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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!

Website URL: http://www.parischristofides.com Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

More Gins? Bring it on!!

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

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

 

 

Premium Selection

Being a purist I maintain that drinking neat is best. And that's appropriate if your aim is evaluation and analysis.
Some of the best palettes attest that water is also your friend. Adding a touch can open up the spirit and guide the sensory receptors in your mouth and nose to the mysteries and flavours hiding behind the crafted spirit.. Here is a selection of premium spirits to enjoy with an ice cube or merely a touch of water. Should you be a master of taste, sip the spirit neat, with an in between sip of water and mix in your mouth for the flavors to tease your alerted tasting buds. You can ‘take out’ what's been put in. Trust your tongue.
Enjoy, celebrate life’s little moments and travel the world through taste, geography and history.
 
Paris Christofides
World enjoying traveler

 

 

1. Pusser’ Navy Rum 15 years  abv 40%

A blend of five rums from Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Barbados which are produced in mainly wooden pot stills. Luxuriously full bodied.  The taste delivers what the complex aroma promises, beginning with a burst of classic Demerera brown sugar, molasses and caramel.  Notes of leather, tobacco, dried sultanas, nutmeg, clove, cassia and soft oak follow.  The finish is exceptionally smooth, complex and lingering. 100% rum with no artificial substances and glutten free. It has claimed many spirit awards but most recent it earned the "Master" status from London-based Spirits Business in their Rum & Cachaca Masters 2019 competition.

 

 

2. Purity Vodka abv 40%

A quest to redefine vodka, clear as rainy water

‘Made by one of Europe’s biggest ‘blend rockstar’ Thomas Kuuttanen, this Vodka embodies the name that it goes by. Coming from Sweden the distillery location is a 13th century Ellinge castle. Thomas's team engineered a special copper-golden pot still just for making Vodka. They source the raw ingredients - winter wheat & barley - directly from the estate surroundings. Then they distill the liquid 34 times!

Smooth & loaded with character. Its oily texture is dominated by minerals and umami, backed up by delicate tones of white chocolate, vanilla and liquorice.

 

 

3. ELiah Graig Single Barell 18 yrs Bourbon  abv 45%

Elijah Craig (1800) is often referred to as the inventor of bourbon whiskey (!), although rather dubiously for this credit according to some. Today Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. is an American, private family-owned and operated distillery founded in 1935 and headquartered in  Kentucky and uses the same methods and traditions as in 200 years ago used by Elijah Graig using local corn milled and mixed with Kentucky spring water, rich in limestone, fermented and distilled.

The 18 years old Elijah Graig is a premium small batch straight bourbon and aged in one barrel. Rich, nutty, bursts of honey giving way to toasted wood. It collected many gold awards including Best Bourbon in San Fransisco world spirits competition.

 

4. Hibiki  Japanese Harmony Whisky abv 43 %

A well-balanced Japanese blended whisky from the Hibiki range. Hibiki Japanese Harmony is made with malt whiskies from the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries, as well as grain whisky from the Chita distillery. The whiskies are drawn from 5 different types of cask, including American white oak casks, Sherry casks and Mizunara oak casks. The blend itself was crafted by the Suntory Whisky blending team, led by Master Blender Shingo Torii.  Taste the melted butter and caramelised dates with a hint of fragrant sandalwood develops into warming, oak-y spice. Finishing tasting notes of brown sugar, citrus peels, grape and hints of black pepper. So, smooth!

 

5. Del Maguey Chichicapa Mescal abv 46%

Mezcal visionary, Ron Cooper introduced the world to previously unavailable 100% certified organic, artisanal Mezcal produced the original handcrafted way made by individual family palenqueros (producers) in old-style villages. The town of Chichicapa in Mexico is dry and tropical with agaves, mangoes, bananas and guanas.  It smells  fruity, it’s like a smoked cantaloupe, lime juice, cooked apple, pineapple, pears, wood smoke, pine needles, rock salt, marzipan first but it gets a little sweeter, limes and salted caramel. One friend said you can taste the old stone that crushed the agave!

