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Paris Christofides

Paris Christofides

Paris Christofides is a World traveler, a connoisseur of lifestyle and a perceiver of situations. He has the charisma of seeing through things but seeing things coming in the future as trends although often creating trends! He is an extremely creative person capable of putting things together in a unique manner and has a way to present simple things in a stunning way. He is highly communicative and a people’s person thus a good trainer. He is flexible and adaptable coming from being a gypsy and an aristocrat the same time. His trade is being a consultant on food/drink and music, design and atmosphere, organization and management, personality coaching and…concepts, concepts, concepts!

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THE ROYAL STANDARD OF ENGLAND at Forty Green in Beaconsfield, UK a countrified freehouse culture surrounded by a generous splash of glorious British countryside.  

It lived its changing times through history, when the Romans during the Iron Age granted land to tribes and settlers mostly German, Saxons, Angles and Jutes. Ale was brewed here as there was a good supply of water from the garden well. 

 ‘...the Saxon alewife (the brewer was nearly always a woman) would put a green bush on a pole as a sign that the ale was ready. ‘ 



The brewer’s cottage became the ale house because it was used as a meeting house to resolve disputes and make a toast to the goddess of barley. 

The alehouse survived the Dark Age’s raids and the Vikings’ invasions, at the beginning of 1000, because of its secluded location. Its history refers to the various kings of England, and has had an important role as a meeting place for troops leaders, a place where many legends survived, even a legend of a ghost still in the freehouse, a place where the then illegally strong ale – Owx Roger was brewed in Victorian times, sold to Marston brewery but can still be bought at the freehouse today. 



Although it has had dramatic restorations today it boasts a unique atmosphere featuring low and high wooden beams, nooks and crannies, gnarled timbers, worn flagstones, carved oak panels old art crafts and animal heads on the walls, and the golden Dragon as its main emblem which was used as a war banner of the royal house of Wessex. 

“The first mention of the inn, originally known as ’Se Scip’ (The Ship), was made in 1213, although it is likely that an alehouse existed on the site prior to this date.  However, it was not until after Charles II’s restoration to the throne in 1663 that the inn changed its name to the Royal Standard of England, the only inn in the country with the honour of this full title.  It is said that the new king bestowed the honour in recognition of the loyalty and support given to the Royalists and to his executed father by the landlord. It may also have been the case that Charles II felt obliged to do so as a reward for being able to meet his mistresses in rooms above the inn!” Source – www.



The bar was exceptionally interesting for us thirsty beer travelers we have enjoyed a few refreshing pints from the Cask ales! 

Chiltern pale ale brewed in Buckinghamshire by gentlemen of the Chiltern brewery -light, refreshing with hints of grapes and honey. 

Olde drip from Greene King Suffolk- a rich toffee flavoured beer with fruity character but bitter and dry 

Conqueror black Ipa from Windsor and Eton Brewery- rich and complex ale, a blend of 5 malts to give an intense roasted flavour and a fresh pine aroma 

We also had the Belhaven Black Stout from Scotland – a rich black stout with rich coffee aroma and lingering hints of dark chocolate and the Twisted Thistle again from Scotland - copper sparkling Ipa with a zesty grapefruit aroma and finishing with a refreshing bitter bite. 

On the food side, The Royal Standard of England offers a traditional Sunday roast fare but we chose to go more traditional as in fish and chips followed but the delicious bread and butter pudding and the Sticky toffee pudding to soak all that beer intake! 


‘It is all about your inner world, I want people to come, relax and find themselves,… to come to a balance with their inner world and bring out their best self. I want people to become one with nature and feel its energy, away from everyday life’s pressures, to experience other emotions, to discover themselves. I want people to come and make love, this place is all about love!’ 



In the beautiful countryside of Kent, just outside London, there is a discovery to be made, the Clements Cottage, hosting the Samsara Retreat and Yoga. It offers a magical journey to serenity, a place to unwind and nourish yourselves, relax, breathe, meditate and practice yoga or just be lazy and lose yourself in the surrounding nature. It is not like any other retreat, this one is uniquely special.  




