THE BEST LOCAL GREEK SPIRITS FOR SPRING
Tsipouro, Tsikoudia and raki are all the same spirit and unlike ouzo, they are grape distillates. Tsipouro’s alcohol grade is higher than ouzo and is, therefore, considered stronger, but ouzo gives worse hangovers! Tsipouro can also have anise in it making it sweeter and it is usually drunk straight and not diluted in water or ice, but always accompanied by lots of mezedes! If you come to Greece, be sure to visit an authentic tsipouradiko.
Another of Greece’s most famous liqueurs is the mastic of Chios. This PDO product is a flavored liqueur from the oil produced from the mastic tree, indigenous to the island of Chios, in the northeastern Aegean. The mastic tree is the island’s trade secret, and its cultivation goes as far back as ancient times. Mastic trees grow all over the world, but Chios is the only place where the trees produce resins from their bark, which is what creates the distinctive taste.
Ouzo is the most popular consumed distilled spirit in Greece and it was introduced to the country along with the refugees from Asia Minor. Greeks usually add water to it, or cranberry juice, to make it less strong and easier to drink. This spirit is especially popular in the summertime and you will often see it accompanied by Greek meze (tapas) like grilled octopus, sardines, fried squid and Greek olives.
This a liqueur that has origins in the Greek city of Patra, located in the eastern part of the Peloponnese, back in the 15th century and is exclusively produced in Greece. This herb and spice liqueur is typically potent with cinnamon and cloves, nutmeg and citrus fruits -spices that would be traded into Patra’s port- as well as alcohol and sugar. Tentura is typically served in small shot glasses over ice or in cocktails, and usually after a meal as it can be employed as a digestive drink.