Alexander Kass - Lion Lion, NY

Rocket War - Rouketopolemos

Roots Mastiha 40%
lemon juice
cucumber slices
arugula
Fee Bros. Peach Bitters

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I loved watching the fireworks at Pascha. 

As a child in Connecticut, my family would drive over an hour to church to attend the ceremony at midnight mass. The service culminated in a launch of fireworks to celebrate the resurrection. The firecrackers always reminded me of a story that stoked my imagination. 

My theíos Pericles would tell me of a village on Chios, where two rival churches fired tens of thousands of warring rockets across the sky at each other, streaming interwoven light across the whole island.  I dreamed of going to see the rockets. As an adult, I still wish to see them, and see the country of my heritage and not only explore my roots, but experience the dream from my youth.

The story of the Rocket War serves as my inspiration for this cocktail. 

I wanted to refresh the contemporary classic cocktail the Green Beast and create something with the same thirst quenching quality, but replace the anise-y, high ABV absinthe with a more mellow, but uniquely complex spirit. The debut of Roots Mastiha 40% provided me not only with the extraordinary flavor needed to compliment this serve, but also the potency for it to take centerstage in this cocktail. 

The peppery green bite of fresh, farmers market rocket (aka arugula) was inspired by the story of the rockets in Chios as well as my love of wordplay. The cucumber, lemon and dill are all used in our old family recipe for tzatziki my mother would prepare for Easter. My family overseas loves peaches but much to my bemusement call them “Persian apples”, so I thought, why not complement this drink with peach bitters? The bitters add a stone-fruit forward flavor that subtilely meshes with the mustard notes of the fresh rocket, the discreet coconut notes of the Mastiha, and the sweet aroma from the dill sprig garnish. Together with Roots Mastiha 40% this drink is much more than a green beast, but rather a mythic, many headed hydra of flavors. 

I hope you enjoy this cocktail, a drink that connects my roots with Roots!

Alfonzo Melendez Vazquez - Cafe ArtScience, MA

La Kouniada

Roots Mastiha
Lillet Blanc
Punt e mes
Benedictine
grapefruit bitters
Peychauds bitters

Among the many thing Greek and Spanish have in common, our family oriented culture is definitely on the forefront. This is a cocktail dedicated to my sister-in-law (cuñada in Spanish) which has the same pronunciation in Spanish as is does Greek. A cocktail designed to help her (or anyone) unwind after a long day. Cheers!

 

Arnaldo Silva - Boqueria, NY

Island Roots

Roots Mastic
Honey syrup (2:1)
Coconut water
Rose sparkling wine
A dash of aromatic bitters (Angostura)

With this twist on a Spritzer, with simple ingredients, I want to highlight the flavor profile of Roots Mastic, while connecting it with my roots and heritage from another island, Puerto Rico. The coconut water and aromatic bitters play the connecting part between Chios and Puerto Rico. I found these flavors make an interesting and refreshing marriage with the unique mastic profile. The honey adds a little more sweetness that will be balanced with the addition of the sparkling wine at the end, as well, it is a very well known Greek product when coming from another island, Crete.
As in any spritzer, we need bubbles, it adds acidity and happiness to the drink. Rose reminds me of summer, and makes it perfect to drink all year round.
Having in mind Roots is from Greece, the garnish connects it even more to its "roots", Rosemary plays a big role in Greek Mythology with Aphrodite, and another Greek ingredient very well known in worldwide food culture, Kalamata olives.

With Island Roots, I want to present the connection between my heritage and yours, with simple natural ingredients, an easy to make drink that is full of symbolism and the love for culture, for the roots that an some point connects with each one of us. Cheers!

