Greek Ouzo

Greek Ouzo

Greek Ouzo is, quite simply, one of the finest drinks on earth, a hidden gem produced in over 180 distilleries across Greece. Most people have heard of Greek Ouzo, and may even have tried it whilst on vacation, but few realise the subtle complexities and variations that define the national drink of Greece.

Greek Ouzo is more than a beverage: To the Greeks it is a symbol of their national pride and fierce independence, much like the symbolism behind Scottish whisky or the French love affair with wine. Greek Ouzo, relatively speaking, is a fairly young drink, but its predecessor Tsiporou has existed for as long as the art of distilling.

The History of Greek Ouzo

The origins of this anise-flavoured spirit are unclear, but it is suspected that Greek Ouzo is a descendent of Tsiporou, a spirit distilled from the left-over mash after winemaking. It is commonly believed that the drink evolved in Mount Athos, a peninsula of Greece that is home to a large number of Greek Orthodox monasteries. This peninsula was famed for the quality of its Tsiporou, and the variant flavoured with anise became known as Ouzo.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/heatheronhertravels/2975793796/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/heatheronhertravels/2975793796/

Whatever the origin, the art has been refined over time, and a huge number of distilleries across Greece make their own version, each one subtly different from the rest. The recipes responsible for this diversity of tastes are jealously guarded, passed down through the family as valued heirlooms.

The Ouzo making industry exploded in the 19th century, after Greece threw off the shackles of Ottoman rule and fought for independence. Greek Ouzo became a symbol of Greece, and the distillers refined their art, influenced by the strong Russian presence in the region.

What Gives Greek Ouzo Its Flavour

The one component linking all Greek Ouzo is anise, which gives it the distinctive aniseed taste. The oils extracted from the anise also emulsify in water, causing Ouzo to turn white and opaque when water is added. The variation in the flavours across the more than 400 brands is due partly to the water in the local area, but also the blend of herbs and spices used. Greece, whilst a small country, has a number of geographically distinct locations, each possessing its own discrete ecosystem and herbs. Some of the ingredients that give Greek Ouzo its distinct flavour, apart from the anise, are; cloves, cinnamon, coriander, mace, star anise, fennel, salt, mastic from the island of Chios (Cioς), mint, liquorice, fennel, wintergreen, hazelnut, angelica root, cinnamon, lime blossom and a host of other secret ingredients


Regional Greek Ouzo

Lesbos (Lesboς), also called Mytilini (Mutilhnh), is regarded as the home of the finest Ouzo, and is home to such leading brands as BarbaYanni (Barbagianni) and Plomari (Plwmari). Lesbos claims to be the inventor of Ouzo, which is highly disputed, but there is no doubt that the island of Sappho produces the finest and smoothest drink. Here, the best aniseed is grown, and the flavoursome seeds are separated from the rest of the plant by hand and stored under carefully controlled conditions.

http://wikitravel.org/en/Image:Ouzo_Theiko18v.JPG
http://wikitravel.org/en/Image:Ouzo_Theiko18v.JPG

Greek Ouzo Production

Whatever the type of Ouzo, it all begins life as 96% alcohol by volume (ABV) distillate from an agricultural source, usually from wine or raisins, distilled in copper stills. It must have at least 0.05% of added antheole, a natural essential oil derived from anise, giving it a unique flavour, and the other herbs, spices and flavourings are added. This flavoured alcohol is known as Ouzo yeast, (Magia Ouzou / Magia Ouzou),although there is actually no yeast or fermentation of the product. Some producers then add ethyl alcohol from other sources to this mix, and add water to ensure that the entire drink is at least 37.5% ABV. Greek law stipulates that Ouzo only needs to have 20% of the final alcohol derived from the Ouzo yeast, but the finest brands do not add anything other than a little sugar, and the difference in taste is easily apparent, smooth and refined. Of course, the purest Greek Ouzo’s are more expensive, but the extra price is worth paying.

The beauty of Ouzo is that it does not require multiple distillations, although the best producers do use a process of distillation and refining. BarbaYanni, for example, triple distils the initial ethanol, concentrating the intensity of the flavour. After the first distillation, only the middle fraction is retained and this is distilled twice more, slowly and carefully.

