Thanos Prunarus is the owner of Baba au Rum, Athens. He makes two cocktails for us, one with Rum and Metaxa and the second with Amaro and Falernum.
Thanos introduce yourself
Hi my name is Thanos Prunarus. In the 90’s I went to the university in Crete to study touristic management. Then, I left Greece for London just for the pleasure of travelling and I started there a job as bartenders in a Brasserie in Covent Garden. After that, I moved to St James Park in a restaurant café. I decided after this experience to come back to Athens and work in a night cocktail bar. The guy asked for my experience and just the fact that I worked in London made me hired. I started quickly as a waiter before moving behind the bar. But as a waiter, you can really feel the pulse of the audience and the mood of the clients. Still very useful now, as in my own bar I manage to welcome people. I work in 3 or 4 different bars before I open Baba au Rum in 2009. The name is based on the French pastry Baba au Rhum, as we were a rum bar with 60 references which were unique in Athens at this time. It was the first cocktail bar with a strong concept and we’ve been popular since day one. In the beginning, we refused to make mojitos and proposed another cocktail to the client with the idea that if he doesn’t like it, we’ll make a mojito then. After one or two years, we didn’t have to say anymore no to mojitos.
The classic you want to show us
Style it takes
30ml of Metaxa 12
20ml of Aged Rhum Agricole
20ml of Italicus
10ml of Strega Liqueur
2 Dashes of Cherry Bitters
1 dash of Olive Bitters
The bar you dream of
The bar of my dream is not about design or a location. This bar will be the place when I am 80 years old, I walk there every day and see most of the customers are friends with whom I had a common history and we continue to share something all together. It’s about people, I like cosmopolitan bars where you have different kinds of people. A place full of energy and music.
What do you do in your time off
I read a lot, and I love fiction based on history. But I read everything, not only novels but political books or poetry too. Otherwise, I love to travel or just walk around the city here in Athens. I used to study photography and video art as well.
The spirit you like the most
We are in a rum bar, so of course, it’s rum I believe. Because you can drink rum for all seasons. What can be more inspirational than a nice daiquiri? The best with rum is the variety and different styles. You need deep knowledge to really understand the different type of rums. On my side, I love Jamaican rum like Worthy Park.
What makes a good cocktail
Balance and of course the knowledge and the soul of the bartender. So the knowledge is about the choice of ingredients but the soul is about the passion you put in the drink. So don’t stir and shake at the same time, focus on the drink you are doing. It’s about living the moment.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
Sugar. It’s not an ingredient that you use to make a drink sweet but to balance a drink. It gives the body too and structured the drink.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
40ml of Amaro Montenegro
10ml of Homemade Falernum
Top with Thomas Henry Cherry Blossom Tonic
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
You have to go to Madeira in Pukiki Bar to meet Maria Lopez. In Cuba go to visit Alejandro in Floridita Bar, maybe the most famous bartender in Cuba now.