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Thursday, 27 April 2017 12:38

Loreta Toska

Why do you thinκ ‘ Silver Lining’ won the judgment as the best cocktail to win the Bacardi Legacy and represent Greece to the finals in Berlin this May?

I think because it had all the elements of a Legacy drink: A unique and simple recipe inspired by a personal story that can anyone imprint himself in it and with a strategic campaign designed for its promotion.


Take us on the road from the idea to the competition day?

Well my idea was to play with temperatures and textures in a drink that will express in the most simple way my personality. I try all the time to be positive and to see the best in bad situations so I wanted my drink to represent this. And because I always gaze at the clouds, Silver Lining was the obvious name for my cocktail.


How do you discipline yourself to achieve a goal?

The most difficult thing is to stay focused in your goal for such a long period but if you believe in your goal you always find a way...


How would you describe yourself as a bartender? What are you aiming to do behind the bar?

I would consider myself as a dedicated and committed bartender. I am aiming always to be creative.


Finish these ingredients to a possible cocktail with a spirit.

a. Pomegranate, rosemary……….. Gin.

b. Pumpkin, curry………Whiskey.

c. Beetroot, mustard………………….Tequila.


What is your life philosophy?

Always to “Look for the Silver Lining”!


Which spirit you think is the most diversified and why?

I think rum because it has less law restrictions than other spirits.


Everything is done these days behind the bar. How do you feel cocktailing will develop into a new trend in the near future?

It will be stabilized into categories even more than it is today.


Give us 3 words to describe the best/ideal bartender for you.

Polite, clean, communicative.


You have been a bartender in many places till today. Different levels, different ambiances, etc all good experiences usually. At which place did you feel you have learned the most important things?

Theory bar & more where I work for the last 3 years gave me the best “soil” to grow and bloom.


How do you see yourself in the future?

Chasing new challenges. 

What is happening to you as a person now on tour with the Silver Lining?

It made me stronger and ‘richer’.


Create a Mediterranean cocktail for ‘Hacker’ using only local ingredients.

Mastiha Spirit, Italian Bitter Aperitif, Greek Brandy, a splash of sparking water and fresh rosemary for garnish. ’HACKER’ and enjoy it!


Loreta Toska from Greece studied public relations and communication and  works for the last 15 years in the field of hospitality and for at least the last 4 years as a serious professional bartender. Now she leads a strong team at the THEORY BAR & MORE in Halandri, Athens. In 2015-2016 she was the Finalist World Class Greece and in 2017 The Bacardi Legacy Winner of Greece representing the country to the World finals on the 23rd May in Berlin.


Published in Faces
Thursday, 27 April 2017 12:22

Lentils with smoked tea alongside a malt!

Here is an idea for warm home food, things one cannot find at a linen table restaurant but probably like me, reminiscing of Asian street food experiences while on travels. So get your earthy bowls and wooden spoons and spin around this idea.

Chop some carrots, onions, celery, potatoes and garlic and sweat in an oily deep pan with fresh thyme, a couple of sage leaves and bay leaves. Add some water the lentils and some tea bags of Lapsang Souchong to boil till cooked at low heat for about 50 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add some finely chopped red tomatoes, coriander and parsley leaves and simmer for another few minutes.

Enjoy it with warm fresh bread and a good spread of anchovy butter or horseradish cream and perhaps a malt whisky! 


Published in Eats
Tuesday, 11 April 2017 15:03

Vasilis Koukias

It’s often intriguing as to what happens to people we meet professionally and what becomes out of them as the years go by. This is the case of Bartender Mixologist Vasilis Koukias who crossed paths with me in Cyprus quite some years ago! Vasilis now with 25 years of experience in the bar industry has a lot to say through maturity and bar wisdom. He worked at Jackson Hall in Kolonaki (1996-2000), in Cyprus at Cream bar, Guru Bar and Pralina (2001-2003), then back to Jackson Hall from Bar manager to General manager. Since 2012 till today he is the mixologist at Kripti bar, Trikala/Greece.



He has studied various courses and followed an impressive number of seminars and master classes for mixology, barista, art of blending, art of distilling while he has taken part in a number of professional competitions often receiving the first position or respectably a distinguished rank. 

Vasilis, being trained classically and evolving through times to be a modern technique’s bartender has kept the professional ethos to a respectable frame and enjoys a good dedicated audience at Kripti bar. It’s that feeling of being treated when you have such amount of experience and talent behind the bar! It is expressed with respectful service, perfect wording, cool moves and just right drinks.


He mixed a few signature cocktails for us

Your love is King’ - Martin Millers gin, ginger water, ginger liqueur, fresh lime juice, cherry bitters (Fee brothers), Peychaud’s bitters.