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/150185
http://www.sxc.hu/photo/150185

How to Drink Greek Ouzo

Ouzo can be drunk neat, although the Greeks believe that this is the height of insanity and they always add water and ice. Likewise, some non-Greeks may have encountered the fashion of mixing orange juice or cola in their Ouzo, a huge faux-pas and breach of Greek Ouzo etiquette in a Greek taverna. Ouzo is best drunk as an aperitif, slowly sipped with seafood mezedes or grilled octopus. The idea is to keep topping the Ouzo up with water and savour over the course of a long and lazy afternoon in the sun. Of course, the best part of the Ouzo experience is the company, and the drink loosens the tongue and acts as a catalyst for a relaxed conversation.

To enjoy the perfect Greek Ouzo, pour two fingers into a glass and add a little water, before plunking 3 ice cubes. Never add the ice before the water, because this will make the Ouzo crystallize and look ‘stringy’ rather than opaque.

Greek Ouzo - The Medicine

Amongst Greeks, Ouzo is called the medicine - To Farmako - because it is believed to convey many medicinal benefits. Of course, it is an excuse used by Greek men to enjoy a drink without getting into much trouble with their wife, usually to no avail.


Some Greek Ouzo Brands

BarbaYanni is by far the finest commercial Ouzo in Greece, combining smoothness and liquorice sweetness with a wonderful spicy warmth and a final exhilarating kick. The blue label is the standard type, at 40%, but 42% green label is wonderful stuff. If you can find it, the Aphrodite brand is 48% of slow and delightful stupor.

Plomari Ouzo is rapidly becoming a market leader in Greece, using a triple distillation process and a unique blend of herbs. The resulting Ouzo is light and sweet, with a wonderful bitterness from the fennel. The website has a great section about the sacred Greek code for drinking Ouzo.

12 Ouzo (Dodeca / Dwdeka) is an Ouzo that you either love or you hate, and is the world’s bestselling brand. It is designed much more with the tourist market in mind than the other Ouzos, and is much sweeter. Personally, I prefer BarbaYanni or Plomari, but 12 is certainly a nice drink and it is widely available worldwide.

79 comments

Iconoclast profile image

Iconoclast 7 years ago from Chicago, IL

Ouzo, I remember it from my time in Europe. As an American barbarian though, especially having been military at the time, my friends and I always drank it neat, usually as a shot, often a double. Great after a plate of calamari and scallops.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks, Iconoclast!

Glad that you have had the authentic Ouzo experience - as you said, perfect with seafood. I do drink it neat on occasion, but only with good quality Ouzo - some of the low budget stuff is real paint-stripper!


pgrundy 7 years ago

I worked in a garden center for five years that was owned by a Greek father and son, and sometimes after a long day they would do shots of Ouzo. They fed us too. The deal was, if we stayed on site for lunch they'd feed us and pay us for the lunch period, but if we left, it was on our own time. Of course NO ONE left. lol! Great hub, thanks. Fond memories.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks for dropping by, Pam - we all seem to pass like ships in the night with the Challenge and all!

That sounds normal - Greeks see it as an honour if you choose to eat with them. Must have been a blast working for them, especially after a few glasses of Ouzo.


pgrundy 7 years ago

I know, this challenge, I have mixed feelings about it. I'm busy all the time, I have so little time to read and chat, I'm getting a bit obsessive, and I'm not convinced it's a useful exercise. That said, I committed to it and I'm doing it. We'll see.

Actually I think working for Greeks, or least Greek-Americans, is a drama all its own--up and down, good and bad. I've thought of writing about it, but I don't want to come off like a big fat racist, although maybe I am. Maybe I should just face it. The thing is, the people here I know who have worked for Greeks are always like, "You worked for Greeks? For more than a week? What are you, made of iron?" They have a rep for working you half to death and screaming the whole time, but you know, I loved that job, I did. And I loved them too. They were real people, and how can you not love people who feed you wonderful things?

It's a kind of a feather in a person's cap here. "I worked for Greeks and lived." Like a tattoo. lol!


