The white color of anise blends in perfectly with the deep blue of the Aegean Sea. An ancient civilization. A spirit drink that has always been exclusive to Greeks.
The word Ouzo cannot be translated. It is a name traditionally used to describe a spirit, the history of which is lost in the depths of time. Its origins can be traced back to Egypt, only to be later distilled in Greece. Its initial destination was the Greek territory, which then included Asia Minor as well. Hence came recognition in the world of commerce and trade.
Our very own Ouzo is a spirit drink containing anise, traditionally and exclusively produced in Greece. This traditional Greek drink shows enormous potential in the international market, particularly after the exclusive production of Ouzo in Greece was secured.
The small and large secrets of distilled anis
Ouzo is a spirit that owes its organoleptic characteristics to the substances used to aromatize it.
The Mediterranean abounds with plants and aromas and it was only natural that our palates and the need to enjoy would find fertile ground in all this wealth. That was how anise (Pimpinella anisum), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Miller), star anise, mastic, cinnamon, clove, coriander, angelica root, linden blossom, cardamom, mint, etc found their way into the still in order to refine the distillate.
The specific element distinguishing Ouzo from other aniseed-flavored spirit drinks lies in the aromatization method. In the majority of spirit drinks classified as anis, the aromatic constituents of the seeds are usually obtained by water and in turn added to the alcohol solution. As regards Ouzo, the aromatic substances are traditionally obtained naturally, by means of distillation of a solution containing water and alcohol in the presence of the seeds. That is why it is classified as distilled anis.
The allure of Ouzo production
The alcohol, seeds and aromatic raw materials are left to stand in traditional hand-made copper stills (alembics) for many hours. The mixture is then distilled avoiding any sudden temperature drops or rises. The “heart” of the first distillation phase, namely the most flavorful part, is separated and selected early on and in turn slowly moves on to the second and eventually third phase of the process (redistillation), in the midst of constant checks and tests.
Adoloto, in other words the pure, middle fraction of the distillation’s last phase, is stored to rest and allow the recipe’s ingredients to blend together and create a homogenous mixture.
Before the distillate reaches the bottle, it is diluted with soft water, so that the end-product can attain the desired alcoholic strength. A high alcoholic strength is a prerequisite for the incorporation of the rich aroma found only in Ouzo.
Pursuant to legislation, the alcoholic strength by volume must exceed 37.5% vol.
In order for the final, transparent distillate to reach the consumer, in its attractive packaging, a complex and thorough process is implemented, which is passed on from generation to generation as a heritage and entails the family’s deepest and well-kept secrets. Its success primarily depends on the size, type and material of the still. The alcohol, as well as the various species found in the astonishing variety of aromatic plants to be added ultimately determine the distillate, its aroma and taste.
All distillers have their own secrets as to the type and proportion of the aromatic seeds used. Other varying parameters consist in the distillation fractions used, extraction prior to distillation, the distillation speed, the size of the still. All these elements differentiate the organoleptic characteristics of the final distillate. What also varies is the total quantity of seeds added.
Ouzo is currently produced throughout Greece. There are approximately three hundred (300) Ouzo producers, something that results in a considerable degree of product differentiation.
Pleasant aroma, cloudy white demeanor, a cooling delight for the senses
When mixed with water, Ouzo turns cloudy white and reveals an entirely different character. The essential oils of anise and fennel, in other words the ingredients responsible for its aroma, are soluble in Ouzo of a high alcoholic strength when consumed neat. When mixed with water or ice, however, the alcoholic strength decreases, the essential oils become insoluble and we are left entranced by the cloudy white demeanor that makes Ouzo resemble milk. The addition of water not only changes the color, but also the aroma, setting it free to flood the senses.
Thanks to the essential oils of the seeds of its ingredients, anise, star anise and fennel, Ouzo pampers the palate with a touch of spring breeze and sun-drenched sea, creating a pleasant sensation of freshness bound to cool off even the hottest Greek summer.
Ouzo is probably the most sociable drink ever created… perfect for sharing with friends. Its tradition is long and its philosophy well-thought. Those who share its unparalleled taste come closer to one another, open up more easily. Ouzo is the drink for companionship and confessions. It is the drink of Greece, the one nobody can ever copy.
Its recipe is simple and at the same time exquisite. It has been linked with the sun, the sea, the joy of life. Its taste and the pleasure it offers are inextricably connected to the history and memories of an entire nation. Its taste has conquered the whole of Greece, not to mention foreign visitors.
Ouzo makes a wonderful accompaniment to seafood and pungent-tasting fried food.
It can be enjoyed either neat or with water. Its consumption temperature - as is the case with all spirit drinks having a vibrant aroma - must not be high, which is why ice is usually added. The ideal glass for drinking Ouzo is usually tall and tubular, allowing for the addition of the desired amount of water. It can be used as a refreshing cocktail base, combined with fruit and vegetable juices or liqueurs.
«The Secrets of Ouzo»
Download the video (mp4, 20MB) and discover the secrets of Ouzo.
«The Allure of Ouzo Production»
Download the video (mp4, 58MB)