The yoga is offered daily indoors at a traditional oast house or outdoors in the spectacular garden at sunrise and sunset. Dipu, the yoga master, delivers a person-centered holistic experience with authentic confidence.  


The retreat features a main, where people can stay in the romantic motive that Loraine and Dipu designed for a definite comfort and detailed luxury. We, as speakeasyhackers, alternatively stayed at the shepherd’s hut at the corner of the gardens overlooking a spectacular green field resembling one of the Braveheart or The Vikings battle fields! 



The views, the clean air and the moon emerging through the clouds at night kept us on the sofa outdoors and in silence enjoying the mesmerizing sounds of the leaves on the trees and becoming one with nature. The hut in a comfortable simplicity featured a log fire and a very luxurious raised bed, in line with the window and overlooking the fields and the sky when lying down. 


The retreat offers country breakfast and meals but certainly request for the special curries that Dipu prepares with a smile. The Samsara retreat and yoga is all about love, an experience that needs to be discovered! 



Samsara Retreat and Yoga 
Clements cottage 
West Peckham, Kent ME18 5jp 



The City of London has a rich gin history.  


During the Gin Craze in the 18th century there was a gin distillery or gin shop in every street in the City, all benefiting from the spices and citrus fruits coming in to the port of London. Following the Gin Act of 1751, the Gin Craze was effectively ended, with very few gin distilleries surviving, and for nearly 200 years there wasn’t a single gin distillery in the City. That is until the City of London Distillery opened in 2012.



Over these 200 years gin distilling techniques were improved, and gin became more refined with more subtle flavours.  Gin was big business and London Dry Gin became the most popular type of gin. Then came the next gin revolution with the advent of the small-batch micro-distilleries, bringing variety, interest and experimentation; new botanicals, new combinations, and best of all, new gins. It was my pleasure to tour the distillery earlier this year, sampling and even conjuring my own special blend during the visit. 


The City of London Distillery opened on 20th December 2012 inside Jonathan Clark’s cocktail bar in Bride Lane, within the City of London. The first gin, loyal to their roots, was a classic London Dry Gin, followed soon after by the celebration of the City of London – Square Mile gin. Since then they’ve added a very popular Sloe gin, the Christopher Wren and an Old Tom gin, and several flavoured gins to their range. 



It was my pleasure to tour the distillery earlier this year, sampling and even conjuring my own special blend during the visit. 


Often referred to as a hidden treasure, the bar at the City of London Distillery - called the COLD bar, is a retro, speakeasy-style cocktail bar that overlooks the striking copper stills of the distillery. The flickering candles and faint aroma of gin vapour that hangs in the air all add to the bar’s unique and cosy atmosphere, and it is THE perfect place to arrange a sampling of the company’s extensive range. 



Winners of the Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for the City of London Dry Gin, Old Tom and the Square Mile, the distillery also won a Gold Award for the Christopher Wren Gin, in the International Wine & Spirit competition. The City of London, Old Tom, Sloe Gin and Square Mile all won Silver Awards, and the Slow Gin was also given the Spirits Business Double Master Award. So they certainly are all gins well worth sampling! 


The first gin, Authentic Dry (41.3%), was launched in 2012, and was created by the Master Distiller Johnathon Clarke. It’s a classically balanced London Dry Gin, and was the gin to kick start COLD as a brand and cemented it as one of the key players at the heart of London’s gin revival. The botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Liquorice Root, Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, and Grapefruit Peel, and the bottle stands strong as the flagship offering and offers great quality for its price. The nose is Classic London Dry, with a strong juniper upfront, and fresh lemon oil, with Juniper taking centre stage, bright citrus, followed by the other aromatics, and a subtle earthy spice to balancing the palate. It has a long and dry finish, with lingering citrus notes. 