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

There's a particular brand they sell here in the states, at least used to, I don't know I haven't bought in a long time, that is labeled with stars. The more stars the better. Metaxa? Is that it? I'm not sure. My dad would put a drop on his finger and use it as Orajel when I was teething.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Pam - Yup, although I am only going for the 30. It is about time that I wrote a few more Hubs, so it is a good incentive.

You should write the Hub about the Greeks - they know how to laugh at themselves. 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' was a hit over here, mainly because it is true - ask Frieda! Greeks are honest - they do like to shout, but you learn to shout back.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Freida - Not sure about that one - I think that Metaxa are involved with Ouzo, but they are better known for their brandy. It goes up to five stars (or sometimes seven), and is wonderfully smooth. I will check that out for you!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I've had Ouzo a couple of times in Greece (well diluted) and thought it was rather nice.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

It certainly is a fine drink, and adding water makes sure that you do not overdo it!


\Brenda Scully 7 years ago

It's great to get to learn about different parts of the world, I have never been to Greece, loved the film,you just mentioned. Would the father in that be stereo typical then.........


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks for the kind words, Brenda - Greece is certainly worth visiting, when you have the chance.

The father is pretty stereotypical, but I know so many Greek men who are like that and proud. It is a bit of a generational thing, and Greece is changing very quickly.


Raven King profile image

Raven King 7 years ago from Cabin Fever

Tasty and informative. Mmmmm grilled octopus, great idea.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks, Raven King.

Glad that you enjoyed the Hub!


Colebabie profile image

Colebabie 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

Mmm Ouzo, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :)


Jewels profile image

Jewels 7 years ago from Australia

Cheers Sufi. Next time I smell ouzo I'll think of you.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks, Colebabie - that certainly is a nice side-effect. :)

Cheers, Jewels - Relax and enjoy!


Janetta 7 years ago

I tried ouzo in high school. One of my best friends is Greek and his family loves the stuff. It tasted like black licorice. Good hub. :)


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks for the visit, Janetta. It certainly is nice stuff, and really is the lifeblood of Greece.


Ron Montgomery profile image

Ron Montgomery 7 years ago

You are doing a real service to a highly misunderstood and underappreciated beverage. I'm going to write about my own beverage of choice - tequila. Is absinthe, (Hemingway's favorite apertif) popular in your part of the world? It has recently been re-introduced in the U.S. after being illegal for decades. I'm curious as to whether anyone out there has tried it.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks, Ron.

Ouzo certainly is a great drink, and I like it a lot. I have tried absinthe, and it is a very pleasant drink - certainly clears the head! Ouzo, by contrast, makes you smile :)

Looking forward to the tequila Hub - I like it, but I don't think that I have ever had the authentic stuff.


Ron Montgomery profile image

Ron Montgomery 7 years ago

That's the important point. Many people who have tried tequila have had one of the cheap brands, indulged too heavily, and had bad memories.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

That is true, Ron - we have the same problem with Ouzo. The stuff that they export has a lot of sugar added, which kills the flavour and causes a bad head.

Any advice on finding good tequila would be appreciated!


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

aha so this is the drink responsible for holding you up on your journeys LMAO. I actually make most spirits myself, am not just a pretty face lol. I distill bourbon, rum, vodka, ouzo, tequilla, everything you can think of, I have 40 litres of alchohol sitting down in my basement fermenting, they are covered with two of my coats to keep them warm. Just make them for all my friends and their friends. It makes up for my errr....absence in the kitchen.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

It certainly is good stuff.

I knew that you were far more than a pretty face! Your little distilliery sounds great - making your own alcohol is always the best. We hope to distill some raki in the autumn - Happy Days!

Don't worry about the kitchen absence - a true man will do the cooking for you ;)


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

You must really like your poison of choice. Hmm... can you emal me a bottle? :D


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

No worries, Cris - a virtual bottle will be on its way over in a short while. Shame that it is not the real thing!


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

And you had to finish with that sentence! Hmf!

It's the first time I've heard of it and I might go asking about it the next time I go to a greek/mediterranean restaurant. Honestly the only Greek food I know are mousaka and baklava - it's about time I explore the drinks! :D


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Sorry - a little tactless! Hopefully, I will be writing a hub about mail order Ouzo soon - AW wants to get hold of some, too. Any good Greek restaurant should have it, and will show you how to drink it properly!

