A Guide to Beverages you “Must” try in Greece!

A wide and varied range of beverages to suit all tastes (‘Yamas’) cheers, enjoy a tipple like the Greeks! 

Ouzo the National Drink of Greece

This anise-flavored aperitif is a symbol of Greek culture and has many scores of thousands of enthusiasts in Greece and Cyprus. The traditional drink is very similar to Pernod.

Ouzo is traditionally mixed with water, becoming cloudy white, and served with ice cubes in a small glass or a shot glass. Served with a small plate of a variety of appetizers called mezes, usually small fresh fish, fries, olives and feta cheese, ouzo has a smooth yet distinctly sweetened.

Did you know?  cooking with Ouzo adds a super edge to a dish or an after dinner cocktail

The Greeks use ouzo to make a complex fish sauce and shrimp rice/pasta dishes, even as syrup for Greek sweets and cakes.

Ouzito The Greek answer to mojito – as many call it- is a mix of mint, lemon, soda water, sugar and ouzo. Some add Coke substitute to soda water which makes the cocktail sweeter and have a lesser liquorish taste.

Souma/Raki

is a traditional drink made from grapes. After the grapes are pressed, their pulps which are called the “tsipoura” are being used to make “souma”. The pulps of the grapes are put into large barrels with sea water, and are left to ferment. At the end of October, these grapes are boiled in traditional distillers and the steam is collected in tanks. This way, Souma consists more than %40 alcohol, so take it slow when you try, not to get drunk quickly!

During a dinner at a Greek tavern, you may ask for souma, or it may be served to you complimentary after dinner.

Wine

Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world dating back some 6,500 years.

In ancient Greece, wine was produced in households or communities and soon became a main product of trading between the Mediterranean people.

The local wines are surprising tasty and relatively cheap!  When in a restaurant remember to share your wine from the karafe or bottle because that’s common when eating with Greeks.

Beer

has been brewed in Greece since 1834 when the father of brew master Johann Karl Fuchs came to Greece as the official brewer of the newly-appointed King of Greece, Otto. In 1864 he founded the Fix brewery in Athens that would become the first major brewery in the Who said that Greece is only famous for ouzo, raki and good wine? Greek beers may not be as popular as in other European countries, but there are some serious efforts worth mentioning, and even more worth tasting!

Though most Greek beers are not widely known, there are some, like Volkan Beer from Santorini island that have been awarded internationally. So if you’re the type who enjoys an ice-cold brew sky search for these quenchers…

Mythos  this beauty survived among other  famous brands of Greek beer simply due to its taste.  It also helped to have many successful campaigns with the motto “myth is everywhere” backing it up… A Blonde Lager produced by Mythos Brewery became a favorite among the Greeks and foreign visitors.

FIX (or Fix Hellas, its most common trademark) became synonymous with beer in Greece, enjoying a monopoly in the country for about 100 years until the mid-1960s, operating a number of factories that also produced soft drinks.

The “vintage” of Greek beers!  The first Greek beer and everyone in Greece knew the brand even if they had never tasted it. In 2010 FIX reentered active in the Greek market, giving the past generation an opportunity to enjoy it again, and the younger a chance to discover it!   

Magnus Magister

The Brewery Magnus Magister on the island of Rhodes produced a beer with an ultimate flavor of malt.  The Knights of the ‘Magnus Magistrate’ always consumed in great quantities.   A blond in the range of beer.   A beer to refresh your quench with or without a meal. 

Kaiser the truth is, even Greeks didn’t think of it as a Greek beer, yet Kaiser has been made by Mythos Brewery in Greece since 1976.  This beer’s got true German standards, except made with Greek materials. 

Need we say more?

Alfa a Blonde Lager, which is characterized by light flavor. It has 5% alcohol and is distinguished by its distinguished by its aroma. 

Vergina  has its own particular tradition. Indeed, the choice of Rodopi was not random. Rumors say that there was a place, where the first form of Greek beer in antiquity was produced!

Metaxa is a cognac-like distilled invented by Spyros Metaxas in 1888. It is a blend of brandy, spices and wine.  It has won a number of international competitions and now is owned by a French company.  The Greek with a kick! Available in 3 stars, 5 stars, or 7 stars depending on how strong you like it.

Retsina a wine with a resin of pinewood added. The resin is used to chalk wine barrels to get this distinctive taste.  It is most definitely a companion with a Greek meze lunch, just right for the taste buds, an acquired taste!

Frappe vs. Freddo Coffee  that Greeks are obsessed with…

The Greek frappe became a symbol of the post-war outdoor Greek coffee culture.  Cafe frappe to this date is still the most popular coffee beverage. 

Dimitris Vakondios invented it by chance in 1957 during the International Thessaloniki Fair and ever since the frappe is typical of Greek contemporary culture.

Frappe coffee, or Greek frappe, is a foam-covered iced coffee drink made from instant coffee with sugar (or ‘sketo’ without sugar), ice cubes and water. It is very popular to date, in Greece & Cyprus especially during the hot summer temperatures.

The more ‘trendy’ choice of coffee beverages the Espresso freddo served in a medium glass with lots of ice and as much sugar as you like, or another favorite Capuccino freddo especially favored by the Greeks.  The Venetian monk’s version of cappuccino was established in the 17th century when they added milk and honey to Greek coffee.

A milk foam called “afrogala” in Greek, lots of ice and some syrup depending on how sweet you like your coffee, a creation the biggest rival of frappe during the summers.   For the more daring, ask for some vanilla ice or liquor in your frappe or espresso freddo it takes the coffee to a whole new level of tastiness.

The most sought after coffee beverages all year round. Enjoy your coffee like a Greek!

Greek Coffee

with a difference served in tiny cups with a cup of water.  How would you like it?  “Sketo” – nothing added, “Metrio”– medium sweet or “Gliko”– very sweet, your choice.   A coffee usually sipped slowly and paired with a lively conversation.  One thing is for sure most of the Greek families will offer you Greek coffee after a meal or when you visit their home.