The Christopher Wren (45.3%), is an awesome gin, but not for the faint hearted. Inspired by the architecture of famed London architect Christopher Wren this gin celebrates the buildings that make up the iconic skyline of London’s city centre. An excellent collaboration between Johnathon Clarke and the then Master Distillery of Tanqueray - Tom Nicholls, this gin again represents a very classic London Dry expression. This time focusing on just one citrus, dried orange peel, the profile is rounder and richer with the earthy spice and bitter sweet balance taking centre stage.  The botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Liquorice Root, Angelica Root, and Orange Peel. It is soft and rounded on the nose with juniper still the leading note followed by bitter sweet candied orange. A subtle underlying floral note lightens the nose. The palate has the sweet notes of candied orange, and a touch of white pepper with a solid backbone of juniper. Seemingly a little sweeter and softer than the Authentic, this gin leaves a pleasant oily texture in the mouth. Its finish is long as the orange persists along with the Juniper. All in all a little earthier and woodier than the Authentic. One of my personal favourites. 


Launched in 2016 and named after the City Of London, the Square Mile (47.3%) gin is undeniably at home in classic gin-led cocktails. It shines in martinis, White Ladies, Gimlets and Collins. With a higher ABV of 47.3% it shines through against bold flavours and still delivers a solid punch. The botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Liquorice Root, Orange Peel, lemon Peel, and Grapefruit Peel offering an immediate piney punch of juniper, laced with dry peppery notes on the nose. A subtle undertone of fresh peeled citrus lifts the character, and this is unmistakably a classic dry gin! The palate is bold and dry with the juniper remaining the star here, and hints of lemon and grapefruit lending a little zing. There is a subtle softness from the dried orange and the liquorice makes for a great progression of flavour. The higher ABV becomes more apparent on the finish, warming and peppery as it goes down, and leaving lots of pine and lemon on the finish. This is the perfect cocktail gin.


A classic British liqueur, Sloe Gin (28%) became popular when farmers would use blackthorn bushes to separate their fields and keep animals in, they found that soaking the normally bitter and tart berries from this tree in gin would overtime bring out the residual sweetness and plum like flavour of the berry. This simple and classic rendition, using the Authentic Dry as the space and soaking Sloe Berries for between 6-9 months to extract as much depth of flavour as possible has resulted in la crème de la crème of Sloe gins. Its botanicals are a simple combination of Authentic Dry Gin and Sloe berries, leading to a sweet and fruity nose, full of forest fruits and with little oak and nutty notes. The palate is dominated by rich stewed plums and black cherries, and a little marzipan delivers depth and character. It is sweet but not cloyingly so, as some juniper shines through the top notes, and the finish is sweet and full of rich dark fruit. Mouth-watering and moreish, I enjoyed this with a slice of lemon to cut the sweetness.


An older style of gin pre-dating London Dry, Old Tom was originally born as a response to poor-quality alcohol being produced in people’s own homes in London. Sugar and strongly spiced botanicals were added to make it more palatable and to hide the flavour of impurities in the spirit. Now it has been used to create a more boldly flavoured gin, (43.3%) using some extra spice that is then balanced by a small amount of sugar. This is still by no means a sweet gin, rather a balanced one to produce a more rounded end profile. The botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Orris Root, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Cardamom, and Cassia Bark. It is best served with a good ginger ale and a cinnamon stick. There is a little alcohol on the nose, with definite notes of orange, however, sharp pine notes and aromatic baking spices make for a beautifully blended aroma. The palate is well balanced, with a subtle sweetness accompanying the orange and cassia notes, and the citrus leaning more toward bright lemon on the palate. The soft sweetness contused with rounded orange and spice notes makes for a marvellous finish. 


Developed for Craft Gin Club in a run of 30,000 bottles, then launched it at the end of 2018, the Six Bells Lemon (41.3%) takes its name from the classic nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clements.’ Rather than a normal flavoured gin with full focus on one flavour followed by other botanicals, this is unmistakably a gin drinkers’ gin. Well-balanced, and highlighting the characteristics of the prominent botanical without overpowering the rest. Botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Liquorice Root, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Grapefruit Peel, with aromatic lemon oil dominating the nose. Juniper is still present and adds a crispy dry undertone, with hints of camomile and honey. The palate is layers of lemon flavour over a classic dry gin base, as sherbet like lemon plays alongside more aromatic heavy lemon oils. At its core there is still juniper and a soft earthy note, so this is a perfect bright summer gin. The finish is much shorter than the previous gins, however, it is full of light fresh lemon notes, and leaves a nice refreshed feeling to the palate.  