What do you drink in the Philippines?


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Apology accepted! LOL Yes I'd definitely look for it!

Oh the usual suspects but mostly beer - i prefer the flavored variety. I love vodka, too - with or without chaser. But if you're asking for the Phils' equivalent to Ouzu, it would be the lambanog - which I would loosely translate as coconut wine.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

I like flavoured beer, too - can't get it here, though. I used to drink heather beer and honey beer - very nice.

The lambanog sounds nice - coconut wine - I could get used to that.


BristolBoy profile image

BristolBoy 7 years ago from Bristol

I certainly remember Ouzo from my time in Greece. What struck me most was how cheap it was compared with other spirits - is there some sort of favourable taxation? Also I remember the beer called Mythos, I believe that is honey beer.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Hi Bristol Boy - I meant to ask how you got on in Greece!

It certainly is cheap - I don't think that it is tax, rather that Ouzo is easy to make compared to most spirits - it does not need maturing.

I like the Mythos - it is much better than crappy Amstel, and I know one place that serves draft ;)


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Yeah, there's several gourmet restaurants and pubs here that have microbreweries, Raspberry is absolutely my favorite flavor for beer - if only they're not too reddish! LOL

Btw, I think you're missing a bottle of Ouzu! :D


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Sounds great, Cris - I have never had raspberry beer, but it does sound very nice. I do miss beer, as the choice is limited in Greece, but the Ouzo makes up for it.

Hope that you enjoyed the Ouzo!


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

I truly enjoy Ouzo on occasion as it is a nice pleasurable sipping drink, that is very calming and relaxing. I did not however know unitl now how it was processed. :)


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks for stopping by, AE, and glad that you like to sip an Ouzo on a hot day. There certainly is more to the drink than meets the eye!


Eaglekiwi profile image

Eaglekiwi 7 years ago from -Oceania

Wow It has quite an exciting history doesn't it . Years ago I tried some ,but cant quite remember how the night went ,lol maybe it has hypnotic abilities too ( hehe..)...

Is Cinzano Greek as well ? ( I opogise ahead if I upset anyone) by getting that wrong . Maybe I should stick to drinks I can spell ,lol.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks, Eaglekiwi - there is a lot of history behind the drink! It certainly does have a memory wiping abilities!

Not sure for certain, but I believe that Cinzano is Italian :)


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

Nice hub Sir Sufi.. I will reserve my decisions on taste until we crack one together.  For some reason I've always thought of the drink as OuNo (No again.. hic)  I have used Ouzo in cooking with success. (Not dunking my donut!) You write well and your pride shines through the cloudiness of your subject, shall we say..  Thank you for opportunity to learn... Salute


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Cheers, Earl Pearldiver.

That sounds like a plan - I am slowly building up a collection of the best Ouzo's. Look forward to drinking one as the sun sets behind the mountains. It certainly does go well with some of the wonderful Greek recipes.

Thanks for the kind words - I certainly do love my Ouzo!


mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

I like your desription of 'slow and delightful stupor' - of course!


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks for dropping by, mythbuster - it certainly is a good state of mind!


Iðunn 7 years ago

I'll give you the toast, slainte, in Irish of course, however I doubt I would like it. I dislike anise. That said, it's an informative hub and I do have a positive connotation to ouzo from "Barefoot in the Park"... remember that bit about not feeling his teeth? lol. Nice hub.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks, Idunn - Glad that you enjoyed it. Shame that you don't like it, but there is always the tsipouro/raki - like Ouzo, it makes you smile and talk. Happy Days :)


idealjanoo profile image

idealjanoo 7 years ago

very nice and wonderful hub i appricate with you good work on the site


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks for the very kind words, idealjanoo


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Here's to living the good life, Sufidreamer! Good tantalizing Hub!


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks. dohn - the high life is certainly the best life. Glad that you enjoyed the hub!


Kushal Poddar profile image

Kushal Poddar 7 years ago from Kolkata,India

Great to know this. It reminds me of Fenni from Goa, India. Though they taste different.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks, Kushal - I would love to visit Goa and drink Fenni, one day!


