Stories / Impact

8 Chefs on How to Host a Waste Not Cocktail Party

Maggie Borden

October 30, 2019


Photo: F. Martin Ramin
Photo: Jeff Gurwin

These chilly temps and blustery fall winds may have you saying ciao to al fresco dining, but between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and your average Friday night, there's plenty of reason to entertain indoors. We asked our Boot Camp chefs for their top tips and tricks for throwing a sustainable cocktail party, so you can focus on the guest list and canapés instead of being the host with the most scraps and leftovers. Read on for their advice, and give your next soirée a little bit of a #WasteNot kick.

William Dissen    
The Marketplace Restaurant, Asheville, NC    

Make a leftover garden cocktail—use leftover tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs. Purée, strain, and make a garden water. Then blend it with an herb simple syrup and vodka of your choice for a light and refreshing martini.

Jenneffer Pulapaka    
Cress, DeLand, FL    

What do you do with egg whites after making crème brûlée? You make this fabulous and tasty gem.

Kevin Fonzo    
La Tavola, Orlando, FL    

Save all leftover citrus rinds and peels to infuse into your vodka and/or gin for a refreshing cocktail. Also save overripe/bruised fruit and berries and combine them with vinegar and sugar to make a shrub. Shrubs are perfect for mocktails (mixed with still or sparkling water) or cocktails!

Clayton Rollison    
Lucky Rooster, Hilton Head, SC    

We use the leftover rind and pith from our citrus to make cordials. Mix fruit rinds, pith, and sugar into the spirit of your choice.

Anthony Lamas    
Seviche, Louisville, KY    

Pineapple peelings add amazing flavor...infuse them into something or simply muddle in a glass to extract flavor, then strain.    

Caitlin Corcoran   
Ça Va, Kansas City, MO

I love using the pickling liquid leftover after we pickle berries to make a shrub for cocktails. I usually use the berries on a cheese board or in a salad. From there I add a little honey syrup to the residual pickle liquid, spirit of choice (mezcal for me), and top with either soda water or cava.

Ed Kenney    
TOWN, Honolulu, HI   

GRAPPA! the ultimate zero-waste digestivo. Distilled from grape seeds, skins, and stems, byproducts of wine production. Infuse it with fruit pits, coffee cherry skins, cacao flesh, etc.  

Evan Hanczor    
Egg, Brooklyn, NY    

Lowbrow brilliant: picklebacks!

We're bringing the #wastenot experience across America this fall—get tickets to our national culinary series and learn more.


The James Beard Foundation's new cookbook, Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food, offers up a host of delicious solutions to the pressing problem of food waste. Featuring 100 recipes from alumni of our Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and ChangeWaste Not will teach you how to turn every root, bone, rind, and stem into an irresistible dish.

Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food, published by Rizzoli,​ is on sale now.​ Order your copy today!

Maggie Borden is content manager at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.