Behind the Bar
5 Amazing Things From The Clumsies' New Menu
The Clumsies, deemed one of the World’s 50 Best Bars by Drinks International, has set the standard for cocktail innovation in Greece. By offering a bar that both satisfies locals and wows world travelers, Vasilis Kyritsis and Nikos Bakoulis have created an international drinking destination in Athens after only a little more than a year in business. In short, these guys know their stuff, and they’re absurdly talented. So it’s no surprise that their latest offering continues to push the boundaries of creativity.
The Special Relativity menu, which launched this month but has been in the works for the past nine months, consists of three different “seasons” — the past, with clever riffs on classics; the present, with Clumsies originals that are current crowd favorites; and the future, which is where the bar program truly pushes the envelope. Co-owner Vasilis Kyritsis describes this portion as having complex flavors (like umami), modern techniques, and experimentation with ingredients that may not exist in the future, such as coffee. “The global needs for coffee have become huge in the last years and some scientists say that we'll have problem with this ingredient in the future,” says Kyritsis. So, in a few of the drinks, coffee is replaced with ingredients like carob. “It took us a lot of experiments, time and ingredients to succeed with the final cocktails,” he adds.
For best results, book a trip to Athens and check out The Clumsies for yourself — but if you can’t do that, here are some of the highlights from the new menu.
1. A fermented fizz
Shaker Boys takes the classic Ramos and gives it a funky twist with what The Clumsies calls its “fermented elixir,” a “secret mixture” that involves dried red apples, green jasmine, agave syrup, fennel and baker’s yeast. The combination is fermented in a barrel before being added to the drink.
2. A mojito served alongside a toothbrush (complete with toothpaste)
Rather than “smashing the lime and mint into a sorry pulp,” The Clumsies version (called El Draque) uses a slightly less conventional presentation for its take on a mojito. “For this cocktail we created an edible toothpaste of green mint and green apple to give more flavor and bigger sense of the mint in our Mojito,” Kyritsis says. Just remember to brush your teeth before drinking.
3. A Mediterranean aphrodisiac cocktail
Jenna Says (named after, you know, that Jenna) is the Clumsies’ update on the classic Pornstar Martini. To up the sensual ante, they’ve crafted their own “aphrodisiac potion,” a cordial syrup slow cooked sous vide with an almost all-Mediterranean cast of ingredients purported to “raise your erotic mood,” as Kyritsis says: olives, tomato, rosemary, ginseng. But does this potion work? It seems so: the feedback from guests has been positive so far, he says.
4. A milk punch made with “not milk.”
Do Not Disturb the Bees is a riff on milk punch that doesn’t exactly use milk — at least not in its traditional form. Clarified milk is made by boiling the milk, adding fresh lemon, cooling it and running it through a centrifuge. The final product, after being separated from the cream, is slow-cooked in sous vide with herbs, spices, chamomile and black truffle.
5. A martini served with a mouth-drying sidekick
“You know the Dirty Vodka Martini? It has a brother. From the future.” So says the description of the Circle of Life, The Clumsies’ riff on the ultimate classic. In this case, it’s not what’s in the drink that’s as curious as what’s served with it: a tiny dropper bottle of “dry solution,” which is made by infusing eau de vie with grapeseed extract and pear extract, then distilling the infusion. “With just one drop, your mouth instantly becomes extra dry and you feel really thirsty,” says Kyritsis. “After that, when you taste the drink, you’ll have a greater sense of the ingredients we are using.”
For the "Future" portion of the new menu, The Clumsies experiments with flavors that may be in danger of scarcity or extinction — like coffee, which is replicated in the Unknown Pleasures by using carob.