Ouzo is one of Greece’s most popular alcoholic drinks.  It is made from an exact blend of pressed grapes, herbs and berries.  Ouzo has the aroma of licorice and has a high alcohol content of approximately 40%.  It is normally served as an aperitif and used in many Greek recipes like seafood and desserts.

The production process is something very special and has been around for centuries.  It starts with a high strength spirit —very pure alcohol that is obtained by the distillation of agricultural products. The high degree of alcoholic purity means that this pure spirit is neutral so that is the reason why aromatics need to be added, and therein lies the art of ouzo production.  The producer selects a range of aromatic seeds and grains which are saturated in the alcohol in order to extract all the flavors that give ouzo its unique character.

There are two ways in drinking Ouzo.  First, sipping it on its own in a long skinny glass.  Second, adding ice and a little water.  When mixing Ouzo with ice and water form a precipitation and turn into a whitish cloudy color.

Tsipouro is another alcoholic drink that has become very popular. It means the remains of the grapes that have already been pressed.  Basically, it is made from the residue of the winepress. Tsipouro is a very strong distilled spirit has between 35%-45% alcohol per volume. 

According to Greek tradition, it is believed that the first production of Tsipouro was the creation of several Greek Orthodox monks during the 14th century on Mount Athos in Macedonia, Greece. Gradually, this idea of using the left over residue from the wine press was passed to different regions of Greece and thus, Tsipouro was born.

Tsipouro is also known as Raki or Souma.  On the island of Crete, a stronger flavor has been developed and it is called Tsikoudia.  It is normally served in a very cold shot glass at social gatherings and sometimes replaces coffee or wine.  Tsipouro goes great with appetizers, nuts, feta cheese, olives and desserts.