AC Hotel Tucson Downtown Celebrates LEED Certification with Sustainable Cocktail

The AC Hotel clinks cocktail glasses with pride.

To celebrate their recently awarded certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown is clinking glasses with pride.

And you can too. A dedication ceremony will be held from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27 in the hotel’s lobby to celebrate their LEED 2018 New Construction and Major Renovations award — with Sustainable Sour cocktails to sip on.

More on LEED

LEED, the most widely used green building rating system in the world, verifies the green features of a building (or neighborhood). The buildings that result are healthier — more-cost effective and resource-efficient, placing less stress on the environment.

The AC Hotel Tucson Downtown is an exemplar of environmental design; the team adhered to stringent eco-friendly requirements throughout the hotel’s development in order to qualify for such a prestigious award.

LEED requirements; environmental awareness

In addition to maintaining strict power usage, recycling, implementing low flow water systems, and using LED lighting (a few requirements from the list), the AC Hotel is close to public transportation (the Sun Link and street car routes) as well as downtown restaurants and cafes (right on their doorstep).

“As a LEED certified building, we can continue our goal to create a healthier and more productive environment for our staff, guests, and our treasured Sonoran desert surroundings,” said Gregg Joyal, general manager at the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown.

Tucson is taking steps towards greener, more sustainable development downtown (and we’re thrilled).

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At AC Hotels, we welcome you with intentionality.

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The Sustainable Sour cocktail

Now, about that cocktail.

The Sustainable Sour was created to celebrate the hotel’s award. It features Don Q White Rum, Firewater Baijiu, avocado-pit orgeat, lime, and AZ Bitters Lab Mi Casa — each selected with care.

“Our vision behind the drink was to create a cocktail with as small of an environmental impact as possible, on every level of its production,” said Janelle Haegert, sales manager at the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown.

We came, saw, and tasted this beautifully (and thoughtfully) curated cocktail. And boy, were we amazed at the detail that went into making the drink.

Bartender Ryne Hoffman exuded enthusiasm about the Sustainable Sour, oozing knowledge (and comic relief) as he walked us through the process of making it.

Sustainable Sour Cocktail at the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown (Credit: Melissa Stihl)

Sustainable Sour Cocktail at the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown (Credit: Melissa Stihl)

Sustainable Sour key ingredients

“Don Q,” he began, “is leading the charge in the rum industry when it comes to sustainability.” He was referring to the positive impact Don Q’s water purification and irrigation systems have on the surrounding area.

Sorghum-based baijiu drinks less water than other crops and restores soil nutrients — huge environmental win. “And tastes like passion fruit and Hawaiian Punch,” Hoffman chuckled. “So there’s that.”

Sustainable Sour Cocktail (Photo courtesy of AC Hotel Tucson Downtown)

The orgeat stars

The real star of the ingredient show, however, is the orgeat — evident when Hoffman’s eyes lit up as he introduced the en-trend ingredient.

“We make our own orgeat out of recycled avocado pits saved from our food menu,” he revealed. “Avocado pits, when dried and toasted, take on a flavor and aroma similar to toasted almond.”

And the method behind their environmentally friendly syrup? “A couple of proprietary steps,” Hoffman winked.

This month only

After being dazzled by the care that went into the Sustainable Sour, we were sold (and had another).

Insider tip if you like a little pep in your step — ask for the drink to be carbonated.

For the month of March, you can enjoy the Sustainable Sour cocktail, with a portion of the proceeds donated to local, environmental non-profit, Watershed Management Group.

Vaquero Old Fashioned at the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown (Credit Melissa Stihl)

Vaquero Old Fashioned at the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown (Credit Melissa Stihl)

The AC Lounge’s cocktail menu

And their environmental awareness doesn’t stop there. For instance, when asked about the AC Lounge’s cocktail menu, Haegert informed us that they’re “steadily moving forward in stocking products and brands that genuinely pay attention to their environmental impact and fair labor practices.”

The AC is mindful when sourcing products and supporting local producers. “Supporting local is more than a current fashion,” said Haegert. “When done carefully and intentionally, it’s a concrete way of reducing harmful waste and strengthening our Sonoran Desert ecosystem.”

Kokopelli Cocktail at the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown (Credit: Meliisa Stihl)

Kokopelli Cocktail at the AC Hotel Tucson Downtown (Credit: Meliisa Stihl)

Moving forward

“We’re making great first steps,” Hoffman concluded, “but those are just drops in the pond compared to what needs to happen in the future.”

With that, he placed a fresh spring of mint in a customer’s drink — the herbs are grown at the hotel and you’ll spot them on the rooftop pool deck when you go up for a dip.

AC Hotel Tucson Downtown is located at 151 E. Broadway Blvd. For more information, visit

Want to share your support at the ceremony? Keep up with the AC Hotel’s event page on Facebook.

Kate hails from South Africa. Yes, you read correctly. After wrestling lions and riding elephant-back, she finds herself in the desert. Feel free to charm her with mimosas anytime.