Ouzo drink with its strong anise flavour and with a little hint of Greece is a clear drink which gets milky-like when water is poured into it and aromas emerge and demonstrate its other qualities. Ouzo is so much more than just a drink. It is a way of life in Greece as it makes people loosen-up, brings them together especially when it is served with mouthwatering mezedakia (tidbits)!
Ouzo originates from Asia Minor and nowadays is produced in Northern Greece, on Chios and Lesvos Islands. The complex and detailed production process differs from recipe to recipe which goes on from generation to generation and remains a well kept family secret. The drink is flavoured with a variety of herbs that grow on Greek land such as coriander, fennel, star anise, garden angelica and the renown anise.
The fermentation is done in copper stills where alcohol and aromatic herbs stand for hours. The mixture is distilled and tested out several times. It is then stored in order for the aromas and texture to settle. The distillate is diluted with water to obtain the desired alcohol content, which by law must be higher than 37,5% vol., and then bottled. Ouzo usually consists of a smaller proportion of grape distillate comparing to raki but larger than 20% according to regulations. In Greece today there are more than 300 ouzo producers.
Ouzo drink is served straight, with water or with ice, in a tall slim glass in order to add as much water as we please. This drink is also used in cocktails mixed with fruit & vegetable juices as well as liqueurs. Some connoisseurs, drink ouzo alternately with Greek coffee, while others add a few drops in their coffee!
Ouzo opens your appetite and makes you crave the delicious greek tidbits called mezedes. It is a perfect match to cured meat or fish and all sort of cold cuts. The drink is best served with good friends by the sea and is part of a Greek summer ritual!