Blue Black - Beluga vodka, North, fresh blueberries, kiwi, caramel Marie Brizard, fresh lime juice.


Viper - Woodford reserve, ruby red porto, ammarena syrup, Peter Heering, Angostura bitters, cherry bitters (Fee brothers).

Published in Faces
Sunday, 02 April 2017 13:33

Diamond & Gold Liquids

Mark an event, an occasion, honor a personality, a cause or just find an excuse to attract the few who can afford millions to spend on an ornate bottle to boast self esteem of some sort, there are spirits around the world that are produced for the above reasons usually sold at airports but often, not always, the money goes to special funds for good causes or environmental studies or else.

Here is a collection from my research and info exchange which will make your eyebrows grow.

1. In September 2012, 12 Bowmore bottles were unveiled at 100,000 English pounds.  A 54-year-old Scotch whisky – the oldest Islay malt Bowmore 1957 spent 43 years in a second-fill sherry cask, and aged additionally for a further 11 years in a bourbon cask. Sold mainly at the distillery.


2. The Remy Martin Black Pearl Louis XIII Cognac! Made with carefully grapes from Grande Champagne was auctioned for 100,000 English pounds in 2012. Made from a blend of 1200 eaux de vie that are between 40 and 100 years old. The bottle added to the price as it was designed by Baccarat and hand-blown from black crystal.


3. Mendis Coconut brandy, 2007 was the world’s first clear brandy distilled from coconut and matured in wood casks. Distributed by Luxe Coterie, it was sold for 1 million dollars. Every bottle was signed by the House of Mendis’ founder, WM Mendis.


4. Johnnie Walker whisky, 2012.  just 60 bottles of this 60-year-old Scotch whisky released for the Queens Jubilee Birthday.  Finished in a cask made of English oak from the Queen’s Sandringham Estate, was bottled in diamond-shaped Baccarat decanters. One of the 60 decanters was given to the Queen while the remaining were sold for 100,000 English pounds each in aid to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship fund – a charity which pays to train UK residents in traditional skills.


5. The most expensive vodka in the world, Scottish Diva. Its value comes from the décor of the bottle being ornate with precious stones and Swarovski crystals, retailing for 1 million dollars. The vodka is a triple filtered expression ice filtered through Nordic birch charcoal and then filtered again through sand peppered with precious and semi-precious stones.  Made by Scotland-based Blackwood Distillers.


6. Dalmore 62 Year Old (released in 2012) on sale at Singapore’s Changai airport for 125,000 English pounds, most expensive whisky. Its title has been since been taken by the 64-year-old Macallan. Only 12 bottles of this expression, featuring a stag’s head, were released making it extremely rare.


7. A six- ltr decanter of the Macallan became the new world record holder for most expensive whisky sold. The Macallan ‘M’ was sold for 381,620 English pounds. 


8. Released in 2011, 21 bottles of Royal Salute’s, The Honors of Scotland. This 125,000 English pounds whisky was blended from some of Royal Salute’s oldest whiskies – all age 45 years and up – and comes presented in a bejeweled bottle crafted by the world’s oldest jeweler to royalty, Garrard. It features 413 white and black diamonds. with 22 carats of gemstones set in gold and silver.


9. 100-year-old heritage Grande Champagne Cognac is one of the rarest and most expensive drinks on the planet carrying a price at 2 million dollars. It comes in a 24-carat gold and sterling platinum bottle with 6,500 diamonds made by jeweler Jose Davalos. It was first produced in 1776 and was named to honor King Henri IV. It is aged in barrels for more than 100 years and just 100cl is decanted into the 8kg diamond studded bottle!


10. Tequila from Tequila Ley, 2010, at 3.5 million dollars with much of its value carried by its white gold and platinum bottle encrusted with 6,400 diamonds designed by Mexican artist Alejandro Gomez Oropeza. The similarity between this design and the Henry IV Heritage Cognac is explained by the fact that both were created by Ley 925.


11. Chateaux d’Yquem 1811, at 130,000 dollars, a rare and vintage wine from the reputable Chateau since 1711.


12. Bombay Sapphire Revelation, 5 unique bottles created by Karim Rashid and the bottles feature diamonds, Baccarat crystals and sapphires. Sold at 200,000 dollars.


13.  64 year old Macallan single Malt in a Lalique crystal decanter at 464,000 dollars sold at an auction in 2010, probably the most expensive whisky in the world. This rare Scotch was vatted from three sherry-seasoned Spanish oak casks — the first was filled in 1942, the second in 1945, and the third in 1946.


Published in Booze

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