A scientific exploration of why ouzo gets mirky with water

Spectroscopy at the service of your cocktail!

Here is the short version as I understand it: put the water first and then the ice.  Depending on how much alcohol the ouzo has it will react differently to extreme cooling.  Don’t overdo it cooling this drink because you then kill the aroma.

And here is the long version:

“Anethole is a rather nonpolar compound. The solubility of the ancthole contained in the Greek liqueur Ouzo is in a range in which the compound crystallizes out in the deep cold whereas it is still soluble in the beverage at room temperature. This effect can easily be observed in a Greek restaurant. When Ouzo is served as a well-chilled aperitif it appears cloudy due to precipitated ancthole crystals. On standing and warming, the cloudiness disappears by dissolution of ancthole in the aqueous ethanoL There is no other

Looks to me like the scientists had one too many ouzos!

flavour component in Ouzo which undergoes this change. Therefore, it can be used for a simple selective separation of ancthole just by filtration of the cold liqueur. However, it should be kept in mind that ancthole has a rather low melting point of 22 °C\ This has to be taken into consideration during any separation operations. All equipment used for filtration h3s to be precooled to avoid loss of ancthole by liquefaction.

It is not to recommend to cool the liqueur still more than described here because then water ice also begins to crystallize. If you cool several brands of Ouzo you will find that the degree of crystallization of ancthole is different, which gives a hint about its varying content in the liqueur.

3.2  Method

Λ 500 ml volume of Greek liqueur Ouzois allowed to cool in a deep freezer at -20 °C overnight. The viscosity of the solution increases. Anethole crystallizes in the form of colourless leaflets, A sintered glass filter funnel is precooled in the same freezer and used for the filtration operation. The Ouzo is filtered by suction, which requires 30 min because the glass filter easily tends to become blocked by the ancthole crystals. To avoid this, it is to recommended to scrape of] the material from the filler surface occasionally by means of a pre-eoolcd spatula. During filtration, the temperature at the funnel should not rise above -12 °t.   Finally, a colourless crystalline mass (300 mg) is scraped out of the sintered glass filler funnel, put into a glass vial and immediately evacuated with an oil pump at 20 Pa and 15 °C to remove traces of water and ethanol Colourless crystals of pure anethole (150 mg) remain in the vial, which, depending on the storage temperature, can be kept as a solid or a liquid.”

Therapeutic qualities of aniseed: drink and then bathe in it!

It isn’t just the aroma of aniseed that gives ouzo that distinctive flavor.

“This spice possesses gas-relieving property. It is an excellent medicine for expelling wind from the stomach. It can also be taken, in combination with other digestive foods like ginger, cumin and pepper, in the form of an infusion.

An easy way to prepare the infusion is to mix a teaspoon of aniseed in a cup of boiling water and leave it covered overnight. The clear fluid is then decanted and taken with honey. This helps gurgling in the abdomen. This is also useful in preventing gas and fermentation in the stomach and the bowels.”

Hey, that is more or less how they distill ouzo so save yourself the trouble!  Here is another quote:

“Anise oil opens bronchial pathways so you can breath again. Commonly used in aromatherapy for breathing difficulties – anise oil may have a good effect on asthma as a natural asthma remedy. Anise oil is also excellent fish bait and is commonly used by fisherman to attract trout.   Pure Anise Oil is also noted as helpful for flatulence, impotence, painful periods, migraines and colic. Anise oil is best used in baths, massage oils, facials and in a diffuser.”

Right, so straight after drinking it we can pour some into our bath too!

Properties of Anise oil:

  • Main Constituent anethole (phenolether)
  • Carminative
  • Digestive
  • Promotes Harmony and Balance (Green)
  • Expectorant”

Ouzo dimino – what a bad name for a drink!

ouzo museum lesvos

“Dimino” in greek means “every two months”.  Seems a rather bad name for ouzo, but here is a useful text about the Production Methods:   (Pardon the Google translation slip ups!)

“Small and big secrets of ouzo

Lisvori anise “Pimpinella anisum“, fennel “foeniculum vulgare miller“, the star anise, cinnamon, the coriander, cardamom (kakoules)  enter the ouzo making process stills to refine the spirit.

With ouzo, traditionally, the flavors are added through distilling the seeds in a solution of water and 100% ethyl alcohol from grape pomace.

The charm of the distillation

In traditional, hand crafted, copper stills we process  alcohol, grains and herbs for several hours. Then, the mixture is distilled and carefully controlled boiling and cooling the distillate. From the first distillation is separated and selected the “heart”, the most tasty part of the distillate, which is distilled a second time (redistillation) slowly with continuous inspection and testing. Before the double distilled “heart” is bottled, dilluted with soft water to ouzo, to obtain the desired alcoholic strength.

The clear spirit condusive to a smooth and sweet ouzo 100% distilled and aged for two months to tie all the flavors and give you the great taste.

The success of the recipe depends on the copper, the size and type of stills. The alcohol and aromatic plants will be added to determine final aroma and taste of the distillate. Each distiller has his own secret. That is the type and proportion of aromatic seeds used. Even in different fractions of the distillate to be used, the extraction prior to distillation, the size of the stills, etc.”

Note that the process referred to above as “the heart of the ouzo” during distillation is what has now become the first premium ouzo brand, called “Adolo” by the same company that makes the No1 Plomari – Isidoros Arvanitis ouzo.