Spirited Seminar: Nature and Nurture. Tips for Embracing Foraging and Fermentation for Wildly Sustainable Signature Cocktails

Eleni Bock forages and puts sustainability at the forefront of her career. She roots out invasive species, marrying her science background with her passion and learned skills in fermentation. The art is in her ability to apply them to craft “creative and unique flavour profiles” and head-turning libations.

Her experimental approach to sustainable cocktails has their roots in foraging in northern Ontario. It’s taken her on a path to elevating cocktails that incorporate wild plants and their byproducts and led her to become the winning Deanston Change maker, one of 5 who are recognized for their efforts to be a positive contributor to the hospitality industry and Canada’s bartending community. She also was part of the team at the helm of helping Ration Food Labs earn a Michelin Recommend (2022) for its overall approach to sustainability critical to the future of the industry with rapidly changing consumer behaviour at the forefront of driving change. This seminar is a must attend for those interested in driving on-premises environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials and sustainable hand-crafted cocktails. It has been structured in keeping with the goal of knowledge-sharing while supporting all attendees’ unique passions and skills in creating unforgettable sustainably focused drinks. It will cover practical tips for a ‘how to’ approach to foraging and zero-waste, sustainable harvesting, and fermentation and the creative process exploring innovative infusions.

Attendees from big cities to small towns with various micro-climates will take away practical ideas while deepening their knowledge in the fundamentals of foraging and fermentation, with inspiration for the senses, considering tinctures and garnishes along with the investments and practical considerations for success. The history of foraging, from being utilized to bring in nourishment, will be explored and its evolution from a niche practice that danced on the line between saving some money and eating organically to present-day guidelines and foraging dogma. Personal safety, environmental respect, and key considerations from getting set up to making it sustainable will be explored: The How’s: Are you in the right place? Is it the right time of year? Do you have the right plant? Are you taking too much? How can you preserve what you have taken if you do not use it all? Terroir and climate and understanding the invasive and indigenous flora to unite, knowing where and when you can forage, with success and safety in mind. The Dos and Don’ts: Timing is everything. Seasonality and its role in bringing out and preserving optimal flavors, understanding that not every ingredient works with any preservation technique, including for garnishes. Practical and real-word examples will include Eleni’s use of pilot grape tendrils from their previous season to garnish her winning changemaker cocktail will also be shared. The Why’s: From the cost-benefit considerations from overall shopping expenses to zero waste to the initial set-up costs and materials you will want to have on your plan to the vital importance between the way you set up your kitchen and bar relative to each other considering food safety, storage and by products.

Brought to TOCC by Deanston (2023 Gold International Spirits Challenge and 2022 Winner World Whiskies Award), the Seminar will also include information shared by Brand Ambassador, Kyle McHugh on the distillery’s commitment to sustainability, including its practice to use only local barley in its Highland single malt scotch whisky, partnerships with local farmers, and its century old sustainable roots situated on the river Teith. Today, Deanston is 100% hydro-powered with much of the excess energy producing power for the national grid. Besides information on Deanston’s Signature Highlands Scotch Characteristics, its craftsmanship, attendees will also learn more about Deanston’s history of entrepreneurialism, its change making female Master Distiller and a new search for a second round of change makers behind Canadian bars championing a range of causes from Diversity and Inclusion, Mental Health, Mentorship and Bartender Safety, as part of the 2024 Cut from A Different Tartan campaign new search.

August 12 @ 11:30
11:30 — 12:30 (1h)


Eleni Bock, Kyle McHugh