Viajante87’s Bar Director, Panos Kanatsoulis, presents their sustainability-orientated signature cocktail menu, highlighting one of their best-sellers.
Viajante87 is an agaveria cocktail bar located in a basement on Notting Hill Road. They focus on the whole range of agave spirits, like Tequila, Mezcal, Sotol and Raicilla, stocking around 220 labels to create experimental cocktails that differ from the drinks usually found in the bars throughout the neighborhood.
The signature cocktail menu is 100% agave based, with 11 of the 13 drinks featuring agave spirits and the final two using Bourbon Whiskey and Vodka – both made with blue agave.
Explaining the idea behind the menu, Bar Director Panos Kanatsoulis says: “The key element of the signature cocktail menu is the focus on sustainability and a zero-waste program, so we decided to base the menu on the four elements of the planet: earth, water, fire, and air. Each of the drinks incorporates at least one of these elements to introduce a natural connotation into the drink.
“We are currently running on 85% zero waste, however, we are constantly re-evaluating the menu to see how it can evolve to become closer towards 100%.”
Panos explains how at Los Mochis, the cocktail bar founded by the very same people behind the more recent Viajante87, many of the fruits and vegetables that are left over from the kitchen are used in cocktails to ensure there is little to no waste from both menus.
“Whilst this cuts cost from wastage, it also makes us think creatively to consider how we can upcycle these ingredients to be used in cocktails,” he adds.
Another key component of the menu is fermentation, which all bar staff have been trained for. Through fermentation and pickling, ingredients are preserved for a greater amount of time; however, these processes also create new flavours. Panos reveals that, in the following couple of months, the menu will have to develop to stay in touch with seasonal fruits and vegetables to ensure the team at Viajante87 aren’t sourcing ingredients outside of season to harm the environment.
Panos Kanatsoulis is 44 years old and was born and raised in Athens, Greece. He studied Conservation of Antiques and Fine Arts, before discovering his passion for mixology and starting working in bars and famous clubs in Athens, then travelling to Dubai to work in Zuma alongside Jimmy Barratt.
“After three years,” says Panos, “I returned to Greece and opened, with the Clumsies bar team, a pop-up bar called ‘Palmitas’, inspired by Mexican flavours. Later on, I returned to Clumsies until July 2018, and I still consult, train and host seminars in Greece for the new generation.”
Panos highlights how lucky he has been to travel and bring his passion to Moscow, Beijing, Cyprus, Poland, Bulgaria, Iceland, Macau and Hong Kong. In 2017, Panos won the World Class competition from Diageo in 2017 and came 11th in the global finals in Mexico City (although he was top four finalists in 2016). He also achieved 3rd position in the Belvedere competition in Dubai and is currently a Belvedere Collective Global Member.
Further explaining the menu, Panos says: “Centered around sustainability, we all focus on our menu as a team, striving to be as close to 100% zero waste as possible. Sustainable practices breed creativity as we search for the best way to use every part of each ingredient we work with.
“The signature menu is a team effort, even though I am the main creator, all of the staff contributed their ideas, many of which are incorporated into the menu.”
ABOUT THE COCKTAIL
Smoked Earth is based on a Mezcalita, however, it takes a new approach through creating a unique mezcal-based cocktail. Using red cabbage, purple carrot, beetroot, red corn and jalapeños left over from Los Mochis, the team lacto-ferment them adding only Sancho berry pepper for two weeks. Once the juice has been strained, they balance it out with lactic acid, add re-distilled vodka with horseradish and blend it with Doba Yej Mezcal. Finally, the vegetables are dehydrated and blitzed to make the salt rim.
The cocktail embodies flavours from the earth and is a drink that is 100% zero-waste, recycling all the off-cuts.
50 ml Horsradish Mezcal Espadin
40ml Lacto-veggie cordial
Shake, then pour in a coupette glass garnished with dehydrated leftover powder salt.