Move over Tom Cruise! Meet the celebrated bartender with a passion for cocktails who will be mixing your drinks at Abaton Island resort & spa this summer.
1 He’s passionate about his work
According to a study by researchers at the University of Maryland, food prepared with passion has been proved to taste better - in a recent interview top French chef and TV personality Eric Rippert also stated that when food is ‘prepared with love’, the people who eat (or drink) the results ‘can really feel it’.
Abaton Island’s barman Georgios Dendrakis, who’s always been a lover of fine things, started making cocktails more than a decade ago. “My passion for bartending and cocktails started as a hobby 10 years ago. Immediately I realised that there was a lot more to it. My fascination with the world of cocktails turned into a professional interest and I went to study at the world-renowned Shaker Bar School in London,” Abaton’s cocktail craftsman explains. “There at the metropolis of cocktails - and through the vast information and knowledge that I acquired - my passion was transformed into a lifelong love and a desire to constantly learn more,“ Dendrakis adds.
2 He makes the best cocktails in Greece
Since falling head-over-heels for the world’s best-loved aperitif, Abaton Island’s square-shouldered barman has won awards in some of the globe’s most prestigious cocktail-making competitions. Most impressive wins include taking first place in Greece’s celebrated Dipomatico World Tournament in 2015, and winning second place in the Greek Worldclass Bartender of the Year Awards in 2019 (just behind winner Nick Skourbatis of Athens A-list bar The Clumsies) for a sumptuous cocktail made with Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky, smoked-apple fermented soda, labdanum tincture and essence of dittany, an endemic plant from his native island of Crete.
With more than 20 world-renowned cocktail-making competitions under his belt, it’s official - Abaton Island’s barman Georgios Dendrakis really is one of the country’s best mixologists!
3 He travels the world to bring you the best flavours
Dendrakis, who is from Crete’s capital town, Heraklion, constantly scours the planet to bring back the complex savours and subtle flavours that characterize his award-winning cocktails. “Even after I was a qualified graduate from London’s Shaker Bar School, I continued attending seminars all over the world,” the bartender enthuses. “Amongst the most important ones were New Orleans Tales of the Cocktails an annual trade conference, festival, and gathering of cocktail and spirits industry professionals in New Orleans, and similar seminars held in Berlin and Paris,” he adds.
4 He’s a master of mixology
Since graduating from London’s prestigious Shaker Bar School, Dendrakis has been guest bartender at some of the world’s top cocktail venues. Celebrated watering holes where the drinks master has worked his magic include Rome’s Jerry Thomas Speakeasy - ranked as one of the world’s best bars in the prestigious World's 50 Best Bars list for 2019 and The Clumsies, an iconic Athens bar which has consistently ranked in the list’s top ten since opening in 2012.
5 He’s a huge fan of rum - and nostalgia
“I’ve always loved rum - preferably Jamaican or Cuban, but I also love bitter drinks, especially Negroni,” says the luxury resort’s award-winning cocktail crafter. “But the drinks that really remind me of my home in Crete, when I’m travelling in far off lands, are my mothers homemade lemonade and our local Cretan mountain tea,” he adds.
6 He’s set to thrill your taste buds in 2021 with some exciting new tastes
The Bitter Project is just one of the exciting new concepts that top barman Dendrakis will craft exclusively for guests of the Cretan luxury beachside resort this summer. “The goal is to present deconstructed recipes of famous drinks and present them in parallel with the history of the recipe,” Dendrakis explains. “In this way Abaton Island’s guests will have the thrill of sampling some tasty blends, whilst learn all about the spirits that were used to create them. This tasting session will be held in the cosy cigar lounge of Buddha Bar Beach, along with meze snacks created by our celebrated chef Zinon Christofidis,” he adds.
What is The Bitter Project?
One of the thrilling historical highlights of this cocktail project, which will be offered exclusively to Abaton’s guests, is Dendrakis’ subtle take on The Boulevardier, a bourbon whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters blend that was invented in Paris in 1927 by American-born writer Erskine Gwynne, who named the spicy cocktail after the magazine that he edited.
Another not-to-miss cocktail is Dendrakis’ spectacularly sippable Abaton Negroni, made with the addition of local Cretan carob. “The carob harmonizes with the bitters and leaves a wonderful chocolaty aftertaste on your palate,” the barman explains.
Abaton Island’s barman shares three of his favourite things
What is your favourite barman book?
“Liquid intelligence, by David Arnold”.
For which celebrity would you most love to make a cocktail?
“Definitely Steve Jobs”.
With which bartender would you most like to work and why?
“With Ago Perrone - he is a master mixologist at London’s famous Connaught Bar and I love his style.”
Cut out and keep: Georgios Dendrakis’ Estrella cocktail recipe
You will need:
- 20ml Liqueur 43
- 10ml Dinapoja rose and carnation syrup
- 30ml sweet white vermouth
- 30ml fresh pomegranate juice
- 25ml fresh lemon juice
Combine the ingredients with ice and blend in a cocktail shaker. Serve in a chilled wine glass garnished with a slice of lime.