Hitch Hicker’s Guide to the Galaxy
And so the nightly schedule continues. The day was exhausting, but there are still a few bars on the list. The original goal is “The Clumsies”, but that place is way too crowded for my taste. Instead, I move on to Bar 42, the bar holding the answer to all questions. I’d already had a hunch about the bar’s name that was confirmed: the book was sitting on the bar, along with some other crazy stuff on the shelves. The bar itself is a classic bar with wood paneling where one might imagine a piano player. The motley menu and the reference to the book, however, breaks up this ambience. I liked the bartender right from the start, as he gave me some humorous replies. I followed the menu’s advice to ask the bartender in case there’s nothing of interest on the menu. He asked me if I preferred mountains or the sea, and whether I preferred summer over winter. I chose sun and fall and got rum, port wine, house made ginger syrup and a little lime. While I had classic glasses during the day, these were fancier ones: a generous glass of water to accompany the drink, decoration, straws and munchies. I continued chatting with the bartender while watching him prepare hot chocolate in large mugs, topping them with orange zest and coffee. I really like the fact that every bar here seems to also call a quality coffee maker their own, serving coffee all night just as professionally as their alcoholic beverages.
I continued with the “Ultima Forsan“, a twist on a Bloody Mary with kimchi and strawberries. The drink arrived in a huge mug along with some chalk to decorate it. Really fun and entertaining. Bartenders shouldn’t take themselves too seriously, which seems to be the motto here – I like it a lot.
The experienced reader may have noticed that I’ve deviated a bit from my usual drinking habits. But then who wants to eat falafel, pita bread and souvlaki every day? And so I asked the bartender (whose name, according to his shirt, is Marvin, and who used to work at the Baba Au Rum) for a good restaurant recommendation, as I’d managed to eat the worst burger in town yesterday – according to Marvin the worst burger in the world…. but at least he gifted me a copy of the new menu.
On that menu I noticed the ingredient Mastiha. I first suspected this to be a spirit, but it is actually a distillate made from tree gum. I was offered a taste, and it was sweet with a hint of menthol and barely any alcohol flavor. The mastix tree apparently only grows in Greece, and harvesting the tree gum is quite elaborate. Following the distillation process a little sugar is added, and the alcohol content is around 30 % AbV. So far the information as I understood it, without any further research.
After the tomato juice drink I got pretty hungry and went on my way to the recommended restaurant. Athens is a really walkable city, and so just a few minutes later, I was sitting on another barstool in a small restaurant, spooning a soup followed by a gigantic lentil salad – I needed some protein. A great culinary experience, but I got incredibly tired. And so I passed the Baba Au Rum and went straight to my hotel room in order to take a quick break.