Basilios Sambanidis - Ousia, NY

Aorato Negroni

Roots Mastiha
Gin
Dry vermouth
Lemon Bitters

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This cocktail is a twist on a Classic Negroni that not only highlights the beautiful piney and herbaceous notes in Mastiha, but also is part of my journey to reconnect to my Greek heritage.
As a kid raised in New York with a mixed background, it was easy for me to forget my roots. Being that my mother was Brazilian, I have always felt a bit more in tune with my Brazilian side. She made sure I was fluent in Portuguese from birth, and taught me about the culture and traditions by bringing me to Brazil numerous times when I was young.
On the other hand, my father who is a Greek of the diaspora from Constantinople, wanted me to learn Greek but it never stuck with me. While I attended some Greek school for a short while when I was very young, I did not visit Greece till I was 17. During that trip I realized that I had ‘fallen out’ with my Greek Roots and decided to try and reconnect with my Greek heritage and roots.
When I started working at Ousia my eyes were opened to the amazing and unique ingredients that Greece has to offer. Playing with Greek spirits in mixology, I have realized how their base of unique aromatic and therapeutic natural ingredients cannot only be the base to create great cocktails, but raise them to a whole new level semantic experience. Aorato in Greek means invisible. The cocktail is named the Invisible Negroni because it signifies the clarity which I felt from rediscovering my heritage. I can honestly say that my experience working with Greek spirits has been an integral part of my life journey to reconnect to my roots and has rekindled my pride, passion and love for my country, which I once felt so distant from.

Conrad Meurice - Chango Rosa, CT

"Blueberry Woodlawn"

Roots Mastitha
Sparkling water
blueberries
sprig of rosemary
Dandelion & Burdock Bitters.

This cocktail brings me back to many different places to which I consider my roots. There is a joke amongst my family but it is true that I was made in France and born in the USA. This is because both my siblings were born in France. My parents however, wanted to have one American born child because my mother was American. The USA is where my parents decided they wanted to reside which brought me to Connecticut.

Being French I have an undeniable love and appreciation for the culture that surrounds the culinary arts from all over the world.

In Connecticut I grew up on this street called "Woodlawn" where I spent the majority of my childhood. Roots Mastitha brought me back to that neighborhood undeniably.  After sitting down and smelling, tasting and again smelling Roots Mastitha over and over, I finally found my self traveling back to my childhood. Smell is known to be the sense that has the strongest correlation to memory.

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The reason that I was brought back to my childhood neighborhood is because the Mastitha really reminded me of fresh pine and wood. As a young child I used to collect pine needles from this giant pine tree in my backyard for this elderly couple that lived two houses down from me. Weekly, I would collect large garbage bags full of pine needles for them. They would then take the pine needles and place them at the base of the blueberry trees they had growing in their garden. I routinely found myself helping them in this garden. This helped grow my love for botanicals and the freshness and freedom of being in nature. These pine needles would eventually decompose down into the roots of the blueberry trees supplying them with specific nutrients that would help their growth.

Unfortunately, the elderly couple has since passed and I no longer live on Woodlawn but this beautiful spirit reminded me of all the love and passion I shared with them. The stories they would tell me as we laid out layers of pine needles under the blueberry trees or as they would direct me to uproot the bamboo that effortlessly tried to overcome their beloved blueberry trees.

This is why I've decided, out of the love I had for them, and the love and fond memories of the time I spent in their garden to name this drink "Blueberry Woodlawn".

I truly appreciate the opportunity to share my experience of tapping into these beloved memories which brought me back to my roots.

I hope you enjoy the history of my idea and am hopeful to visit New York to share this with the rest of the world. 

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David Roth - Covina NYC, NY

Nom De Plume

Roots Mastiha
Pedro Jimenez Sherry
Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
Punt e Mes
Orange Bitters

 

This is inspired by the classic low abv drink, The Adonis. Traditionally a simple Sherry and Vermouth drink with a little orange bitters. I’ve taken some liberties and made the drink a bit more complex but still approachable.The name of my drink is a reference to when my family came over from Russian in the early 1900s. Our last name was Romanov, no relation to but a gift from the czars for services rendered the story goes. Our first name change. A pseudonym. Coming into Ellis Island, we took another name as to not be associated with the recently executed royal family. Another pseudonym. It was important to try to fit into the new country and not bring to much attention to yourself with overly ethnic surnames. No matter what name I go by, I am still the great grandson of hard working, driven immigrants looking for a better life. I carry that spirit with me to this day as I work in the hospitality world. I hope you enjoy this drink as Adonis’s are my favorite aperitif. Cheers!
 

