Combining Mediterranean herbs with a traditional process- dating back thousands of years- Ouzo is by far Greece’s most famous spirit. Exclusively produced in Greece, once you try it and consume it the right way, you will understand why it’s a major part of the Greek lifestyle!
Colour: Clear spirit, which becomes opaque when water is added.
Region: Ouzo is a PDO product and can only be produced in Greece. Although it is made in many regions, the most popular brands are based on the island of Lesvos. The latest figures show there are over 300 Ouzo producers in Greece and half of those are located in Lesvos.
Made from: Grapes and anise.
How it’s made: The difference between Ouzo and other aniseed-flavoured spirits is the way it is produced. To make Ouzo, the aromas are naturally created by distilling the seeds together with water and alcoholic solution.
ABV (Alcohol by Volume): Minimum 37.5 % ABV and normally at 40% ABV.
Fact: Over 65% of Ouzo production is exported.
Other flavours used: Apart from aniseed, other flavourings include mastic, cinnamon, fennel, star anise, cardamom, coriander, cloves and mint.
Most popular Ouzo brands: Ouzo 12, Metaxa, Plomari, MINI Mytilinis, Pilavas, Barbayannis.
Taste: Ouzo is a particularly strong drink and not for the faint-hearted. It’s also an acquired taste and has a lovely flavour when sipped slowly and accompanied by the right food.
Best pairings: It can be best enjoyed with salty, savoury, and spicy mezze (appetizers). You will find on the islands locals prefer to drink their Ouzo with seafood, such as anchovies, mackerel, sardines, fried calamari and grilled octopus, whereas on the mainland they will enjoy a glass of Ouzo with loukaniko (Greek sausages), homemade pickles and local cheese. The classic way is to serve it with bread, olives, cheese, tomatoes and cucumber.
How to serve Ouzo: It’s best served with water, rather than straight up. The perfect ratio is one part Ouzo and two parts water, which gives it the right texture and enhances its aromas.
Top tip: Don’t put ice cubes in your Ouzo, it alters the taste. The correct way to drink Ouzo is to mix it with very cold water.
Don’t forget: Ouzo is not a drink to be heavily consumed, it is meant to be sipped slowly and in moderation. With the right mezze, Ouzo can be an amazing experience that will help conjure up fond memories of the Aegean sun, sea, and Greek life!
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