Kernel Mahlepi Spirit


We continue with great excitement to present you new and interesting products. This time we will refer to a Greek product, made with love and mastery, as the managers are two guys who have been in the bartending scene for years, Kernel from Pony & Jigger. Yiannis-Petros Petris and Vassilis Roussos are the founders of Pony & Jigger, the newly founded beverage production company with a Mediterranean temperament and taste.

As characteristically, Yiannis Petros Petris said in the past: “The best of ideas are coming during work, at the time you are behind the bar”. That’s how the idea of “Pony & Jigger” came about, during a shift at the Tiki bar, together with the company’s co-founder and also an experienced bartender Vassilis Roussos. Their aim is to create a company, which will redefine Greek spirits and bring to the front those that were left on the sidelines for a long time. The name of the company is inspired by the, perhaps most beloved, certainly most useful, tool for bartenders, the Jigger. “Pony” and “Jigger” are units of liquid measurement in bar terminology, the small (Pony) equals to 30ml and the large (Jigger) equals to 45ml.

For the first time, liqueurs although necessary for the preparation of most well-known and classic cocktails, they were on the sidelines, hidden in the back seats of the bars, come out to the front and dress up with the anti-heroes from sideshows on their labels. So, Macho Sour Apple, Daisy Triple Sec and the innovative Kernel Mahlepi Spirit were created.

The taste of mahlepi is known to us Greeks, mainly from its use in sweet preparations, such as tsoureki. It is the aromatic spice produced from the seeds of prunus mahleb, a type of cherry, which is often found as stone cherry or mahaleb cherry. To make machleb, the cherry seeds are cracked to extract the seed core, kernel. The French refer to it as the “Sainte Lucie cherry” because these trees grew near the Franciscan monastery of Saint Lucia in the Bosque mountains.

The Kernel, the core or the pith of the fruit, which Pony & Jigger also uses for the preparation of its own world-first machlepi liqueur, is not a simple affair as far as the process for its production is concerned. After 2,5 years of preparation, testing and paperwork, the result is in a bottle and this in our hands. Its bottle is transparent, with a long thin neck, easy to use and also to place on the bar shelves. Don’t forget that it is made by bartenders for bartenders with the aim of making their work easier. At Kernel bottle, the bright yellow color of the label and the wax that seals the cap of it, it definitely arouses our eye and curiosity. The “waves” of the sea bring to the fore the mermaid which we see “emerging” through the bottle in a very different approach to the label.

Our experience in the glass is also excellent. Transparent and with a complex, exciting and strong smell dominated by natural aromas, from machlep, tahini, but also biscuit, along with some notes of mastic and cinnamon, bringing back memories of our childhood in bakeries or at festive tables. Along with these, however, we also detect exotic scents of flowers, jasmine and white rose.

In the mouth is foul bodied, and the 30% abv are not aggressive. It is sweet and slightly sour. The taste of mahlep dominates and notes of citrus like orange are evident along with cinnamon and other herbs which are also noticeable. Medium length aftertaste, sweet, sour and peppery.

The Kernel by Pony & Jigger is a proposal for every season. It can be consumed neat or with a piece of ice as digestive at the end of a dinner, in cocktails with a Mediterranean or tiki character but also in twists of classic cocktails such as a Negroni Greco or a Kernel Sour. Lastly the particular spirit is an ideal partner for food pairings. Some suggestions of sweet combinations can be: tsoureki, ravani, almond cake, orange pie and other pan sweets, common in Greece, try them!

The design of all the products is signed by Manos Tzavolakis and evades from repetitive patterns and the classic folk style sun, sea, tsolliades and monuments. The product is sold in a 700ml bottle at a cost of approximately €25,50.

Category: Liqueur | Mahlep liqueur
Origin: Greece
First production: 2022
Producer: Pony & Jigger
Alcohol: 30% abv
Price (GR): ≈€25,00

Πρώτη δημοσίευση: Beer & Bar Magazine, issue 17 (buy issue)

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