East Lee - Fig & Olive, NY

Greek White Russian

Roots Rakomelo
grappa
vanilla frozen yogurt
lemon peel

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What an adventure I had this past week when I found out about this competition. With the short time frame I went to Warehouse Wines & Spirits in NYC and purchased the Rakomelo (they were out of stock of Mastiha). So my fate was decided for me... I was to create a cocktail with Rakomelo! I love hot drinks like tsikoudia but I have a bit of a rebellious spirit so I wanted to create an after dinner digestif cocktail that would be surprisingly uplifting playing on the orange blossom honey, pomace grapes, and cinnamon in a fun delightful way.
What an adventure I had this past week when I found out about this competition. With the short time frame I went to Warehouse Wines & Spirits in NYC and purchased the Rakomelo (they were out of stock of Mastiha). So my fate was decided for me... I was to create a cocktail with Rakomelo! I love hot drinks like tsikoudia but I have a bit of a rebellious spirit so I wanted to create an after dinner digestif cocktail that would be surprisingly uplifting playing on the orange blossom honey, pomace grapes, and cinnamon in a fun delightful way.
What an adventure I had this past week when I found out about this competition. With the short time frame I went to Warehouse Wines & Spirits in NYC and purchased the Rakomelo (they were out of stock of Mastiha). So my fate was decided for me... I was to create a cocktail with Rakomelo! I love hot drinks like tsikoudia but I have a bit of a rebellious spirit so I wanted to create an after dinner digestif cocktail that would be surprisingly uplifting playing on the orange blossom honey, pomace grapes, and cinnamon in a fun delightful way.

I hope you enjoy this interpretation of 'white russian'.

Erika DiSantis - Pouring Ribbons, NY

ANEMONE
Roots Diktamo
Fino Sherry
Roots Kanela
Vermouth di Torino
Celery Bitters
Angostura Bitters
Orange Bitters
 

A riff on the low ABV classic the Adonis, Anemone is a cocktail born from the idea of transformation. Much like the mastiha resin from which Roots is distilled, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Mastiha being known famously as the “tears of Chios” I was reminded of the story of Adonis and my own journey of becoming who I am today. A mortal living among Gods, Adonis met a tragic death. As Aphrodite held dying Adonis in her arms, her tears mingled with his blood and transformed into anemone flowers. Fast forward to 2004… Young, gay, and ambitious, I was a small-town transplant immersed in the Queer underground culture of New York City. Embraced by a community that, time and time again, emerges from hardship and violent struggle to flourish and shine bright with love, I was able to plant my roots and grow into my authentic self. Mixing the intensely lush and earthy taste of Roots Kanela with the sweet herbaceous and velvety Roots Diktamo, Anemone is a surprisingly elegant cocktail with a long and complex finish. With a story of authenticity, originality and discovering your heritage, I am proud to present my cocktail Anemone for your consideration. Thank you!

Garcelle Menos - Las Lap, NY

25 Tons

Roots Rakomelo
Faran Olorosso Sherry
fresh squeezed lime juice
Coco Rico Coconut soda.

Hi there! In 1822 Jean- Pierre Boyer, then president of Haiti, responded to Greece's request for aid during their fight for freedom against the Ottoman empire. The Greek asked for manpower and finances, but because Haiti was in a financial hole, due to the massive debt placed on them from the French, Haiti was able to help using different means; they sent Adamantios Korais, then Governor of Greece, 25 tons of coffee to be sold to help purchase weapons for battle.

Coming from a Haitian background I found it important to highlight the connection to Haiti and Greece, by adding tropical ingredients to Roots Rakomelo. The connection is also of personal interest since my grandfather was Greek and imported stone and steel to Haiti in the early 1900s. 25 tons of coconut, 25 tons of steel, 25 tons of coffee, 25 tons of flavor!

Geoffrey Smith - On20, West Hartford, CT

 “Eleadic Stranger”

Roots Mastiha
Metaxa 12 Star
Harney and Sons honeyed Oolong pomegranate tea
Lemon Juice
Angostura bitters
 

My inspiration for my drink is several fold. Conceptually I wanted to take the idea of a historic New England punch and modernize it using Greek ingredients.
The name for my drink is the antogonist in Plato’s “the sophist”. The only character to ever debate Socrates to a draw. I majored in philosophy af Trinity College and learned the classics from one of the most highly regarded Plato scholars in academia. It forever changed my life’s trajectory. I chose Metaxa as part of the build because my bar manager at Towne in Boston had it on our opening drink menu. Messing around with that and other obscure brandies was my first foray into craft cocktail bartending. I hope you enjoy it. 

