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Who is Argyris Asleep
25 Mar 2018

. What is hospitality for Argyris?

Being able to serve you without you knowing that I have to! 

 

. When you are behind the bar and the first customer approaches you….what is the feeling you have and how do you offer your service?

Usually the first customer is also the trickiest. Mainly due to the fact that their approach probably takes the form of a more personal experience rather than strict professionalism. I’m saying this because when in an empty bar, the customer sees you as an acquaintance that happens to work behind the bar. It’s my job to make them feel that they will be served in a quality that matches the establishment even if they just literally walked behind me while I unlocked the door. (True story)  

 

. How do you build the idea for creating a perfect cocktail?

Well, firstly I don’t believe that there is such a thing as THE perfect cocktail. We live in an era where we are all receivers of such a vast amount of tastes that makes it practically impossible to create a cocktail that will be embraced by everyone. Having said that though, what I always say is that I may not like something but I can tell if it’s good or bad regardless. But to answer the question, I do not really build the idea for creating a cocktail. It’s usually the other way around. The cocktail has to come to me. Does that even makes sense? I mean I don’t really push it. It just comes. Like glimpses. And then you take that glimpse and through hard work –and a bit of luck -, you end up with a final result.  It’s a healthy combo of spontaneous inspiration, hard work and countless trials. Partial serendipity.

 

. Has your upbringing culture inspired you?

Is there anyone that would answer no to this question? If so, I feel sorry for them, for this could only mean that their upbringing culture was dull and discouraging (although I don’t think there is such a culture). As humans, we are the sum of all the things that we have experienced so far. This is what defines us. Hence our upbringing is of upmost importance to everything we do in our lives. So how could it possibly not inspire me?  But since there was a question asked, I was born in a village on the suburbs of Nicosia. I was a happy kid. Confused (as to my purpose in this life), but happy. As a child I realized quite early that I couldn’t hang out with all the kids of my age and I was always looking for friends that were much older than me. It was simply because I wanted to be surrounded by people that knew more than me. I still do. I grew up to like food more than anyone else I knew at the time, and I started making experiments in my mother’s kitchen. (unfortunately for me she didn’t own a bar. That would have saved me a lot of time!). I also had a weird relationship with the flora of Cyprus. Although -to date- my academic knowledge of our flora is far from where I would like it to be, I vividly remember me as a child to spend countless hours wondering around my area watching the fields, trees and flowers. When I was first introduced into cocktail making, all these instantly came again back to life. This is the main reason that majority of my cocktails use local and well known ingredients in the recipes.  

 

 

. Would you say you are thinking ahead, are you a planner or are you living the moment?

I would say that I am thinking ahead of how I can live the moment .I don’t know if that answers your question but it sure as hell describes me.

 

. What is a bar for you?

Simple. Alcoholic beverages and good vibes. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything else surrounding a bar is just add-ons for achieving higher level of quality on either one of these two factors. But in the bottom line those two factors are the only ones that actually define it for me. I hate labeling bars into (cocktail bars, bistro bars etc etc). They’re just bars. Each with its own soul and character.

 

. We have seen you here and there, from towns to countries behind the bars. How did it all start? 

I began my bartending career back in 2007 in the legendary bar of Ermou 361. It happened overnight and I stayed there for 4 years. From that point on, things were clear in my head. This is what I wanted to do with my life. Ever since, I’ve worked in numerous places in almost all cities of Cyprus and have been in various bar shows/seminars all around the globe. It’s a fast evolving trade and we need to keep up with the times. I’ve also consult for the opening of new places and have been active on the bar consulting business for the past 3 years. Additionally I won the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail competition 2016 in Cyprus which was the first competition I ever applied to.

 

. How far do you go in research to make a new cocktail?

As I said before, not that much. I don’t really like the idea of digging into things just to create a cocktail. I prefer to generally educate myself on the subject – as much as possible- and when the right time comes I will use that knowledge to develop my glimpse of an idea.

 

CHAI EXPRESS a sweet, botanical and fizzy drink to share. Made by Argyris for Speakeasyhacker and within the atmosphere of the place of the photo shooting  at HAMAM OMERYE in old town Nicosia. The drinks was made with masticha vodka infused with chamomile, chamomile syrup, fresh lemon juice, sage leaves, club soda.

 

. What qualities are needed for the perfect bartender?

That’s a tough one. Well she/he really needs to have extreme work ethics. This is not an easy job to do in terms of actual labor. Long hours, strange sleeping patterns, and lots of hard work are needed in order to actually succeed in this field. Other than that, you have to be caring as a person. Also being a pleasant character always helps and in order to be a great bartender, you definitely need to know how to handle a conversation. I mean you need to have basic general knowledge, have opinions over things, and have an interest in the arts, or generally aesthetics. You more or less have to be an interesting person. No one wants to pay good money (for drinks) just to sit in front of a boring individual.

 

. What makes Argyris angry?

Oh. In my personal life? I can’t even begin to imagine how long would that list be. So I won’t go there. Although I can calm down as fast as I get angry. In my professional life there have been various things that make up the list of things that irritate me the most, but only two of those have been a constant pain in the ass throughout all these years. 