Launched alongside the Six Bells, the Murcian Orange (41.3%) acts as a nice contrast in flavour profile. Where the Six Bells is bright, fresh and summery this is more spiced, with a rich rounded profile highlighting delicious bittersweet orange with some more robust aromatics. Perfect in Negronis - or anything else where you want a gin with a little extra spice and punch. Its botanicals are Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Liquorice Root, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Cassia Bark, and Cardamom, so it is has a big orange and juniper nose, with menthol top notes and a cassia led spice. The palate is bold and warming, with bitter orange and juniper leading, although the menthol persists but is more subtle than on the nose. It has a full, rounded and silky smooth finish, and the orange leaves a subtle impression of sweetness while the pine and spice notes give a pleasant kick. 


The latest release in the City Of London range, released in February 2019, and only by chance available for my tasting was the fabulous Rhubarb & Rose (41.3%). It is unlike any other rhubarb gins on the market, and I have probably tasted them all! It uses plenty of fresh rhubarb and dried rose petals in both the pot and basket during distillation, so that the rhubarb lends a subtle vegetal bitterness that is balanced by the light floral top notes of the rose.  Botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Liquorice Root, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Rhubarb, and of course the Rose petal. Its nose is dry vegetal rhubarb notes, with subtle sweet berry and pine, and the palate is a pleasant pithy lemon peel, mild but pleasant bitterness, subtle floral notes and big juniper character. Bittersweet, and softly vegetal and juniper led, the finish leaves you craving another sip.  Just wonderful. 


If you are in the City, tours of the distillery are available, and the bar COLD - on Bride Street is open to the public, HOWEVER, places are limited so booking is essential. 




Address: 22-24 Bride Ln, London EC4Y 8DT, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 20 7936 3636


Editor’s note – Stanna has a great deal of knowledge about the fine arts, cuisines, or an expert judge in matters of taste which makes her a connoisseur. She has written articles on food and beverage while she released a book titled  “Stop Whining and Star Wining” - A Wine drinker's Guide to Cypriot Wine. She travels for any excuse of a new experience in this field.

One of my favorites for parties and romantic dinners too!



2-3 Bay leaves

1 tsp cardamom seeds

1/2 tsp crushed garlic

3 Tbsp spoons corn oil

2 large diced tomatoes

30 fresh coriander leaves

2 medium onions finely chopped


Drys : 2  large Tbsp  Ginger powder, 2 Tbsp Garam massala powder, 3 Tbsp Turmeric, pinch of chilly or else, salt and pepper  


Wets : 3-4 cans coconut milk, little water, I pkt coconut paste, juice of one lime, I tale spoon yoghurt or sour cream


Mains : Banana thick slices and prawns



Heat the oil in a pan and add the bay leaves and cardamom, carefully toss in the garlic without burning. Add the onions to become soft, the tomatoes for a couple of minutes and then the coriander leaves. Add all the dry ingredients and stir continuously to cook so that they release their qualities without burning. Asians cook their spices to release the maximum qualities while Europeans boil them in sauces! Then add the coconut milk and stir to dilute, add the coconut paste and a little water to bring to a thick cream consistency. Bring up to simmering at low heat stirring not to burn the bottom of the pan. LOVE IT ! And then turn the heat off and add the yoghurt or sour cram and lime juice for that kick. Leave to cool in a container, stir occasionally and keep in store.


When to serve: Heat a little oil in a pan add prawns pieces to sautee on all sides. Discard excess liquids and add one or two spoonfuls of curry paste to dilute, add the banana slices and cook the curry for 3-4 minutes at low heat. If need to dilute add coconut milk, correct seasoning and when chicken is cooked add the banana last minute to soak in. Finally squeeze a few drops of lime juice ans soften it with a touch of cream or a spoon of yoghurt.


