Tuesday, 20 March 2012


VIVA! is a new latin american tapas and cocktail bar, which opened in london's dalston on stoke newington road two weeks ago!

it's warm and fun and colourful and modestly simple and delicious and substantial! vibe full of love and camaraderie and a family effort! of the surrogate multi national/ cultural kind!

it was a flower shop before and the reason, my good friend got involved in making the kitchen and the concept happened, after she happened to pass by on her way home and asking to take some flowers for her house and pop up dinners...

i got a phonecall from her virtually ten days before the place opened and the next day, i attended the meeting, including me liaising with the owner, being asked to put a cocktail list together, price it, train staff and help behind the bar...

of course i said yes! new opportunities with potential are always welcome and some days ago, i had just shut a futile door...

i went away after an enthusiastic talk and me promoting myself and thinking as seeing around me and talking, incessantly; my head, full of ideas!

i got to work
i researched
i thought
i sipped wine
i moved to the music, as i was working in a public place
i wrote down
i invented

and the VIVA! cocktail list was born... 
i kept the classics, adding caramel in the perfect manhattans, pisco in the sours and pickled onions in the martinis...
i made a list of house cocktails, with names to compliment the space and the food, such as mulatta and pina colada primavera and i dedicated a cocktail to my good friend, with coconut water and vodka and calling it elixir with her name before it!
i concluded with a respectful variation of tequila cocktails, including a deluxe margarita, made with orange juice and grand marnier, as well as a small list of non alcoholic cocktails, where frida's garden has become a hit, with or without gin!

s o  m u c h  f u n!

the launch was a super success, where i worked hard and continuously, making sure the drinks were done fast and well and everyone was happy!

i had a fantastic time, seeing my work materialising and gulped down, as well as having my favourite people attending and devouring the liquids with a loyal and passionate delight; from london and somewhere else... in europe; after all, the love and the quality are here, in london, our home!

i took my polka dot tie, my sticky bracelets and my delicious company somewhere else to end the evening/ morning in splendid decadence... sweet!

many thanks to cristine, volkan, eddie, suheyla, benjamin, ludo, christina, georgie, ruben, jessie and doug (DHD) for contributing to this wondrous experience... wishing all the success! 

see you all at VIVA! for an el diablo and a quesadilla! it has caramelised onion in it! sexy yumminess!
the place has been busy ever since...

food by cristine leone
drinks by stav B
menu design by DHD

Monday, 19 March 2012

jameson irish whiskey

last wednesday, i drove to rural hounslow and parked at space 95, at the back of continental hotel, as arranged...
i was invited to pernod ricard offices, to do a presentation with jameson irish whiskey: to make a drink, talk about it and about the liquid, why i am using it, etc... by the brand's representative, who 'discovered' me at my ex job's bar, where i greeted her and knocked her up a smokey rusty nail, which she adored... on her second visit, she brought me a red breast pot still delight, which i used to mix the ever delicious blood and sand. which i normally add to my valentine's list of delights (rodolfo valentino/ blood and sand premier, 1922) get it? with martini rosso, cherry brandy, orange juice and the whiskey... divine!

as well as the special reserve jameson's, which i made a creamy sour with and earned as a gift for the age of aquarius pop up! (see post 28 feb)

i turned up and on time in white tie and very excited: being recognised for one's talents is a given and in the hub of professional niche, but i know i belonged there deservedly and of course, i was... myself!

i decided to make a perfect caramel manhattan, my way, stirred and not shaken with a subtle amount of gorgeous caramel sirop, to simply compliment the classic...
i introduced myself and spoke of how jameson reflects ireland's history via the war, the famine, prohibition, imperialism, blocked customs and diversity of methodology and has survived spectacularly, like the country with beauty, substance and diversity: 12 yr/ 18yr, etc... and how the americas and the commonwealth countries, especially south africa adore it!

perfect and fabulous job and deep thanks is what i received and the drink: spot on, as always!

very pleased indeed and more to come, as i have been invited to host unruly media summer party for the third time... to be continued...

many thanks to deirdra, radu, evgenia and ed for the invitation and hospitality.