 

 

6. Angostura  15 yrs 1787 Rum   abv 40%

Distilled at Angostura distillery, Trinidad and Tobago claiming a label of age 15 years in charred oak ex bourbon barrels but like in most cases in aged rum production one should take this with a pinch of salt! The name refers to the date that the first sugar mill was established at the Lapeyrouse Estate. Beautiful rich mahogany color with  a sweet banana, dried fruit, apple and oak smell. It has a medium body palate, with hints of prunes, oak , toffee and black pepper.

 

7. The GlenDronach Single Malt 14 Yrs Old Virgin Oak Finish   abv 46%

Interestingly, this GlenDronach single malt was matured in European oak before a finishing period spent in fresh virgin oak casks. The distillery is Aberdeenshire, in the Highland whisky district. Smell the cardamom, cloves and oak but taste the tropical flavors of banana, melon, coconut, cinnamon,caramel ending into spicy notes. Well thought out whisky which has enough traditional elements to make it recognizable, yet a twist of virgin oak to pep it up and give it some new directions.

 

8. Koval barreled gin   abv 47%

Produced by Koval distillery in Chicago, Koval barreled gin follows the same pattern of artisan production to organic grain to bottle mentality gin as its highly awarded Koval dry gin with the difference of resting it in Koval whisky barrels, eventually bottling a unique crisp spirit that should appeal to gin and whisky drinkers alike, if possible! It won the GOLD MEDAL 2016 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition and GOLD MEDAL 2016 New York World Wine and Spirits Competition. There is no legal definition of the production of a gin aged in whisky barrels.  Is it a whisky or a gin? 

Crisp spirit, toasted coriander, rose hip, juniper, angelica root, notes on caramel, honey, vanilla, malt and evidences of wood spices. Perhaps long wood spices on the palate too! 

 

9. Aees Ambelis Comandaria   abv 15%

The wine has a long history, said to date back to the time of the ancient Greeks, where it was a popular drink at festivals. During the crusades, Commandaria was served at the 12th-century wedding of King Richard the Lionheart to Berengaria of Navarre, in the town of Limassol; it was during the wedding that King Richard pronounced Commandaria "the wine of kings and the king of wines". Commandaria itself is a drink that Cyprus is mighty proud of. The Aees Ambelis, artisan Cyprus winery’s Commandaria, is not dissimilar to a noticeable alcohol, extract-rich, almost creamy dessert wine. A naturally sweet wine, carefully crafted from sundried grapes of the indigenous Xynisteri variety with additional sweetness shaped by a strong coffee note as also by the aromas of red fruits. This particular commandaria received many gold awards in wine and spirit competitions.

 

10. Woodford Reserve rye Whiskey  abv 45.2 %

Bourbon or rye ? The corn mash used in bourbon makes for a sweet and full-bodied flavor, while the rye mash in rye whiskey creates spicy tones and a drier taste.  Distilled from a relatively low-rye mash of 53% rye, 33% corn, 14% malt; true to Woodford Reserve form, a mingling of whiskeys distilled at Woodford in Louisville. Nose of leather, cinnamon, rye snappiness, and hints of red raspberry. Hot and lean on the palate, spicy/sweet until rye’s bitter layering floats in, making for a dry finish as the oak comes on stronger.

 

11. Plantation Gran Anejo Guatemala & Belize rum  abv 42%

Plantation describe themselves as producing “an artisanal range of rums from the great terroirs of the tropics.”  This one from Guatemala & Belize is described on the bottle as “Grand Cru” / “Gran Añejo.” Not a fan of these kinds of descriptions as they do not really mean anything. “Grand Cru” is from the world of wine and “Gran Añejo” is used to describe Spanish rums or other spirits that often hide behind dubious Solera age-statements by using such terminology. But, in the case of Plantation, no deception is intended as there is no age statement nor implication that the rum is of a certain age. Matured in casks for 3 years in Guatemala, and finished in ex-cognac caks in France. Vanilla is very present with almond, marzipan and honey. Well balanced with cocoa, woody vanilla notes. Elegant finish.

