Nikos Mourfesis opening his own bar in Athens was a given. He is after all one of the most loved DJs in Athens, well known for his rock parties from the good old days. He had already dipped his toe in the water with his bar in Paros, which closed last year, so it wasn`t a surprise when two years ago he introduced us to Recipe, the bar that does exactly what it says on the tin: it gives people a good time. However, the official opening for Recipe took place at a very good time for the cocktail scene so it had to refocus its energy not only on being fun, but also producing great drinks.
A number of experienced bartenders have worked here, each one of them leaving their own mark on the place. Until recently it was the talented Jason Papadopoulos, who is now at the Gin Joint. The current crop includes Panagiotis Nakos, Panagiotis Theofanis, Spiros Vatikiotis and one of the surprises of the season, the very young Kostas Chatziavas, who we first met at Chalandri`s Theory. And why is he a surprise? Well, when you are barely into your twenties and you`re already one of the finalists of the very demanding World Class cocktail competition, then you definitely have something interesting to bring to the table. That is all it took for me to make the journey to Kifissia to see Mr Chatziavas`s work and for him to talk me through the Recipe team`s cocktail propositions. I was also lucky enough to try a soon to be launched new menu.
Fifteen colourful recipes, interesting garnishes on simple flavours, a perfectly seasonal hot cocktail, a low calorie option and three beautiful gin mixes basically summarise what is on offer.
Personally I would choose either the gin with the watercress, fresh basil leaves and refreshing tonic or the one with the Old Tom gin and elderflower liqueur which is perfectly balanced with soda water and cherry bitters.
From the cocktail menu, the lovers of intense alcoholic flavours should choose the unusual Kassavetis Manhattan. This take on the classic cocktail, which is usually made with rum, replaces it with two types of whisky, an Irish one and a bourbon, sweet vermouth, a playful Xante (a cognac based pear liqueur) and homemade vanilla and tonka fruit aromatic bitters. This is a very easy to drink cocktail, despite its intense alcoholic nature, where the whisky is perfectly balanced with the tonka end note.
Next I tried the Spicy Peruano since Pisco, Peru`s national drink, is one of my top choices. This cocktail includes pear infused oil sugars, a little Tentura, red wine and lime juice topped with a home made ginger soda. You couldn`t really taste the Pisco as the cinnamon and ginger were overpowering but I still think this will be a popular choice because of its heavily spiced flavours. If I want Pisco next time, I`ll ask for it as part of a sour so I can enjoy it just the way I like it.
Recipe is trying to engage the widest possible audience but still endeavours to introduce some new ideas. Take Pisco for example; people don`t tend to ask for it but in the case of the cocktail mentioned above, they`ll try it for the first time and like it. Similarly, in the case of the Blazer, which they hope will replace the very popular mulled wine. If you intend to visit soon, why don`t you ask for a "Heat Me Up" which is a warm blend of rum, brandy, citrus sugars, herb spirit and aromatic bitters. You could be enjoying it in beautiful Kifissia while listening to `fancy` music and having a grand old time. So why not?
Kassaveti 12, Kifissia.
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