The Cocktails

A Tsikoudia Cocktail: Bloddy Mario (Mar-yò)

The tsikoudia cocktail bloody mario made with raki (tsikoudia) and tomato juice

One of the most classic cocktails in the history of bar drinks is the Bloody Mary. It is a divine combination of ingredients not regularly found in cocktails and spirits that compliment the flavor and the textures. What are those ingredients? It is tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce with the clear and neat spirit of Vodka. It is one of the very rare savory cocktails that are combined to give a fulfilling taste. Vodka being clean taste companies with everything sweet, sour and salty.But it is not the only spirit that can be used. Tequila for example has many qualities that make it savory. We actually did the salsa shots a while back that identifies and compliments that particular quality of the Tequila. The substitution of Vodka with Tequila is actually called, brilliantly, Bloody Maria. Today we are combining another savory drink the Tsikoudia (raki) that is also savory and combines excellently with flavors like tomato and cucumber. The name of it? Bloody Mario, the Cretian nickname of Maria.

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Apple Pie Cocktail: Apple Pie in a Glass

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With every fall, a very regular reoccurrence is the craze with pumpkin and the accompanying spice mixture dabbed as Pumpkin Spice. There is however another fruit that is equally (if not better) than pumpkin, but because we access it year around, we tend to neglect it. It is the apple. Although varieties like, fuji, gala and macintosh are available year around there are some of them like the honeycrisp, are only available for a small window between later September and early November. That is the regular season for the apples, and we have to honor them along side Johnny Appleseed, the man who solely is responsible for the spread of apples across America. Let's make a cocktail to celebrate the apple season.

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Greek Delight: a Masticha Cocktail

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There is a great Greek dessert that is called Greek Delight. It is actually more widely known as Turkish Delight, since it originated in Turkey. Some people still dispute that which is reasonable. After 400 years of culinary overlap recipes did exchange back and forth and many dishes lost origin. We can, however, give the credit to the Turkish for the development of this delightful dessert. Actually the Greek name of the dessert is loukoumi, very close to the turkish that is loukoum. Greeks though will keep calling it Greek delight just because. The delightful dessert is a gel made with corn starch, sugar and a flavoring. It is then covered in a mixture of powder sugar and cornstarch to prevent the pieces from sticking with each other, and on your fingers. The flavors predominant in Turkey are rose and pistachio. In Greece it is mastiha and rose. Mastiha is a unique spice produced at the island of Chios. In the past I have made another cocktail flavored with Mastiha and even a cheesecake. Here I make a cocktail inspired by the flavors of the Greek Delight (Mastiha and Rose). This cocktail merges the flavor of Masticha and Rose in one unique combination.

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Smokey Bandit!

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When I think if America I think of Cowboys. I know America is so much more than just cowboys, but the cowboys are the poster boys of America. Maybe it is the cigaret commercials, maybe it is because of the hundreds of cowboy movies, maybe it is the iconic cowboy hat. As kid a used to imagine the cowboys not as the people that manage herds of cattle, but as people that were roaming the country looking for a saloon to get some whiskey and if possible pick up some trouble, pick up a gun fight and even steal a kiss. Yeah. To my childish eyes that was what a cowboy was. A guy with tough looks, soul piercing eyes, rough hands and the smell of smoke, gunpowder and whiskey follow him around. So this cocktail is just a tribute to my childhood heroes.

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Thanksgiving Cosmo

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Thanksgiving food is definitely good. But do you know what else is good? Thanksgiving drinks. And probably the most popular thanksgiving drinks are beer and wine. Beer is often associated with the football games, one of the main events during that day and the wine with formality of the dinner. There is however another drink, that we seem to drink year around, based on cranberries, which for some reason we tend to ignore that day. I am talking of none other than the Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan is a very popular drink, very refreshing, if it is made right way, and most importantly it is a simple drink. Due to the bright pinkish color it seems to be a very popular drink among the female population, and for the same reason it seems to be not as popular to the male population.

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Pink Penguin

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As the summer continues its course through the calendar year, cocktails hit the peak of their demand. Cocktails are one of the best beverages to cool off with under the hot summer sun. It is not just that they are over ice. It is the combination of all the ingredients working together to wake you up and tease the senses during the hot day or night. It is not a coincidence that most well-known cocktails were invented in hot and tropical places: Mojito in Cuba, Daiquiri in Miami, Caipirinia in Brazil Piña Colada in Puerto Rico... the list goes on!

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Samanya: A Tribute to Bartendering

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In 1948 when David A. Embury was publishing the book “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” little he knew it will become a classic cocktail book, praised 70 years later. The book attempted to put an order to the mess of the cocktails and all the different mixed drinks that right after the end of the second World War became a growing trend. He laid down a few simple rules and concepts that can be a guide, a compass for every bartender. The peak era of the cocktails was in the 60s. The Rat Pack and James Bond made cocktails cool. And then came the 70’s. The Dance floor was steamy hot. The dancers need to cool down and get energy. Slowly the Martini and the Manhatan gave their place to neon colored sissified drinks.The 90s came along and Jazz, Blues and the Funk all became popular again. And just like a whole new generation was rediscovering the music, the cocktails became popular again. The bartenders gave up the colorful drinks for tasteful drinks. The globalization brought in the scene new high proof alcohols and more exquisite flavors. Suddenly David A. Embury’s book was rediscovered. The old copies skyrocketed to hundreds of dollars. It went back in press. David did not dictate, he suggested. He suggested 5 simple rules.

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Rakitini: A Tsikoudia Cocktail

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This is the third recipe that has a special meaning. It is from my island in Greece the glorious island of Crete, and even more specifically from my Home town, the town of Ierapetra ( Ιεράπετρα ) that literally translates as Hollystone. Crete is most known for the agriculture and farming, ranging from olive oil, vegetables and wine to animal farming (sheep and goats) and fishing. It is in a way self sustained island. The wine industry although not well developed is responsible for a great by product. All the leftover grape mush after the juice is extracted. This waste is converted to one of the most celebrated distilled spirit of Crete tsikoudia (τσικουδιά) or raki after the turkish version of another distilled spirit. One difference with all the other spirits? It is never mixed, not even with ice. Always straight, never in a cocktail. Well things are about to change. I just made a perfect cocktail based on the same techniques of all the classic cocktails.

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Salsa Shots

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You probably saw the other two recipes on salsa. They are very good but done again and again. Not of course with the same flare but done never the less. However I discovered something astonishing. While I was sipping down the tequila with the tomato salsa, I figured that the salsa tasted better when the tequila was in the mix. So I got this strange idea to try a salsa shot. How? Just make the tomato or mango-pineapple salsa as is described before. Once you left them in the refrigerator for a while spoon out some of the juice that came out.

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Mojito: When to Legend Drinks Met Up

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Recently there has been a big focus on this blog on cocktails. The cocktails are not just a mixed drink to have fun, it is cooking since the mixing is a form of art, as was stated in the book the “Fine art of Mixing Drinks” published in the 1900s and still in print today. Although the book describes 6 basic cocktails there are some other classic cocktails that are not only worth mentioning, but it is important to learn the right method of making them. I am not a bartender or very experienced with drinks. There are some drinks however that I have master and I do hope that you will too. I am here to help. The cocktail today is the Mojito.
This summer ...

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