 

 

12. Hine Rare fine champagne Cognac abv 40%

“Vines form the link between the earth and the heavens, replete with vagaries and caprices.” House of Hine

The Hine company is named for its proprietor Thomas Hine, an Englishman from Dorset,England. Following his arrest during the French Revolution, Thomas Hine married a young maiden, Françoise Elisabeth, whose father owned a cognac house in Jarnac in the cognac producing region . Hine took the company to new heights, and eventually renamed it Thomas Hine & C°. in 1817.

The Hine House  is one of the oldest houses in Jarnac and serves as the company's headquarters. In 1962, the house was granted a royal warrant from Queen Elizabeth II, as suppliers of cognac. Today it is still the only cognac house to hold this honour. Rare is a Fine Champagne Cognac, a blend of more than 25 Grande and Petite Champagne cognacs. Suave yet delicate and exceptional VSOP, adored for its caramel, jasmine, nutmeg and dried fruit flavor notes. Perhaps my favorite for its smoothness.

 

13. Laphroaig Single Malt 10yrs  abv 40%

This edition is for those that love big, smoky and briny Islay Scottish whiskies with a history back from the18th century.  Massively individual and utterly distinctive, Laphroaig unique flavour comes in part from it’s vicinity to the coast and the high moss content of its peat, which is processed in the distillery’s own floor maltings. The malted barley is dried over a peat fire. The smoke from this peat, found only on Islay, gives Laphroaig its particularly rich flavour. In a campaign that seems to break all the rules of advertising, Laphroaig is slapping terrible descriptions.’ It tastes like dead fish, iodine, a campfire and dirt! The taste is smoky with seaweed notes as it is produced in maritime climate. A slight vanilla and caramel note becomes apparent underneath all of the smoke and salt to balance out these huge flavors.  Laphroaig is the favourite of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and even bears his Royal Warrant.

 

"Drinking Bourbon knowing the tradition of Elliah Graig , the father of Bourbon, is a good idea"

Dinos Kleovoulou

 

I wished more ambassadors will knock on the door with new bottles in their hands!

Dinos Kleovoulou from Greece started bartending from a young age and established himself through competitions and long shifts at reputable bars all over Greece, London, Cyprus. He is now acquainted and a collaborator with the industry’s top mixologists and through his travels he has extended his knowledge on spirits and bar techniques. He is sharing his valuable experiences and knowledge by giving seminars, presentations, organized bartender’s competitions and has been a judge too.

Dinos is responsible for many bar lists in the scene and has been training bartenders to reach higher goals.

 

 

He has been recruited to represent reputable brands amongst others, Gin Mare, Diplomatico, Real, Finest call, San Miquel, Koval, Bitter Truth and more lately Elliah Graig. 

It was a pleasure to spend time with Dinos where he talked about Bourbon and he has prepared some cocktails for Speakeasyhacker just after breakfast!

The classic Old fashion with a twist where he used Eliah Graig bourbon, orange and chocolate biters, Bitter Truth’s Golden Falernum, and maple syrup, strired and garnished with an orange twist.

 

 

The surprise of the morning drinking session was made by Dino’s version of the classic Boulevardier with the twist of the day! Elliah Graig Bourbon, Pambelle, Dolin rouge, stirred and garnished with fresh grapefruit

 

 

Light, refreshing, fruity and so pleasantly opening into your mouth while sipping this simple combination of Pampelle with tonic and a generous grapefruit segment ! Perfect drink for any occasion. I have tried the Pampelle as in a spritzer and was delighted but this one won the audience!  Thanks Dinos and come again with more goodies!

