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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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Japanese tomatoes in a glass

Some new options on spirits based on fruit and vegetables are invading the market and adding to the opulence of ingredients available for cocktail creation. We played with red tomato gin and black tomato gin, Crop Harvest Earth Organic Tomato Vodka, Belvedere Bloody Mary Vodka and more…, but now a couple of bottles of an interesting tomato liqueur fell into our hands at the Speakeasyhacker’s lab!



With more than 120 years of history in tomato cultivation and producing various tomato based products, Japanese company, Kagome set forth a new corporate philosophy that re-examined the spirit and company creed that Kagome's management has historically held. Appreciation is what the Company's founder, Ichitaro Kanie, ultimately attained as a manager. Nature is the source of Kagome's products and the value it provides. Corporate Openness expresses Kagome's commitment to being a company that is fair and open toward people and society. These three words embody Kagome's corporate philosophy which is fantastic to see the Japanese leading on for a better World.


La Tomato liqueur, made with these Japanese cultivated fruity and refreshing tomatoes in taste, fresh acidity and faint sweetness. A moderate fragrance tomato liqueur at 18% Abv from using the bright red tomato to a core clogged up with this flesh closely comes in 50 cl bottles.


Mix it with tonic and a lemon twist and add Sake too! Add a couple of centiliters into your beer, drink neat or add to your gin or vodka on ice and a chilly pepper! But be more adventurous and make a couple of martinis too!


Play with a classic Vesper Martini

6 cl citrus character gin 

1.5 cl premium or refinely distilled vodka 

1.5 cl La tomato liqueur 

Shake all ingredients and strain into a chilled martini glass, add a lemon twist. 


Speakeasyhacker’s preferred recipe on trial was the following: 

X Large Saketini!

6 cl light fruity Sake (we used the Samurai sake pure and not diluted with water by Asahikawa brewery) 

2 cl La tomato liqueur 

1,5 cl fresh lime juice 

Shake all ingredients and strain into a chilled martini glass, add a basil leaf.

Alternatively since it was still lunchtime we have also tried it in a highball with tonic water!



Pretty Pink Terre De Mistral - By Anastasia Wieclawska-Kyriakou

When gin first hit the shores of England and Scotland nearly four hundred years ago, it came under the name of Genever, the Dutch name for Juniper. As its popularity grew, the only name a good gin required was the brewer’s mark; Gordon’s, Booth’s etc. Since then, and most recently over the past decade, gin has acquired some of the most diverse names in the spirit world, ranging from fruity concoctions to suggestive and saucy indicators.


At first glance Mistral Rose Gin has also acquired a rather trendy moniker, but the similarity ends there. Much like the wind itself, this is a SERIOUS gin.


Perhaps, it could be assumed, that Mistral Gin is simply a romantic name, giving respect to the area in Provence where the gin is lovingly produced, however, the wind itself actually plays an integral part of the gin’s production. The Mistral wind has an important role in creating the beautiful sunny climate of Provence, as it’s usually accompanied by clear, fresh skies, that typically last no longer than a week, and ensures over 300 days of sunshine for growing wonderful grapes, garrique herbs, and produce.


Although the Provence Rose wines have been lauded for many years, this is the first gin of the region, and following the latest trend for the more Instagrammable pure gin and tonics, Terre de Mistral was born as a delicately coloured, but extremely fragrant and saporous, Provençal gin.  Unusually, it is distilled from those aforementioned, very famous Provençal grapes and their wine, making this a gin for lovers of all things Francophile and Occitan.



Developed by three friends, and infused with their love of all things Provence, the hand crafted Terres de Mistral Gin is produced in a distillery in Forcalquiers, not far from Luberon. The family owned distillery has been operating for almost a hundred years, and this latest gin production, with modern manufacturing processes, represents a fusion of current market knowledge, local viniculture, and innovative flavour combinations.


With all this expertise and passion in production, Mistral Gin is a far cry from just another long, refreshing summer drink, and has all the strength of an exceptional, and sophisticated gin.


Its fresh, distinctive notes and flavours, as well as a lasting and pleasant finish are based upon the unique blend of herbs and wine that this region offers. Its wonderful rich terroirs and its diverse climate throughout the area of mountains, rich valleys, and sandy loamy soils on the coast presents an abundant territory for botanicals, and this gin makes exceptional use of a distinctive blend of twelve of them.


Six, are typical botanicals which often provide the building blocks for gin’s distinctive flavour. Cardamon, Maniguette, Pink Pepper, Juniper, Iris Root and Coriander are all distilled together. It is the remaining six, however, that give this gin its depth and character. All macerated and distilled separately, the Thyme, Basil and Fennel add the herbal, leafy and yet spicy, base, with an aniseed note, whilst the Pink Grapefruit, Eucalyptus and Mint explode upon the palate with zingy, zesty citrus and leafy mint.


To the nose, this gin evokes a very typical French bouquet garni, with exotic spice and citric notes.


The taste offers a lovely, creamy spice with bright grapefruit and citrus freshness, and can be drunk alone over ice, however, its powerful punch also lends itself to blending well with a premium Mediterranean tonic and cinnamon or cassia to garnish. There is, however, an alternative. It also lends itself to a soft sparkling wine or champagne mixer, once again, lifting itself above the run of the mill pink gins on the market today.


With the trend clearly indicating a vogue for anything pink, with regard to alcoholic beverages, you may assume that this is a modern take with regards to gin, however, the concept actually dates back to the 19th Century, when bitters were added to traditional gins to give them a boost of flavour, and the subsequent pinkish hue. Today however, it’s more likely that red Juniper berries are used, as in the case of Terre de Mistral.


The well balanced taste fluctuating between the refreshing pink grapefruit and the heat from the pink peppercorns also exhibits a lasting and polished finish. 


As a ‘gin connoisseur’ this rose comes highly recommended, and it’s worth noting, they also produce a Cuvée Mistral which is certainly on my ‘must try’ list. 



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.

The oldest Freehouse in England

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! 


‘I want people to come and make love…’ - Lorraine Icke

‘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 



City of London Gins - By Anastasia Wieclawska-Kyriakou

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.

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