Fermentation, going local and the life of the bee. There was inspiration aplenty in The Eco Bar at this year’s Athens Bar Show.
There was an abundance of great spirits and an exceptional choice of fantastic cocktails to sample over the two day event last week, but given our support for sustainability in the drinks world there was a particular stand out for us. The Eco Bar was a unique collaboration between Panos Kanatsoulis, winner of Greek World Class Bartender of the Year 2017, and Diageo. Taking inspiration from three key trends Panos created three new serves, each telling a unique sustainability story.
Whilst refrigerators and freezers are necessary in bars, they consume a fair bit of energy. Instead Panos looked to traditional preservation techniques from the past, using salt, sugar, vinegar and alcohol. During this kind of fermentation an environment is created where bacteria cannot survive, making for a natural energy-saving way of preserving food.
Amongst the fermented ingredients Panos used were kombucha (green tea and sugar), tepache (pineapple peel and rind), aquafaba (beans and other pulses) and sauerkraut (fermented cabbage). Combining them with Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky, the result was a particularly dry and exceptionally refreshing sour.
Supporting local producers is a crucial part of the sustainability journey, economically, environmentally and culturally. Panos took the classic Bloody Mary and reimagined it with some outstanding local ingredients, combining them with Ketel One Vodka. Amongst these ingredients were Santorini tomatoes, ouzo-scented hot peppers and oregano from Chalkidiki. Another nice touch was the serve itself, utilising miniature tins that had previously contained the tomato paste used in the drink.
Not only did it use a wide range of local ingredients, it was one of the tastiest Bloody Marys we’ve ever enjoyed.
Learn from the humble bee
Bees have been working away on planet Earth for some 15 million years. Today a colony of 25,000 bees can pollinate 250 million flowers, but without this pollination we would run out of food, with fruit such as pears, apples and strawberries becoming increasingly scarce.
Inspired by the life of the bee and its by-products, Panos devised an Old-Fashioned based on Roe & Co Irish Whiskey. With its hints of creamy vanilla, pear, spices and, importantly, honey, along with a bee pollen garnish, we loved its exceptional smoothness.
One pop up bar isn’t going to change the world overnight but it proved that sustainability can be as delicious as it is conscientious.
Johnnie Walker Black Sour
50 ml Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky
80 ml Smoked Caramel Kombucha
45 ml Tepache
25 ml Aquafaba
Shake over ice and strain into a glass or small cup.
Ketel One Bloody Mary
50 ml Ketel One Vodka
100 ml Bloody mix*
15 ml Fish sauce**
5 ml sesame honey
Roll over ice and strain into a glass or recycled tin.
500 ml sweet Santorini tomatoes
50 ml Santorini tomato paste
500 ml Santorini tomato water
6 Thessaly bay leaves
200 ml Tinos rock samphire water
60 ml ouzo scented with hot peppers
20 ml garum
75 ml Samos Vin Doux
10 ml Cretan carob honey
15 ml apple vinegar
2 gr salt
2 gr pepper
Oregano from Chalkidiki
Black garlic from Pelion
Roe & Co Old-Fashioned
60 ml Roe & Co Irish Whiskey
5 ml Sesame Honey *
10 ml infused Pear Liqueur **
Garnish: bee pollen
Stir over ice and strain into a ice-filled rocks glass.
* Mix a small jar of thyme honey with 30ml sesame oil
** Mix pear liqueur with 100gm beeswax, 3gm sage, 5gm mastic thyme, 3gm rosemary, 5gm gava pepper and 3gm bourbon pepper