SERVED WITH : Basmati rice, toasted cumin seeds and plenty of fresh fresh coriander leaves.



More Gins? Bring it on!!

in Booze
on: 31 August 2019

From all corners of the world there are gins still appearing, adding to the Gin craze which is still going on! We thought that rum and its history was gonna take over, whisky and its grandeur at a point, now sherry and its elegance is having a go in some trendy drinking destinations but more and more segments of the markets are still exploring the new label and enjoying the new story attached to the label of gins. It is social conversation what everyone tried and all having an opinion and a description. Some they learned the marketing story as if it is the new designer who is using a new thread to saw his designs! Perhaps I am too scenical!

As if it is not enough all the marketing stories attached to a bottle, unique berries from the Norwegian dark forest, secret 47 botanicals, orange blossom from Morocco, wind from Alaska and dust from God knows where ! Some go for a myth and some touch on tradition years and years back when the King…… etc…etc 

Making bar menus I find myself in many dilemmas. Yes we need to have a selection and new suggestions, some very good products with not so good marketing and some not so good with good marketing, traditional or artisan bottles? How honest should one be to the producers and to the market too? There is so much out there!

A latest story came to me in a new bottle, yet another fancy one.



It goes like this-

‘A dozen Mediterranean herbs. Four years of testing. A secret recipe. The Mataora Mediterranean Dry Gin was developed in Greece and is a testament to the hundreds of years of expertise acquired by the Melissanidi Traditional Distillery. 

We want to take you on a journey throughout the Mediterranean to unlock its flavours and the breathtaking beauty of the entire region.


The Story

In 1945, during the turbulent period following WWII, the Mataora, a ship from New Zealand, took 2 monumental trips in the Mediterranean.

The first journey transported 173 Jewish children from Marseille to Haifa in August after being saved by the OSE (Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants). In December, the Mataroa was chartered by the French Institute in Athens in order to transfer a considerable amount of students (the majority being scholars of the French government) away from political prosecution. Many of them grew to be successful in their field such as the philosophers Cornelius Castoriadis and Kostas Axelos, the artist Nelly Andrikopoulou, the sculptor Costas Coulentianos, the writer Mimika Cranaki, the philologist Emmanuel Kriaras, and the architect Georges Kandilis.

In 2019, the Mataora is the source of inspiration to the Mataora Mediterranean Dry Gin. The silhouette of the boat evolved into a glass bottle and the cargo transformed into 12 precious ingredients from the versatile shores of the Mediterranean. This premium distillation symbolizes the strength of the human spirit, the dedication to perfection and the sense of timelessness associated with this corner of the world.


The Ingredients

Ingredients with powerful characteristics were carefully selected to create a kaleidoscope of Mediterranean tastes.

Chamomile(Cyprus), Juniper (Croatia), Angelroot and lavender (France), Coriander seeds (Tunisia), Orris root (Italy):

Bay leaves (Syria), Licorice (Turkey),Orange peel (Spain),Lemon peel (Egypt) and of course the exceptional Greek mastic, resin from the mastic tree on the island of Chios.


The Recipe

Four years of diligent testing reached crescendo with a final recipe of Mataora Mediterranean Dry Gin, which satisfies the most demanding by sustaining a delicate balance between the hues of flavours. The Mataora is pristine by itself, with some ice, or even in cocktails, adding a particular twist of flavour, exclusively offered by a premium gin’.


And the question comes what makes a gin Premium I wonder, its uniqueness or its quality or its price tag attached? I found Mataroa as a gin that is diversified due to its complexity of its botanicals, certainly very pleasant and carries all the elements of a Mediterranean artisan gin.


Tasting Notes

Appearance / Colour
Clear and pure

Smell / Nose
Herbal, citrus, smooth and creamy. Notes of mastic but lavender too

Taste / Palate
Flavors of mastic and citrus, chamomile and hints of coriander

Dry, light and pleasant finish without any burn to it.



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