Jen LaForge - Blossom Bar, MA

Always Sunny

Roots Diktamo
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
Coco Lopez

When contemplating my roots in the most basic understanding of the word, I am immediately drawn to the idea of my origins and what behaviors and norms established early in life continue to influence me today. Childhood is the period that springs to mind when considering the pivotal moments that ground these behaviors in our minds. We revisit these moments constantly throughout life by indulging in the seductive experience of nostalgia. What more pervasive and rooted memories are there than those of food and drink? For me, the admittedly unhealthy, albeit unapologetically satisfying enjoyment of Sunny D is one experience that comes to mind when thinking of beverages that had a memorable impact in my youth. As an adult, my continued appreciation for the tart, tropical, and fruit forward persists in my career as a hospitality professional. I work at a tropical cocktail bar where bright, vibrant, and memorable flavors are at the forefront of the drinks I enjoy making. While Sunny D is not an active ingredient at my bar (nor is it in my personal beverage circulation) I strive to evoke from my bar guests feelings of nostalgia, comfort, and ease during their drinking experience, just as Sunny D did for me as a child. For my cocktail submission, I feel I have created a drink that embodies the ethos of the Roots brand: naturality, heritage, and simplicity. The ingredients are easily accessible and I hope will satisfy the desire for a simplistic and refreshing beverage that may touch a chord of nostalgia within those who drink it.
 

Linda Garcia - Blacktail, NY

Canela y Picante
Roots Tentura
freshly juiced peach
Top with ice & Westbrook brewing Co. Gose beer

This cocktail bring together the roots of Greece, my Latin American roots & NYC roots. Peaches are one of the major crops of Greece and can be used to make several desserts with allspiced flavors. Peach cobbler came to mind since I studied Baking & Pastry. I utilized the Gose beer to keep the cocktail as fine & simple as possible. The Gose in one ingredient adds salinity, acidity, & effervescence. The Ancho powdered rim adds a slight spiciness and represents my Latin roots, while the cinnamon powder brings out more of the flavor in the tentura. Cinnamon is found in Greek, American & Latin culture.
 

Rob Rugg-Hinds - The Eddy, NY

KISSAMOS SOUR

Roots Rakomelo
demerara sugar syrup
fresh lemon juice
 

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My riff on the classic New York Sour combines the fruitiness of a light red wine from upstate New York with the wonderful cinnamon and honey notes from the Roots Rakomelo.  This drink covers a lot of ground for me personally: I grew up in the Finger Lakes area, which is one of the major wine growing regions for us on the east coast, and I've since come to enjoy annual trips along the wine trails that hug those beautiful lakes.  Using those bright wines from near my home town is only part of my personal connection to what goes in to this drink.  My wife and I honeymooned on the island of Crete, and I've named the drink for the town there where we had Rakomelo for the first time, and why I immediately grabbed a bottle of Roots Rakomelo off the shelf the first time I saw it back here in the States.  I hope you enjoy.

Sam Treadway - Backbar in Union Sq. Somerville, MA

Private Moment

Roots Tentura
Privateer Amber Rum
Lustau oloroso sherry
Rinse of Alice and the Magician Tobacco Spray

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Stir the three equal parts and strain into a chilled glass rinsed with the tobacco spray

I got my bartending career started by going to bartending school when I was 18. I learned how to make cosmo’s, lemon drops, martini’s and a Negroni.
I loved that a Negroni was 3 equal parts because it was easy to remember. I had no idea what it tasted like because the bartending school just used colored water. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I actually tried one. Initially I thought it was gross. As my career has evolved I’ve learned to love the complex bitter taste of a Negroni, and my love of simple 3 ingredient cocktails has always remained.

This cocktail is inspired both by the equal parts of a Negroni but also the classic Dunlop cocktail from the Savoy Cocktail book. I’m replacing the dash of bitters with an ounce of Roots Tentura to create a more rich complex flavor.

This drink hints at all the decadent, luxurious enjoyments of a cigar without any lingering guilt or unpleasant smell. I imagine drinking this while finding a moment to yourself in a leather chair, perhaps in a nook or library, engulfed in reading a fantasy novel.

Sipping this cocktail brings me back to my simple roots as an 18 year old bartender, who was reading the Wheel of Time series instead of my college curriculum.

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