Words by: Simon Difford
I spend a lot of time in bars around the world and notice trends and new products, particularly when a product dominates a city and a cocktail made with that product is flying across bar counters. During 2015, I witnessed this more than ever during several trips to Athens. Now the product I discovered in Athens is here in the UK – I liked it so much that we’ve imported it ourselves.
In November 2015 we launched a Greek version of this website so over the preceding year or so, I regularly visited our fabulous Greek partners, Denny and Eleni, to discuss plans for our Greek site. This obviously entailed numerous nights enjoying the vibrant Athens' bar scene where I noticed every bar was using the same brand of tonic water, soda water and pink grapefruit soda - the grapefruit soda being particularly popular in Paloma cocktails which seemed the rage across the city. The brand being Three Cents.
Denny and Eleni explained that Three Cents sodas had been developed and were owned by three Athens bartenders: George Bagos, George Tsirikos and Dimitris Dafopoulos and their friend Vasilis Kalatzis. Soon after I saw the partners serving their sodas at the Athens Bar Show. From then I noticed Three Cents even more. To the extent that one day I was standing in an Athens liquor store looking at Greek spirits, and not only did I see a fridge packed with Three Cents, put while I was there a delivery of cases of Three Cents was wheeled into the shop.
Then a mixed case of Three Cents sodas was sent to me in London. I tried them, reviewed them for Difford's Guide and made a simple Paloma Cocktail - two shots blanco tequila and a couple of squeezes (¼ shot) lime juice, topped up with Three Cents Grapefruit Soda. The result is brilliantly refreshing.
During a further trip to Athens, George Bagos told me that they were looking for a UK distributor for Three Cents. After a coffee with the partners in the sun outside Odori I ended up shipping the first pallets of Three Cents Grapefruit Soda to the UK. So if you want to buy some cases for your bar and try a Three Cents Paloma for yourself then please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit any Be At One bar and ask for a "Three Cents Grapefruit Paloma".
That's my side of the Three Cents story but more interesting is George's tale of how he and his three friends created and launched Three Cents (click here to read).
The following cocktails are demonstrated by Dimitris Dafopoulos, George Bagos, George Tsirikos from Three Cents, and our own Paloma Alos.