A Guide to Greek Spirits

Greece has a rich history in wine production and wine drinking but also in spirits. The spirits of Greece have their own unique character and aroma. Drinking alcoholic beverages has a symposium-like and festive quality abundant at celebrations in Greece, especially on name days, birthdays, holidays, weddings, gatherings, graduations and christenings.

In our blog, we will go into detail about the best Greek spirits, some we are sure you have heard of! Read on below to learn more about each spirit.

Ouzo

As one of the most famous and well known Greek alcoholic beverages, ouzo is a drink that reminds most people of warm days by the sea. It is traditionally produced in copper stills, where alcohol is mixed with water, aniseed, and other herbs and spices like fennel, cloves, and coriander.

In order for a beverage to be considered an ouzo at least 20% of the alcoholic content must be flavoured by distillation. The end product is a dry, aniseed flavoured spirit that is great as an aperitif. When water or ice is added to it, the anise makes it turn a cloudy white colour, which is how most people know it.

Tsipouro

Tsipouro is a popular grape-distilled spirit made pure or scented with anise.  It’s a potent spirit with up to 45% alcohol by volume, made 100% from grape pomace.

Plain tsipouro is best appreciated well-chilled and neat, served in shot glasses. It is enjoyed as a welcoming drink and typically accompanies Greek meze. In Crete, a similar drink with a stronger aroma goes under the name tsikoudia.

Metaxa

You’ve probably seen this iconic bottle and not known what it is! The most well known Greek brandy, Metaxa, is a combination of Muscat grapes, found on the island of Samos, and a secret blend of botanicals.

It is a brandy that’s made by distilling wine made from three Greek grape varieties: Savatiano, Sultanina, and Black Corinth grapes, also known as Korinthiakos. This is blended with sweet Muscat wines from Samos, and the result is aged in French Limousin oak casks. The aged spirit is then infused with Mediterranean botanicals and rose petals, and put back into barrels for another year.

Rakomelo

Crete is where you would find this wonderfully spicy spirit. The word is the combination of raki (Cretan tsikoudia) and meli (honey).  Flavoured with honey, cinnamon, clove and cardamom, this soothing wintery liquor claims to have been invented in the 12th Century.

This is a drink that is usually served warm, similarly to mulled wine with it’s spices but it also has Greece’s favourite sweetener: honey. It is often considered a home remedy for a sore throat, a small shot consumed in the evening.

Koukouzina

Hailing from Nisyros, koukouzina is a traditional spirit that’s been distilled from grapes and figs. This alcoholic beverage is typically produced at old local distilleries called kazanari, and the preparation process follows the age-old traditional methods that have been handed down for generations.

The flavour is similar to that of Greek raki and the alcohol content usually ranges from 42% to 43%. A carafe of koukouzina is commonly served as an accompaniment to a variety of local specialties, including chickpea fritters with skordalia.

 

The Greek Deli

Visit our dedicated e-shop and check out our plethora of delicious Greek food items.  Available both for cooking as well as immediate consumption. The Greek Deli stocks artisanal products, including Greek juices, tsoureki, egg dyes, olive oils, wines, cheeses,  and mezedes. In addition, ready meals (such as pastitsio and gemista), sweets (such as baklava and kourabiedes), and Greek coffee (Loumidis) can be found in our online shop. We even stock beloved Greek chocolates and cookies. Furthermore, brands such as LactaIonSokofreta, and Gemista cookies, as well as an impressive selection of Greek wines. You can purchase and customise our unique Greek gift boxes, with your favourite products or pre-made. One box includes extra virgin olive oil, two bottles of wine and two jars of olive paste. Along with roasted peppers, honey, chilies, and balsamic vinegar. Perfect for sending the best of Greek tastes to a distant beloved!).

Accompanied by the very best of what Greek nature has to offer. We find our way into your homes and into your hearts. The Greek Deli has maximized our efforts so our deliveries are swift and provided in a safe and hygienic manner!

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