1. People that think they own the place because it’s their birthday and

2. People that overuse camera flash. 

(And usually these two come in a bundle)

 

P.S:   NO, I will not tell the DJ to play your stupid Happy Bday song and NO I will not light the candles of your cake in secret just because you want to flash the hell out of JIM’s face when he sees his surprise party cake.

P.P.S: Ok, I’m calm now. See? I told you it only lasts for a few moments. 

 

. If a woman is delicate and feminine what drink would you suggest and why?

I always like to offer women bitter and elegant drinks. I personally think that women in general have a better sense of taste and smell than men. They are also more likely to accept a drink just by its looks and are usually more open to new things. Therefore you have an opportunity to convince them to try something that they wouldn’t normally drink. Having said that though you always have to keep in mind that the weight of an individual plays a significant role on how fast and how violently alcohol penetrates their organism. So be careful with throwing Sazeracs and Vesper’s towards a 55kg person. 

 

. Are you sensitive as to the preservation of the environment?

Both personally and professionally. This is serious shit right know. We need more people actually realizing the harm we already caused to this planet and actively try to at least minimize any future damage while we try to fix everything we destroyed so far. I beg you people! Before it’s too late.

 

ANEMONA, another drink we tasted at the HAMAM OMERYE  while interviewing Argyris . Aged rum, Commandaria wine, apple geranium, lavender and black pepper syrup, fresh lemon juice, creole bitters. A little red flower for garnish added to the refinement of the whole afternoon.

 

. What is your favorite drink?

Mathias, Moe I’m still thinking of that Scotch and Salt

 

. What is your best story that marked your career so far?

Probably the 10 days 9 countries tour trip that I did a few years back guest bartending in various bars throughout Europe.  I still can’t believe that I actually convinced some friends to join me. Met some beautiful people along the way who I now love dearly.

 

. If you have the chance to do everything you want in life what would you want to do?

Easy. Being paid to travel around the world on a motorcycle.

 

. Who is your idol and who is your mentor?

My idol is Mickey Knox. My mentor? I don’t know if I ever had a mentor as such but I do owe many thanks to the guy that introduced me to this industry. Mr. Giorgos Christodoulou, my cousin. Never really had the chance to thank him properly. So in case you are actually reading this, THANK YOU! Really. For everything, but mainly for trusting me during a time where I could not even trust myself. Also Constantinos Philippides may be my professional partner now, but he was there during my first steps, helping me find my way.

 

.If you are advising a newcomer to the bar industry, what would you guide him to do?

Forget what you know. Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.  Don’t take shit from anyone. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do including -and especially- me.

 

. What is your opinion on what the bars have become? Sous vide, ferment, marinate, wash, infuse and all that?

All that’s great. Truly great. Just don’t let them mislead you people. These things are just here for us to enhance our hospitality and quality of service. If you think that this sort of methods will help your establishment then go ahead and do it but by no means would I say that these things are necessary for a bar. On the contrary, methods are here for us to make our life easier and more functional. Not to impress our customers who –between you and me- don’t really give a shit. Showmanship for the sake of showmanship is something that I utterly despise. This and the carnival. Irrelevant I know, yet true.   

 

. Do you cook and what is your favorite dish?  And what would you drink with it.

Everyday. Favorite dish of this month is definitely Beef Wellington. Still trying to perfect it though. Those damn mushrooms refuse to get dry enough.

 

. Marry a cocktail to the following

1. Smoked haddock with citrus   Fuck Cocktails. That calls for a Chablis

2. Pepper steak  Boulevardier with Islay whiskey (you can thank me later) 

3. Asparagus with Hollandaise type sauce Dirty Martini (sounds weird but trust me) 

4. Salmon tartare  Daiquiris love raw fish

5. Vanilla and caramel sauce Make yourself a favor and order a Brandy Alexander

 

. Which is your favorite bar?

That is definitely a tough one! But if I had to pick JUST one I would have to go with Bardot Miami. Mega love!

 

. What makes Argyris laugh?

Harry Potter’s futile attempts to defeat the Dark Lord. Go home boy.

 

 

. If there was one think you would change in your life so far?

I would probably go back in time and give my younger self some advice but I know that I wouldn’t listen to me so why bother? The point is what I can change from this point on.

 

. Why Argyris ASLEEP?

I seriously have NO idea. My Facebook name before Argyris Asleep was the title of a song (hi5 & MSN messed with my brain). So at some point I thought that I should change it to a more suitable name. Back then I didn’t want to use my real surname and then Asleep was apparently the choice I made that day (even though I have no recollections of that decision). And it stuck. Don’t know why but it did. So here we are.  

 

 

Asleep or not Asleep, Argyris is one of Cyprus most striking characters in the bar scene, one that owns his character and certainly creative in the field! He positions himself based on his beliefs respectfully and regardless of where he is. Except his career moves in the bars and being responsible  for the barlists in places, he travels and reconnects with friends in the industry to further his bonds alongside his spectrum of creativity. We at Speakeasyhacker found him gifted by his personality and inspiring to all around him….definitely Asleep is an awakening!
Paris Christofides

 

(Thanks to the management of the unique HAMAM OMERYE in old town Nicosia for giving us the time to mess around while talking to Argyris and creating cocktails) 

 

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