Why Choose Dry...?
Anyone can pour a decent gin and tonic - right? But what elevates it to a great G & T is a great garnish. Our fabulous dried fruit is right there, in its bag, ready to go. Sliced and dried to last right down to the bottom of the bottle.
Cocktail garnishes are more than decoration added to the rim of the glass for a bit of flash showiness; choose the right garnish to complement your tipple and it can add character and style to any mixed drink. They can enhance the flavour through your taste buds and your sense of smell. True artisans will know which garnish to choose to enhance the ingredients of the spirit.
Here we have sliced the fruit for you, so instead of losing precious party moments while you slice fruit, our pack can sit right there on your drinks cabinet, ready to go quicker than you can say "The Zest Co".
Orange garnishes are probably one of the most used, useful and versatile fruit slices to have at hand. The list of cocktails they can grace is endless and they can pair quite happily and deliciously with gin, vodka or rum. The oranges we use come from Spain and are free from nasty chemicals post and pre-harvest, so we have absolute confidence in dropping the whole slice into our drink, skin and all. And once it has had its bath in the spirit of choice, the skin softens and becomes really rather delicious to eat.
Thin citrussy lemon slices once dried can add a whole new set of characteristics to play with. Use your cocktail stirrer or straw (non-plastic of course!) to push the citrus slices between the ice, and you can create your own masterpiece in a glass. Lemon works particularly well with drinks on the rocks, and when it has been dried the flesh starts to turn golden, just as if it had been kissed by summer. As with our oranges, our lemons are organic and untreated.
A zesty lime wheel is a simple but classic garnish. Cut a tiny nick in the peel towards the centre of the slice and wedge it on the edge of your glass. Honestly, no serious mixologist should ever be without a supply of lime slices, they are so versatile. What else goes with a good, cold lager on a hot day, as well as with mojitos and margaritas?
The other citrus fruit we just must have close to hand is pink or ruby grapefruit. These deliciously bitter fruits come to you cut into half or quarter wheels, depending on the size of the original fruit and can be slipped into a myriad of cocktails to add another level of taste.
And when the drinking's over, there is no thinking about what to do with a part used fruit, just fold over the bag and its all ready for your next occasion.
The idea began as all the best ideas begin. With family over a couple of glasses of gin. Someone mentioned how it seemed such a shame to waste a whole lemon for the sake of a few slices with your drink. Then someone else said they had seen dried, sliced fruit offered for sale to the crafting market for making Christmas decorations. We debated. Why, if it was for sale for making wreaths, why couldn't it be used for cocktails?
The following morning, I replayed the convo and thought "Why not?".
So I looked at the fruit in my local supermarket and noticed most of it was treated with something or other. As all I wanted to do was give the fruit a simple wash and use the WHOLE fruit, this didn't sit well with me. The thought of various post-harvest chemicals clinging to the skin of the lemon in my G & T was beginning to make my hair stand on end!
After several late nights spent researching these chemicals, the effects of these chemicals and how to get rid of them, I decided without a shadow of a doubt I simply wanted nothing to do with them. Full Stop.
Instead I put my energies into tracking down a supplier who had the same ethos as me, delivered to my local area and supplied all the right fruit in all the right volumes. That it is not the cheapest option around is more than balanced out by the quality and peace of mind this stuff brings.
Natural. Organically Produced. Untreated
It all begins with the fruit. We believe in zero waste, so that means using all the fruit. Skin and all. That's why we insist on sourcing natural and organic fruit to go into our bags. After all, its whats going into your cocktail - wouldn't you want that too?
So why use organic? Isn't it more expensive?
Well yes it IS more expensive in terms of pounds and pence. But in real terms like your health and the world around us, we think its the only option worth considering. It means putting the food first, not messing about with it to make it look nice, or last longer, or cost less. It also means that each individual piece of fruit really is an individual, with its own lumps and bumps and uneven bits. You may notice that your orange wheel is not a perfect circle, or there may be a tiny bit more pith on the grapefruit quarters.
It seems to us that perfection has to come in plastic packaging covered in chemicals. We don't want perfection, we just want Good.
This was the first and foremost thing we considered when choosing our lovely suppliers. They simply had to share the same values. We believe they do.
We have only the one planet, we all have a responsibility to take care of it.
If we're dehydrating fruit, I guess we needed a dehydrator as a first step. Right?
Well isn't that a whole new world?
We bought the first one we saw that had reasonable ratings on Amazon. We outgrew this baby within about a month - two oranges and three limes at a time, does not a business make - and upgraded to a ten shelf stainless steel bad boy that just swallows up whole deliveries in one.
Along came the knives, boards, bags, sealing tools and a myriad of other things that are not generally considered when starting up a business. As well as gaining a Food Safety Certificate, buying business insurance, registering with Companys House AND for corporate tax. I started to feel like a grown up.
Less plastic, more eco
We just had to go down the eco route with our bags. No compromise. They were harder to find, they certainly cost more, and yes they are probably a little less robust when it comes to the rigours of our postal service. But a new business can go down a number of roads. We wanted our road to be as ethical, genuine and honest as possible.
And we finally found our bag. They are 100% biodegradable and compostable. Made with board sourced purely from sustainable and ethical sources. The lining is made from bioplastic (PLA). Yes, we had to ask too: Poly or polylactic acid or polylactide. A thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable biomass, typically from fermented plant starch such as from corn, cassava, sugarcane or sugar beet pulp. The bio-film lining offers a fully biodegradable and compostable alternative to standard bags.
Easy re-sealing with the tin-tie option, sealed the deal - this can be easily ripped off when the compost heap calls.
Incidentally, all the packaging our suppliers use is not only eco-friendly but its returnable too, so it is available to be re-used time and time again.
The First Step
By now, we had a pretty good idea of what we were doing, how we would do it and our basic ethical guidelines. Not to mention a pantry starting to burst at the seams with various kinds of dried fruit. It was a great excuse for a cocktail a night - but not really an effective business plan.
But if you want to be a business, you kind of need to be known. We could really do with a bit of a presence in the world of commerce. Did someone mention Instagram?
My first ever post as thezestco was of a wooden board full of dried fruit. It looked quite good if I say so myself, but I was astounded at the attention and love it received. My hashtag game was not worth diddly, but I listened to the Millennials around me and gradually gained a few followers.
The gin community of Instagram is a fabulous place and I popped a few samples out to a few fab people and you can see the reviews we received dotted around the site.
Then along came this website. Its certainly not perfect (but it is organic!) but that's kind of okay too - my SEO skills are next to non-existent, so its highly unlikely many people will see it anyway. Well done for getting here - now go and have a cocktail - with some stunningly beautiful garnish of course
"I was gifted a couple of packets of these gorgeous dried fruit slices from TheZestCo and they're gorgeous. What I love most about TheZestCo is their packaging is made entirely from sustainable and ethical sources."