Is ouzo Greek? Ouzo Wikipedia facts

It is often the case that the roots of any alcoholic beverage get lost in the mists of time.  At the same time modern marketers try to establish one place, associated to their brand, as the “true” home or point of origin.   The historic evidence does indeed seem to indicate that this particular variation of high alcohol content aniseed flavored drink found a home in Greece more than other regions.   Again the Wikipedia summary is a great middle road approach on the topic:


“The precursor of ouzo is tsipouro or rakia in many Balkan countries. It is a traditional alcoholic drink distilled throughout, and during the time of, the Byzantine Empire and continued throughout Ottoman times. However, tsipouro or raki in Greece is generally not anise-flavored (unlike raki in Turkey which is).

Traditionally, Tsipouro is said to have been the pet project of a group of 14th century monks living in a monastery on holy Mount Athos. One version of it is flavored with anise. It is this version that eventually came to be called ouzo.[1]

Modern ouzo distillation largely took off in the 19th century following Greek independence, with much production centered on the island of Lesbos, which claims to be the originator of the drink and remains a major producer. When absinthe fell into disfavour in the early 20th century ouzo is one of the products whose popularity may have gained (it was once called “a substitute for absinthe without the wormwood”).[2] In 1932, ouzo producers developed the method of distillation using copper stills[citation needed], which is now considered[weasel words] the canonically proper method of production. ”

Of the active producers in Lesbos, by far the market leader is Plomari ouzo with the name “Isidoros Arvanitis”.  This brand seems not only to have captured the market but also the spirit of the region with advertisements like the one above.   It has also advanced the market by making a premium ouzo, Adolo, with a traditional technique.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.