by Dimitris Theodoratos, bartender/mixologist at The Bar Project.
Once upon a time there was a Sicilian cook, he had 58 years of age, 24 years in the Greek islands with the most Mediterranean aura one can smell. This imbibe is inspired and dedicated to his existence. He is called Roberto.
- 50ml mastic liquer
- 25 ml Aperol
- 10 ml lime juice
- 5 ml vanilla syrup
- top up with Prosecco
And now what?
Add a spring of rosemary, the mastic liquer, Aperol, lime juice and vanilla syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Muddle the ingredients slightly to release the aromas of the rosemary and shake. Strain in a cocktail glass filled with ice and top up with Prosecco wine.Garnish with a rosemary spring.
I should start this recipe by referring to one of the earliest recipes, written in 1895, that specifies the following:
“Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey-glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece ice, a piece lemon-peel, one jigger whiskey. Mix with small bar-spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass.”
Many more recipes followed since these early days. One of the most current ones was shared with me by my close friend Jimmy together with a story.
He used to mix old-fashioned whiskeys at his father’s bar somewhere at the suburbs of New York. His recipe was much enjoyed by elder ladies who were particularly asking for Jimmy’s old fashioned whiskey. This is actually a slight different version from what he shared with us.
- 2 oz/shots rye whiskey (usually Canadian Whiskey) or Bourbon
- juice from 1/2 orange
- 1/2 oz/shot grenadine home made syrup
- 4 dashes Angostura orange bitters
- 1/2 oz/shot maraskino syrup
- 2 maraskino cherries
- 1 orange peel
And now what?
In an old fashioned glass add the orange juice, the Angostura bitters and 1 maraskino cherry. Squeeze the cherry with a pestle.
Fill the glass with ice and add the whiskey and maraskino syrup (this is the liquid where the cherries are preserved in). Stir the mixture with a spoon. Leave the spoon in the glass and top up with the grenadine syrup, maraskino cherry and orange peel.
It’s pomegranate season and the local street food markets are filled with juicy and delicious pomegranate fruits. Apart from a healthy and flavourful fresh juice you can also prepare some fresh grenadine syrup and spice up your cocktail bar.
Our home made grenadine syrup, no preservatives no food colouring. Only natural colours and flavours!
- 2 big pomegranates (ripe, If you are able to scratch the skin using your fingernail and gentle pressure then is ripe). They should give you approximately a big cup of juice
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 12 dashes of Peychauds aromatic bitters or other bitters like Angostura (optional)
And now what?
The process is simple. We do not want to damage the flavours and vitamins so no boiling involved for this syrup.
First you get the juice out of the fruit. I usually use a fine sieve and a pestle to squeeze the seeds and extract the juice.
Squeeze the seeds with a pestle and extract the juices
Once you have the juice, add equal parts caster sugar. This is a recipe for a 1-to-1 simple syrup. I estimate that 2 ripe fruits will give you a big cup of juice thus you should add equal quantity of caster sugar. You can always adjust this based on your taste and the use of the syrup. At the end add the bitters and shake well until sugar is dissolved in the liquid.
Enjoy your syrup with cocktails and sweets.
You can refrigerate the syrup for up to a month.
Work brought me to Nairobi this month and what a great opportunity to visit friends around the city. It was a sunny Sunday and my friend Panos organized a BBQ to match the beautiful weather and enjoy the garden of his new place.
Of course we started the day with a refreshing fruity cocktail and lots of laughs.
- 2 oz/shots White Rum (I prefer Havana Club 3 anos)
- 1 oz/shot honey syrup (dilute 1 tbs honey in one oz/shot hot water)
- fresh orange juice
- 3-4 dashes Angostura or other available orange bitters (optional)
- 1 big mint spring
- 1 slice of pineapple, 1 strawberry, cucumber to garnish
- ground cinnamon
- crushed ice
And now what?
In a shaker, mix the rum with the honey syrup , the orange bitters and ground cinnamon. Add a couple of mint leaves and muddle to bring the aroma out from the leaves. Fill a Julep glass preferably with crushed ice , pour in the mixture and top up the glass with fresh orange juice. Add the fruits on top of the crushed ice and finish the garnish with the big mint spring. Make sure you you have filled the glass with a lot of crushed ice. In case the liquid mixture covers the ice add more ice before finishing with the fresh fruits.
Have a sip and smile! All Juleps need a good stirring with a straw, make sure you use your straw to deep and muddle more the mint spring in the crushed ice. You will love the freshness and smells from the cinnamon-mint reaction.
Goodmorning from Nairobi.
Daiquiris remain my favourite summer cocktail. The range of fruits you can mix and match is immense making it a playground for mixologists and experimental drinkers. Greek summers are followed by a long list of seasonal fruits and who could resist to a freshly fruity daiquiri by the Aegean. Today we will try sweet apricots and freshly picked spearmint.
- 2 fresh apricots without the pit (try a sweet and flavourful variety)
- 6 big spearmint leaves
- 2 oz/shots white rum (Havana Club 3 anos preferably)
- 1/2 oz/shot sugar syrup
- 1/2 oz/shot fresh lime juice
- spearmint to garnish
- crashed ice
Add all ingredients apart the crashed ice in a blender and blend until you get a smooth paste. Add in the crashed ice approximately to cover the paste. This should be around 2 cups of crashed ice. Blend the mix until you get a nice granite. You can adjust the acidity and sweetness at this point by adding more lime or syrup according to your taste preferences Garnish with the spearmint.
Syrup comes from the Arabic “sharab” and the Latin “syropus” which means beverage. Simple syrup refers to using equal parts of sugar and water by volume (1 to 1 parts).
Simple syrup is widely used in the cocktail industry as sweetener. It brings balance when it’s mixed with sour juices like lemon or lime juice in most of the 20th century style cocktails. It is easy to make at home and has plenty of uses in the kitchen. I will use it in cooking, cocktail mixing, as a coffee sweetener particularly for cold beverages.
You can easily infuse it with herbs or spices and give a kick to the flavor. You will find thousand of recipes online. Let’s start with the basic simple syrup before going down to spiced paths.
Shopping List (approximately 1 lt of syrup)
- 1lt water
- 1kg white sugar
And now what?
Bring the water to boil and reduce to medium heat. Add the sugar and stir until it is all dissolved. Keep boiling in medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until the mixture is all clear and has a syrup-like texture. Remove from heat and let it sit until it will reach room temperature. Then poor into a glass bottle preferably and keep in refrigerator for up to a month.
In case you want to start experimenting already with spices. You may add a stick of vanilla together with the sugar while it is still boiling. Cut slightly the vanilla stick so as to free the crystals and aroma Keep the vanilla stick in the syrup for days. You can wash the vanilla stick over fresh water and use again.
- 2 shots Gin (preferably Plymouth or Brokers)
- 1 shot fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 shot simple sugar syrup
- 1/2 shot Creme de Cacao
- 2-3 dashes of orange bitters
- Crushed ice
- orange peel and basil leave to garnish
And now what?
Add all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake well for 10 seconds. Strain in glass with filled with crashed ice. Garnish with basil leave and a twisted orange pill. Grate nutmeg on top.