Anna Erwin profile image

Anna Erwin 7 years ago from San Diego, Ca.

I always wanted to know about the Ozo, and now I do. I don't know why anyone with any taste for a good liquor would add coke or any dark soda to a white liquor. Sounds gross to me.

But good tip on the ice cube thing. I have often pondered this would happen.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks, Anna - Glad to be of service :D

I never understood mixers - my partner insists upon ruining perfectly good whisky by adding coke. Completely ruins the flavour and the sugar makes the hangover worse.

Crazy people :|


Trekker 7 years ago

What is the shelf life of Ouzo? I bought some small bottles in Greece about 7 years ago. I haven't opened them. Are they still good?


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Hi Trekker - Thanks for dropping by

I am not sure - it never stays unopened for that long around here! As it is a spirit, I am guessing that it should keep for a long time, especially if unopened - like a fine, aged whisky :)

Only one way to find out...


cally2 profile image

cally2 7 years ago from Paraparaumu, New Zealand

Ah happy memories - even the blanks :)

I spent a boozy year in Greece back in the years BC (before children). I didn't know there were only 170 distilleries. In Crete it seemed like every farmer I worked for and every Cafe Neon made their own. As I stumbled my way around the Med I came across many similar brews Raki in Turkey, Arak in Israel, Pastis in France. But my favourite was always Ouzo. Can you believe it's more expensive than Scotch in New Zealand!!

Haven't had a taste in far too many years. Might just have to splash out for Christmas this year. Thanks for the memories


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Hey Cally - thanks for dropping by. I have also tried most of those and Ouzo is by far the best, although a hot Raki is a good way to start a cold day ;)

Quite right about the distilleries - that is only the official ones. Pretty much everybody in the villages makes their own Raki, and I could imagine that the islanders happily produce home-made Ouzo!

I sympathise with you about the price - we have the opposite problem in Greece. A bottle of the finest Ouzo costs 8 Euros. For a single malt, it is over 40 Euros - I like your idea of a treat for Christmas, though - a few glasses of malt whiskey and a Havana cigar should do the trick!

Geia Sou


donna bamford profile image

donna bamford 6 years ago from Canada

Sure does bring back memories to me too. Glad i had the experience - even miss my my mad Greek boyfriend at times.

The conversations were so rich from politics to art to film. he was a real connaisseur and ouzo was one of his favourites.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks for dropping by, Donna

Somehow, mad and Greek always seem to belong in the same sentence. The Greeks are passionate and stubborn in debates, but they are also knowledgeable and interesting.

Must have been a rollercoaster of an experience!


Danmara profile image

Danmara 6 years ago from Downingtown, PA

That's one I haven't tried yet. Would like to though!


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks, Danmara.

It certainly is a fine drink - I hope that you manage to track some down! :)


Greg Cremia profile image

Greg Cremia 6 years ago from Outer Banks

I have a bottle of Metaxa in the house right now. When camping we just sip it out of the cold bottle and at home over ice. I will have to try adding the ice to the Ouzo to keep it from separating. Thanks for the tip.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks for dropping by, Greg - glad that you are a fan of the Ouzo. It is a useful tip - I often add a drop of water to the Ouzo before adding the ice.

Enjoy :D


Easy Driver profile image

Easy Driver 6 years ago

In my opinion, Tsipura, if you manage to get some from domestic production :) is better than most factory Ouza.

In any case I think is better with seafood drink Retsinu, local white wine!!!

Cheers :) :) :)


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Hi Easy Driver - Thanks for dropping by!

I do like a Tsiporou or three, especially a hot one on a cold winter day. My friend always gives me a few bottles and we hope to make our own, next year. I still prefer Ouzo, though, probably because I love aniseed.

Retsina is nice, but wine does not agree with me, so a couple of glasses is enough.

Geia Mas :)


LiamAnderson profile image

LiamAnderson 6 years ago

Kali mera Sufidreamere!

I lived in Northern Greece for 8 years. I also drank my fair share of ouzo and tsipouro!

(Greek) Macedonian machismo being what it is, drinking ouzo neat was also considered suicidally insane - and therefore required behaviour for anyone aspiring to manhood!

