About the special vermouth moment & smart not clumsy drinks
This story is about a special vermouth moment and some innovative cocktails. There is a rising demand for lower ABV drinks and there is a demand on sustainability and local products. Odori Vermuteria Di Atene and The Clumsies are two great examples as to how to bring these ideas to life.
As the name itself suggests this is a vermouth bar. Vermouth is one of the most famous aperitifs with a long tradition not only as a drink on its own but also as a mixer ingredient in cocktails. An aperitif is not just a drink but a way of life and is now enjoying rising popularity around the world.
Odori is a place for daytime and nighttime drinking combined with excellent Italian influenced food. The venue is like something out of a fairy-tale from the decoration to the menu.
The 10 metre long bar counter clad in copper has a warm and homey glow, the ivy-leaf wallpaper makes you feel like you are in a botanical garden, a feeling that is intensified by the huge metal birdcages hanging from the ceiling. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer a bright and friendly atmosphere.
Opening the menu is another experience. The signature drinks pop-up in a lovingly illustrated menu. They take you on a journey of classic drinks with some background stories for those who are interested. The Clover Club, for example, is a cocktail which consists of gin, lemon juice, raspberry syrup and egg white. Odoris The Clover has vermouth added. It consists of Martini Riserva Speciale Ambrato cooked with berries and PX sherry instead of raspberry syrup and offers more complexity and depth than the original. So you have the classic drinks with the vermouth extra. But there are also new creations built directly on vermouths.
What happens if you switch the proportion of spirit and vermouth of the great classics? There is a trend towards lower-proof drinks. Some will turn their noses up at 50/50 martinis but there are so many different high-quality vermouths on the market to build martinis with a lower-proof without losing the real spirit. But this is another discussion.
Let’s have a look at the Unorthodox drink category on the menu featuring less alcohol but all the taste. Each of the listed classic cocktails correspond to an unorthodox version. The Upside Down Martini reverses the ratio of gin and vermouth of the Dry Martini. A Manhattan becomes an Upper West Side and the Roy Boy … have a guess, right, this is the Rob Roy. All of these concoctions are excellent and have not lost their main character.
A perfect night at Odori starts for me with one of their nice pizzas and a fresh salad. While I am waiting for the food I sip a Piazza Castello. Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino with a cold brew coffee, Fernet Branca filled up with Three Cents tonic water – just delicious. This is the right base for some more drinks. Pop-up the menu and make your choice.
If you turn the corner past Odori you will find The Clumsies, another bar of the family. The triumvirate of the family is The Clumsies, Odori Vermuteria Di Atene and The Theory Bar & More, a bit more ouside the city centre.
The Clumsies, aka Vasilis Kyritsis and Nikos Bakoulis, promote the Greek cocktail culture worldwide. They travel the world spreading Athens bar culture and bringing back influences from all over the world in return. They are always busy and very innovative but at the same time down to earth and very hospitable. “There’s no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.”, is one of their slogans. Since I have known the guys, they have climbed from number 22 to number 9 on the ladder of the World’s 50 Best Bars. Athens has become a destination for famous bar luminaries and from time to time you will find them behind the bars taking a guest shift.
The Clumsies is an all day cocktail bar located in a pretty villa. You will find fine food and nice daytime drinking. During the night, the drinks become more boozy and DJs rock the place. The ingredients of the drinks are refined in their in-house laboratory, using sous-vide, cold drip, fat washing and rotary evaporator technology. The results are innovative concoctions. I was right there when they launched their new menu Genesis in March. The menu offers ingredients which originate from Greek soil. Using local products guarantees fresh and tasteful quality.
An aha-experience is the Eureka drink. You think you are drinking a smoky whisky?! The rich taste comes from vermouth, wine, apricot and just smoke. No whisky at all and a lower-proof.
One colourful mug on the shelf caught my eye because it reminded me of paintings by Jackson Pollock. He was an American painter and well known for his unique painting techniques. It has been said that he was not adverse to alcohol, so I fancied trying the corresponding drink. Anarchy, a mixture of Zacapa, banana, pickled tiki blend and spices. I am not a big fan of this rum but I like the way the bar plays with products and introduces them in a new way. The perfect disorder of ideas in a harmonious recipe.
Four chapters, sixteen creative and smart drinks – explore the taste of the Greek genesis. They created a delicious lexicon of their ideas.