Ouzo has a special place in Greek cuisine and culture and it is an original Greek aperitif. In Greece especially, it is the perfect choice to accompany sea food delicacies in a seaside setting, with good friends. Tradition traces it back to 14th century Athonian monasteries, when by chance some monks mixed alcohol with anise.
Ouzo is a product with protected designation of origin (PDO) within the European Union (EU). Initially it was manufactured in the regions of Tyrnavos, and Kalamata, while at the end of 19th century Lesvos island is the most famous nationally and internationally ouzo producer being the company of Plomari. There is a production of 7 million liters each year, of which 80% is consumed within Greek borders.
Tradition and cuisine
When someone tastes ouzo with mezes they surely will not forget the moment. Moments like those are spent amongst good company, with loved and cherished people. Mezes are served on a big plate in the middle of the table and everyone shares food from the same plate, that’s why one Meze is never enough, kind of like ‘Lays’!
Traditional “Ouzeri” (ouzo specialized taverns) are everywhere in Greece. Ouzo is served in small shaped bottles together with ice cubes on a separate plate. You can drink it plain – without water, just ice – or you can drink it mixed with water, depends what you prefer better. As already mentioned mezes follow the drinks.
A big variety of sea food is mostly eaten, but also some meat plates, green vegetables, small Greek type pies and Greek cheese. This type of lunch or even in special occasions, a night out combined with good company can last for hours.
Its unique flavor has the ability to remain undistorted of the various aromas’ of the Meze plates that accompany it. Thus it becomes a choice of food lovers, those who like good food, those who like to enjoy a meal in the shade of great Plane tree, or along a beautiful Greek island’s coastal sea front tavern.
Ouzo and its ‘ancestor’ tsipouro are rightfully identified with Greece and its people.