 

 

A Bourbon Story

Elijah Craig (1800) is often referred to as the inventor of bourbon whiskey (!), although rather dubiously for this credit according to some. He was a Baptist preacher in Virginia, educator but an entrepreneur in the area of Virginia that later became the state of Kentucky. 

In late 17th century Elijah Craig founded a distillery and sometimes claimed to be the first to age whiskey in charred oak casks which leads to giving a rather red color and a different taste to the whiskey. Lots of confusing information of those times indicates that the distillery was not in the bourbon county nor that his whiskey was unique nor that he practiced charring of the aging barrels as the brand claims. It could be that the distillery entered the Bourbon county when it was formed in 1785. 

American whiskey authority Charles Kendrick Cowdery believes Elijah Craig was making exactly the same kind of whiskey as most of his contemporaries. 

However, whether true or not, today Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. is an American, private family-owned and operated distillery founded in 1935 and headquartered in  Kentucky and uses the same methods and traditions as in 200 years ago used by Elijah Graig using local corn milled and mixed with Kentucky spring water, rich in limestone, fermented and distilled.

The Elijah Graig is a premium and super premium bourbon featuring the original small batch straight bourbon and aged, straight from the barrel.

The original small batch straight Bourbon Whiskey.

The unfiltered aged and straight from the barrel.

The 18 year old bottled solely from one barrel.

The 23 year old rarely allowed to age for that long in Kentucky.

An interesting collection of bourbons with character and a lot to say while tasting the different bottles! Best to mark an occasion with the 23 year old, full of oak touches, vanilla, subtle and with a specific taste of an exceptionally balanced bourbon!

 

 

The Butterfly Pea Flower Tea & the bartender’s challenge!

Butterfly pea flower or leaf tea is derived from a plant, common to most South East Asian countries. Brewed for centuries but only recently been introduced to tea drinkers outside the indigenous area. 

For example in Thailand and Vietnam, the butterfly blue pea flower tea is commonly mixed with honey and lemon for a drink usually served after dinner, or as a refreshment at hotels and spas. The tea is found in both hot and cold varieties, where the cold version is often mixed with honey, mint, cinnamon, passion fruit, and ginger.

 

 

 

Butterfly pea flower tea retains many of the medicinal properties while it extracts the deep blue color of the petals that has made the plant a popular dye for centuries. 

Trendy aspect when added to liquid, is the fact that the liquid changes color based on the pH level of the substance added to it. When you add lemon juice to the tea  it will turn purple. This makes it an attractive ingredient in the cocktails. Bartenders are increasingly introducing it as by just adding a lemon slice in front of the guests it creates an interactive color-changing experience. Another method is to freeze the tea into ice cubes and add them to drinks, causing swirling color changes as the cubes melt.

 

 

Teas are believed to treat illnesses and supplement nutrition. The butterfly pea flower has some nutritional values when added to drinks

1. When steeped the butterfly pea flower releases antioxidants much like green tea. Antioxidants help your body lower risk of infections, and is great for your heart health.

2. Butterfly pea tea is known for its beautiful colors but funnily enough what’s less known is its ability to preserve beauty. The blue flower has been studied to show that it helps combat wrinkles and protects your skin from premature aging.

3. Feeling a headache coming on? Butterfly pea tea is proven to help alleviate pain through its analgesic properties.

4. Fights internal inflammation. The tea helps reduce inflammation in the body as well as symptoms such as breakouts or rashes.

5. The flower has also been known to revitalize the brain. With an onset of nutrients and energizing properties, the flower helps brain health while keeping you feeling energized.

 

BARTENDER’S CHALLENGE – Calling all bartenders!

1. Create a cocktail using the Butterfly Pea flower.

2. Email the recipe,  a photo of the drink, your own photo, name and address at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The recipes will be reviewed by 5 mixologists from 5 different countries and the winner will get a full presentation on speakeasyhacker.com as well as a surprise!

Final date for submissions 31rst of March 2019.

 

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