Ouzo, (gr. ούζο) is a Greek alcoholic drink. Ouzo has a strong anise flavor, with 38%, 40%, 42% and 49% alcohol. Ouzo with a 49% alcohol content is difficult to find outside the city of Plomari. A drink is often mixed with water or ice, and then gets its typical light color that resembles milk.
Often, during a drink, a famous Greek song is sung
“Otan kapnizi oh loulas, esi then prepi na milas. ” or in English, “When the Louvas smokes, you must not speak.”
The origin is drawn from another Greek drink called tsipoura, which in the 14th century was taken by monks from Mount Athos. One variation was sweetened with anis and was later called the Ouzo. It is made of distilled grapes, and it is considered to be the best takeaway from the Greek island of Lesvos.
Production, in particular, began in the early nineteenth century, after the independence of Greece. When the absinth lost its population, it took his place.
There are more stories about how this drink got its name. According to one story, the name derives from the Italian term “uso Massalia” (for use in Marseille). The Greeks exported silkworm from the city of Tirnavos, and those of high quality were intended for Marseille. On one occasion, a consultant doctor visiting Tirnavos, when locals asked him to test their tsipuro, shouted, “This is for our Massalia friends” which they wanted to emphasize the supreme taste of this drink.
Interestingly, Greece has reserved the right to use the Ouzo name. Therefore, anywhere in the European Union is considered as a product of a specific geographical origin and as such prevents all producers outside of Greece from using this name.
Ouzo contains a high percentage of alcohol, so Greeks prefer to drink it with food. The stomach filled with food, especially fats, maybe with some kebab or gyros, prolongs the period of absorption and reduces drowsiness.
Ouzo for Greeks is not just a drink. It reminds them of beautiful moments because while they drink, they feel good. That is why there are special types of restaurants in Greece, which were named after the Ouzo. You are enjoying the taste of Ouzo, but also in a good bite because it is a true Greek feeling. The best food and the best drink always go together.
How to drink Ouzo?
When someone asks a Greek for how to drink ouzo, he needs to be ready to see his strange appearance first, then a gluttonous contempt, and eventually the answer is that my friend, you don’t drink it, you live it.
Traditional Greek drink has its adherents in all parts of the world, and each one of them will tell you that when you drink Ouzo, the most important thing is drinking it slowly, with pleasure, in peace, and with good company.
But, like any alcoholic drink, Uzo wants his proper meats, which will increase the satisfaction of his drinking.
Experts recommend that is required drinking ouzo with a savory appetizer. It is best served cold and with tarator. You can dilute it with a little water or soda water.
An excellent addition to the glass is the seafood in every form. Do not miss to serve all kinds of olives, a white cheese filled with olive oil, squid, sardines, smoked fish or caviar.
When you add the water to Ouzo, the color becomes white like a milk. The reason for this is the anise oils that are dissolved in alcohol, but with the reduction in the alcohol content of the oil, they turn into white crystals that are dull and blur this mixture.
Recipe for Ouzo?
Ouzo is a precise combination of grapes, grasses, and berries. It begins with making a distilled grape drink and then gets special characteristics by adding herbs and other ingredients including anise, coriander, clove, sweet root, mint. This mixture is cooked in a copper seal. The pre-filtered liquid is cooled down, standing for several months and reaching a volume of about 40 %.
If you want, you can make the Ouzo at home, although it probably will not have the same taste as a real Greek drink, here is the recipe:
- Put the sugar in the bottle, anise oil and fill it with alcohol.
- Shake the bottle every day to dissolve the sugar.
- After a week, or better when the sugar is dissolved, pour it into a clean bottle and enjoy.
1 l of alcohol or some odorless schnapps, you can use vodka
150 gr of white candied sugar or sugar in a cube
10 drops of anise oil
Serve Ouzo well-chilled and in a “Long Drink” glasses. You should add 1.5 dl of water to 5 dl of liqueur. Of course, serve it with ice cubes.