The ever changing Greek bar scene is also
showing signs of increasing professionalism.
It is now common ground to celebrate the launch of a new or seasonal bar
menu with its creators explaining everything in detail and benefiting from a
little communal brainstorming before it’s made available to the public. The
Clumsies is a much talked about bar which has instantly attracted fans because
of the imaginative recipes; drinks which are popular but challenging at the
The new menu devised by Vasilis Kyritsis,
Nikos Bakoulis, Stefanos Draganidakis, Dimitris Dafopoulos, Kiki Fountoukidou
and Konstantinos Papakonstantinou, is called ‘Kaleidoscope’ and looks like a
colour sample book in the shape of a fan. Kaleidoscope is a concept menu, much
like what you’d normally find in a gourmet restaurant. A series of strong colours and phrases aimed
to create the feeling you’ll associate with each drink.
Take ‘Walking with Colours’ for example, a
blend of Tanqueray No. Ten and Tanqueray Rangpur infused with a purple Thai tea
called Butterfly. Add to that some dry
vermouth with a hint of black truffle which hits your nose more than your
mouth, some condensed elderflower, sugar syrup, lemon bitters and buttermilk
grapefruit tonic water. It’s served in a short glass with ice and aims to be a
refreshing take on the Old Fashioned.
Its wonderful colours, which are very camera friendly, are brought to
life by a garnish of lemon peel and cucumber pickle.
Celtic Forest: The strong greens of a
Celtic forest are represented in one of the most interesting cocktails we’ve
seen. A lot of flat leaf basil and
liquid nitrogen are added to a shaker in order for the aromas to be condensed
as much as possible. As the frozen smoke makes its way round the bar to the
delight of the selfie brigade, a generous portion of just-out-of-the-freezer
Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve is added. Then comes lemon juice, thyme honey
and a little Chartreuse while the drink is served in a sharing Japanese
bowl. The dark green cocktail (with a
single piece of ice) is garnished with rocket, radish and basil shoots.
Forbidden Fruit: Porn Star Martini is a
love-it-or-hate-it kind of drink. The Clumsies’ Porn Star does deserve your
attention though, as it basically summarises the whole menu concept with its
intricate play on flavours, textures and colours as well as its interactive
presentation and notes of umami. Redistilling the vodka with bergamot, results
in condensing the citrus aromas in the drink while a potion made of tomato water,
passion fruit, grapefruit, vanilla, lemongrass and a blend of apple and citrus
acid is added afterwards. The cocktail
is served in a rounded glass on which the bartender paints with vanilla
colouring. Just as the Porn Star is
served with a shot of champagne on the side, this version has a shot of
Prosecco with condensed passion fruit giving it a strong purple colour.
Blossom Tree: Another really interesting,
refreshing and aromatic drink using masticha as a base. It’s then mixed with
honey and limoncello infused kiwi water, a little black sesame and lemon
juice. The green hued drink is served in
a glass whose rim has powdered mint on it as a result of mixing the herb with
Seasonal Daiquiri: First presented as part
of their winter menu, the daiquiri is back and it’s no surprise that you can
never just have one of them. The rum is
distilled again with strawberries and raspberries and mixed with a sweet &
sour potion made with fresh strawberries, lime juice which has had the colour
taken out of it, water, vanilla and cumquat.
The cocktail is served in a round glass with a fresh strawberry, it’s
practically colour free and has an aroma which permeates the whole bar.
Upside Down Collins: Served readymade in a
little bottle and totally carbonised. It’s made with The Clumsies Old Tom gin,
a cumquat cordial, salt and a honey infused cordial with crushed lime. It’s served in a thin long glass with
liquorice and smoked honey at the bottom and a rectangular shaped block of ice.
Chili Con Melon: This is one for the agave
lovers as it has both white tequila and mescal. It’s then mixed with melon from
Argos cooked in smoked chipotle and a shrub of sage, which adds a note of
acidity. It’s garnished with a sundried tomato infused with black cardamom,
black garlic and rice vinegar.
Ambrosia: Gin meets homemade watermelon
cordial infused with dried black lemon with the addition of Kozani saffron, a
little lime and some tonic to release the aromas. Garnished with a branch of dried oregano.
Ebony: A great drink which could be
competition worthy due to its complexity; a real showcase for its
creators. Made with Zacapa 23 and a
fermented elixir of fruit, various bitters, Campari yeast, sweet wine from Samos
and a botanical liqueur (Herbs by Roots).
Served in a dark black degustation glass and garnished with rocket
Banana Joe: Carbonising fat was a challenge
Clumsies set itself and it’s evident in this cocktail. Made with a homemade lapsang tea syrup,
coconut water, nuts, Calvados, black cardamom infused Grand Marnier and banana
chips. The drink is thick and filling,
served in a big glass and finished off with Three Cents soda and grated tonka
Lion Peach: I could easily have this for
breakfast as it brings back so many childhood memories. Ketel One vodka, a blend of biscuits,
peaches, ginger and butterscotch mixed with sour lemon and served in a big
glass with shaved ice and an orange blossom infused black lion, which hangs on
Mirror Eyes: A great Gimlet in a version
made for the few in the know. Redistilled blue cheese infused gin, masticha
cordial, kaffir lime leaves and lemon peel.
Served without colour and / or ice in a rounded glass and garnished with
a small strawberry meringue.
Clear Soup: Another great drink made with
asparagus infused white tequila, which takes on a unique earthy taste, further
intensified by a few hop drops. Some pear Eau de Vie and dry vermouth is then
added and it’s further garnished with some fresh dill.
Gismo: A recent visit by White Lyan’s Ryan
Chetiyawardana has inspired Greek bartenders into making a cocktail with him,
which now appears on the menu. Bourbon
whisky, grapefruit cordial, olive leaf infused Manzanilla sherry and a condensed
Avaton red wine (from Limni, Mavrotragano and Mavroudi varieties), which gives
the final result a unique tannin quality.
In true White Lyan fashion, this particular cocktail is served readymade
from a bottle and is garnished with an olive leaf.
Kaleidoscope is a rare
concept menu. It’s very well put
together and that is evident with every sip, but it presents its innovation in
simple ways so as to not become inaccessible. It bases itself on the Greek
taste palate, bringing herbal qualities to the forefront while retaining its
complexity and eccentricity.
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