Let’s #FlyBeyond my absolute favourite bars of Athens, Greece. And enjoy two of my most beloved cocktails – made with Grey Goose vodka, naturally.
Few know that my favourite drink is Grey Goose vodka. At least ever since I visited their home at Le Logis, in France, where I also met the man who created it, Maître de Chai François Thibault. I rarely taste it straight though, have always preferred cocktails. But where do I enjoy them the most, when I’m not traveling? Which 2 are the absolute best bars in Athens, according to my taste buds? And what about those cocktails? Is there a certain recipe to follow and master so that you can enjoy them at home?
A beautiful De Gourna wallpaper. A magical, almost, cabinet of curiosities behind the bar. Mirrors on the ceiling, soft lighting, leather stools, white marble. Very old fashioned, exquisitely aristocratic, jazzy. There are no shakers here, all cocktails are carefully stirred. The stuff wears leather aprons and sur mesure crisp white shirts. Almost from a different era.
I love enjoying a Moscow Mule at Kyrios bar, especially early in the night, or late in the afternoon.
Address: Dorileou 4, Mavili sq., Athens.
The Moscow Mule
Invented in the ‘40s by Jack Morgan at the Cock ’n’ Bull pub on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip as an excuse to promote his ginger beer. And why not. It’s admittedly a classic cocktail. Prepared with Grey Goose vodka, it’s a little masterpiece – to me.
- 1/2 oz. lime juice
- 2 oz. Grey Goose vodka
- 4-6 oz. ginger beer
1. Squeeze lime juice into a Moscow Mule mug and drop in the spent shell.
2. Add 2 or 3 ice cubes, then pour in Grey Goose vodka and fill with cold ginger beer (not ginger ale, although what the hell).
3. Serve with a stirring rod.
Certain people with a grand vision have recently revived Zonars, that singular restaurant of modern lore at the historic corner of Voukourestiou and Panepistimiou to its original glory. Redesigned by architecture firm, K-Studio, under the artistic direction of Domgr and the close watch of the Panas brothers, Zonars is really an Athenian legend that is finally resurrected.
Originally established in 1939, this is the brainchild of another stubborn man with a vision, Karolos Zonaras, a Greek chocolatier based in the United States who wanted to establish Zonars as “the best restaurant in the best location in Athens”. And succeeded.
Zonars also has strong cultural ties with art and book presentations, such as the Picasso, Matisse and Giacometti presentation, and now the Andy Warhol masterpieces that all hang nonchalantly, almost aloof, on the walls. To enjoy a cocktail underneath them: priceless. Usually I’m enjoying a Dry Martini here after a meeting downtown, preferably alone, in the company of a good book or magazine. Whether I’ve had a stressful day or a very fruitful work load, I find that this is my recipe to finally calming down – like a weekend, squeezed within an hour, whenever I need it.
Address: Voukourestiou 9 & Panepistimiou Str., Athens.
The Dry Martini
This is another American legend, like Billy the Kid: a larger-than-life invention of the nation’s collective will; an intoxicant so sharp, clean and deadly that it cuts the head off while the legs keep walking.
- 1/2 oz. of Grey Goose vodka
- 2 oz. of Noilly Prat Original Dry vermouth
1. Fill a glass with ice.
2. Add 1 half part Noilly Prat Original Dry to 2 parts Grey Goose vodka with a dash of orange bitters.
3. Stir for 20 seconds (sorry, James).
4. Strain into a classic martini glass.
5. Cut the zest of a lemon into a strip, twist it and waft it over the glass.
6. Add an olive (or two, as I prefer it) on a stick.