than a Margarita just because it saves ice. But according to Claire & Chad observation it is the “waste of ice” that takes the highest portion of water use in a mixology.

And we are not even talking hereabout different ingredients applied in building a cocktails. The second point of view  that Tin Roof Drink Community reminded us is that many edible ingredients also need water irrigation to grow. If only you would see the real and invisible water cost of cocktail ingredients, you would probably take them as real luxury experience.And now, think of when you are drinking an exotic recipe with long carbon footprints……


Written by Mokki Hsiao

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