The best stuff i ever drank was home made from Elassona, i still remember it now, it was almost creamy like evaporated milk!

Let me know when you start making your own, I might even have to make a point of dropping by!

Best wishes, euharisto poly kai kali epityhia!

Liam


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Kalimera, Liam!

That's the proper stuff - made in a still in someone's barn. Very nice - we hope to make Tsipouro this year. We wanted to this year, but the wet summer meant that this years crop of grapes was not very good.

You are welcome anytime :)

Parakalw


Tom 6 years ago

Lovely explanation here Sufi, thanks for posting this. While visiting family in Greece over the holidays i have to say I tried the most shattering Ouzo I've ever had in my life in Athens (and I mean that in a positive way). A little distillery in Plaka which has appeared on Discovery and SBS here in Australia, it's called 'Brettos'. It was without doubt the most amazing bottle of Ouzo I've tried. . . Was a great experience with my family and I'll be back there in late June to try some more. If you're ever there it's a must try in my opinion :-)


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Thanks for dropping by, Tom - I have never tried that one, so I will check it out next time I am in Athens. I am always on the look out for new types to explore. If you can get hold of it, Barbagiannis 'Aphrodite' Ouzo is superb. 48% yet smooth as silk :D

Hope that you all have a great time over here - it sounds like you already know where to find the 'true' Greece :)


justom profile image

justom 6 years ago from 41042

1970 Athens, I was in the service and we decided neat was the way to drink it. Big mistake, great flavor-greater kick. I remember one of the guys tried to bring a case on board the ship and he could barely stand up. Fond memories of Greece and Ouzo. The stuff here in the states is terrible! Peace!!


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Cheers, justom - neat is always a big mistake. It tastes so nice that the drunkenness sneaks up on you!

Glad that you enjoyed your time in Greece - shame that you can't find any decent Ouzo. They put far too much sugar in the exported stuff, which kills it.

Have a great evening :)


De Cuz profile image

De Cuz 6 years ago from Portsmouth

A few years ago my wife and I returned from holiday from my paternal island of Cyprus. W e bought with us a few bottles of Ouzo for friends and family. A few weeks later we went for drinkls with our neighbour who, towards the end of the evening opened the bottle we had given him on our return. Ice, water, Ouzo! What an evening!! My wife woke up the next morning on the floor next to the bed, neither sure whether she had not got in, or whether she had fallen out!!! Two days later she confessed to having lost a 24 hour sequence of her life. As for the neighbour We heard neither hide nor hair for over two weeks. When he did appear he confessed to being in a daze for a week!!! I just enjoyed mine.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

hehe - now that's the Ouzo experience! It really is a drink that just sneaks up on you. I am going to share that one with a few of my Greek friends - they will have a chuckle at that one :D

Hope that your neighbour didn't suffer too much permanent damage, although a few brain cells may have been lost.

Thanks for sharing that wonderful story!


Loren's Gem profile image

Loren's Gem 6 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

Great hub, neighbor! And while you're having Ouzo in Greece, we're also having our Rak? in Turkey! Cheers to our national drinks! :-)


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Geia Mas, Loren

National drinks are always good - we hope to visit Turkey and drink Raki sometime in the future :)


lifeisabeach profile image

lifeisabeach 6 years ago

When I visited Greece I noticed that the locals took great pride in serving this drink to visitors. I enjoyed the taste, but it must be served ice-cold for me to enjoy it.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Hi Lifeisabeach - ice cold is certainly the way to go.

Geia Sou!


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 5 years ago

Hi Sufi,

My late hubby would occasionally share this drink when his best friend would come to visit. Sad to say, they drank it neat. The unfortunate side effect of this drink was that it made my hubby nasty. I hated when he had that, but thank goodness, if it was once a year, it was a lot.

I tried it myself, and found it too strong for my liking.

Enjoyed the hub and found it very informative.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 5 years ago from Sparti, Greece Author

Hi Trish - drinking it neat can certainly have some sinister effects. I think that everybody has a weakness - mine is vodka - that makes me aggressive, so I don't drink it :)

If you find it a little strong, you can always add more water!

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