Burnt toast, ants, discarded coffee grounds, avocado skin – these are just some of the unlikely ingredients now helping to shape an innovative new cocktail menu at Duck & Waffle, Bishopsgate’s most vertiginous cocktail bar. Entitled Urban Foraging vs Urban Decay, the list of 14 drinks (£14 each) explores ideas of sustainability and resourcefulness by using foraged ingredients and leftovers that would usually be overlooked, if not binned outright.
On the Decay list, a verdant Meadow Spritz (first picture) sees a Bombay Sapphire “spring” gin married with preserved elderflower, citrus and a cordial of asparagus ends and cut grass, while the Breakfast with Hemingway (second picture) gives the writer’s favourite maraschino Daiquiri a bitter hint of burnt toast. Tomato stalks are also put to delightful use in a Green G&T (third picture) – a drink sure to make it feel like summer, even if it’s still raining outside.
Stars of the Foraging menu are Formica rufa, or red wood ants, which march their way into both a Woodland Negroni (fourth picture) and the Colony Cocktail, a long drink of whisky, cherry-blossom cordial, bark, grapefruit and ginger ale. Myrmecophobes, on the other hand, may prefer the Pollen (fifth picture), a sparkling aperitif of dill fino, pollen and prosecco.
The creator of the list is Duck & Waffle’s “head of spirit and cocktail development” Rich Woods, a bartender who has made a name for himself using unexpected flavour combinations and culinary techniques.
“I’ve always said that inspiration for creativity is all around us, but with this new menu it literally is,” says Woods. “This current menu focuses on two sides of 21st-century culture. Urban Foraging uses ingredients collected in and around the city, while Urban Decay highlights the importance of choice and what we consider to be byproducts of everyday life. Often the most flavourful and impactful of ingredients aren’t necessarily what society expects.”