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When I learned how to make zivania with Kalamos Winery a few weeks ago, I came away thinking – wow this is an amazing local Cypriot drink, but way too strong for me to drink just on its own. Why don’t people drink more of this stuff? Well, probably because they might pass out from alcohol poisoning.

Zivania is about 45% alcohol. But it is more than just alcohol. It has flavour, and it is a locally produced drink so I think it SHOULD be enjoyed more than just “straight up”.  Personally, I just don’t enjoy drinks “straight up”, unless it’s Baileys. But if there was a different way to drink “zivania”, I think I would.

I thought about trying to come up with one, but my cocktail skills peaked at the age of 10 with my “shirley temple” cocktail. Basic recipes I can do, but an award winning cocktail that incorporates zivania called “Surprise Me”? For that I had to look elsewhere. Enter: Sotiris Savvides, co-owner of the excellent gastro-pub (in)Theory Bar in Saripolou Square, Limassol, and an award winning mixologist. For those of you who haven’t been to (in)Theory you should definitely visit. The cocktails are fantastic – and you can sense that it’s not just about making drinks at (in)Theory, but that there is a real passion driving them to create beautiful cocktails. In fact, Sotiris’ latest cocktail has won him a place in the regional finals for the Bacardi Legacy Competition. Bravo, Mr. Savvides. And it’s not just about the drinks, the food is delicious as well. It’s clear that they love what they do at (in)Theory.

See below for the recipe and “Questions & Answer” with Sotiris Savvides.

Thank You Sotiris!

Note: Copyright of the recipe belongs to Sotiris Savvides. All rights are reserved.

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“Surprise Me” by Sotiris Savvides (Zivania Cocktail Recipe)

2cl Zivania
4cl Rose wine
2cl Passion fruit homemade syrup
2cl Green apple homemade syrup
1 fresh passion fruit
Pinch of cinnamon powder

Question & Answer with Sotiris Savvides

1. At What Age Did You Start Learning About Mixology?

In my early 20s.

2. What Do You Enjoy Most About Mixology?

Of course a balanced result is always something to look forward to, but the most fun part is trial and error. Getting to prepare my own bitters, syrups, incorporating the various aromatic herbs into my cocktails and finally the way they all come together.

3. The Food At (in)Theory is fantastic. Is There A Particular Cuisine That Inspires You?

The Mediterranean cuisine which is what I grew up with. Most of my recipes are based on things that my grandmother taught me in her kitchen with a twist and a gourmet touch.

4. Tell Us A Bit About Your Zivania Cocktail “Surprise Me” And Your New Cocktail “El Caminhio”?

“Surprise Me” is a cocktail I created in 2011 for the first cocktail competition in Cyprus that asked of participants to create a cocktail with local wines and spirits. I was intrigued by this challenge and found it a good opportunity to promote local products. “Surprise Me” won first place and in 2012 I won the same competition again with my cocktail “The Original”. The “El Caminhio” is my latest creation which won me a place in the regional finals for the Bacardi Legacy Competition. In Spanish, “El Caminhio” means the way or path. My “El Caminhio” reflects my own journey in life but with a twist.

5. We Love The Fact That You Incorporate A Lot Of The Local Cypriot Flavours Into Your Cocktails And Food. Which Other Local Drinks Have You Incorporated In Cocktails?

Locally produced wines, coumandaria.

6. Do You Have A Favorite Cypriot Food?

Koupepyia.