A toast to ouzo, Greek’s licorice-flavored aperitif (just don’t contend opa!)

Photo: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group around Getty Images

Welcome to Gateways To Drinkery, where The Takeout offers an entry-level march on a favorite libations, and some suggestions on where to start celebration them.


The lowdown: In a vastly underrated regretful comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a quiet, non-Greek relatives of a husband get their initial unruly introduction to Toula Portokalos’ family and Greek enlightenment over shots of ouzo. “Mmm, licorice,” Bruce Gray’s Rodney Miller remarks as he knocks behind a initial of several shots. For first-time ouzo drinkers, they certain do swallow a really strong, anise-flavored Greek aperitif with ease.


The initial ouzo distillery non-stop in Greece in 1856, though a drink’s place in Greek story goes behind to a 14th century, when a prototype tsipouro was initial done by Greek Orthodox monks on Mount Athos in Macedonia. Considered Greek grappa, tsipouro is a strong suggestion done from pomace, a excess left behind on a booze press. Tsipouro is still poured all over Greece and comes in dual flavors: pristine or anise. Though a anise movement is identical in ambience to ouzo, a bottom suggestion used to make ouzo is aloft in ethanol calm than with tsipouro, so it all comes down to a slight disproportion in production.

Nikolaos Katsaros founded a initial ouzo distillery in Tirnavos—in a Thessaly segment of Greece—shortly after Greek independence. By a 20th century, absinthe, that is identical in ambience to ouzo, was starting to be labeled as dangerous, addictive, and psychoactive. European countries and a U.S. started banning absinthe, and ouzo got a moment. France, in particular, saw a arise in a recognition of ouzo, that is also identical to France’s anise-flavored pastis.

In 2006, Greece perceived a European Union-approved Protected Designation of Origin standing for ouzo, permitting Greek ouzo-makers to tag a product as exclusively Greek. To this day, ouzo can usually be constructed in Greece and Cyprus (in a same approach champagne comes usually from Champagne, and called stimulating booze everywhere else). It’s deliberate some-more than a splash in a home country; ouzo has turn a tradition alone tied to Greece’s food and libation culture.

The taste: As you’ve substantially collected by now, ouzo is intensely anise-forward. But usually like a really menthol-forward fernet, there’s some-more complexity going on after a initial taste. Unlike fernet, there’s a pointed benevolence to ouzo. It’s a tiny minty, smooth, refreshing. Hints of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and fennel can come through, depending on a brand.


Anise-flavored aperitifs are renouned all over a world, and ouzo has similarities to France’s pastis, Italy’s sambuca, Turkey’s raki, and Scandinavia’s aquavit. If we don’t like black licorice, you’re improved off skipping ouzo altogether, nonetheless some imagination cocktail bars in Greece mix ouzo with adequate other flavors that a anise becomes a pointed layer. Ouzo and limoncello ambience really good together.

Possible gateway: Don’t make a same mistake as a Millers in My Big Fat Greek Wedding by starting off with true shots of ouzo. The best, and many common, approach to suffer ouzo is over ice with a tiny H2O added. Water churned with ouzo creates a pale microemulsion, that has come to be called a “ouzo effect.” Always splash it cold.

Though called an aperitif, ouzo should always be consumed with food, not before it. In Greece, ouzo traditionally accompanies mezedes, tiny plates of food. It’s frowned on to splash ouzo though some arrange of food pairing, even if it’s usually nuts and olives. To go full traditional, splash it with grilled octopus or prawns.

Some of a common brands of ouzo to find in a U.S. are Barbayanni and Ouzo 12. If we wish to palliate into ouzo, try Plomari, that is somewhat some-more amiable than many normal ouzos, appealing to a some-more supportive pallette.

Brettos bar and distillery in Athens (Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

Next steps: There’s overtly usually so most ouzo exploring we can do in a U.S. To get a full informative knowledge of ouzo, we have to make a tour to Greece, where even tiny bars and tavernas offer a immeasurable operation of opposite ouzos. You can still revisit a strange ouzo distillery in Tirnavos. Brettos, Athens’ longest-running distillery that non-stop in 1909, is a must-go mark for any ethanol enthusiasts visiting Greece (in further to a ouzo, try their brandy!). Lesvos is one of a best islands for ouzo celebration and is home to many small, family-run ouzo companies.


Talk like an expert: Toasting is a large partial of Greek celebration culture, though don’t contend “opa!” when you’re served ouzo. Instead, contend “yamas!” that some-more accurately means cheers (but literally translates to “health”).

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Posted by on Dec 2 2017. Filed under Gadgets. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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