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The origin of the name “ouzo” is disputed. A popular derivation is from the Italian “uso Massalia”—for use in Marseille—stamped on selected silkworm cocoons exported from Tyrnavos in the 19th century. According to anecdote, this designation came to stand for “superior quality”, which the spirit distilled as ouzo was thought to possess.
The island of Lesvos in Greece is believed to be the origin point for ouzo.
Ouzo is an aniseed spirit, which will remind Indians of “saunf”. Ouzo is made from a combination of pressed grapes and herbs and berries. It begins as alcohol made from grape skins or other local produce. It is then brought together with herbs and other ingredients, including star anise, coriander, cloves, angelica root, licorice, mint, wintergreen, fennel, hazelnut and even cinnamon and lime blossom.
Ouzo is usually served as an aperitif, but is also used in some mixed drinks and cocktails. In Greek cafés ouzo is served with mezedes (Greek term for appetizers). The mezedes can be anything from a salad, stewed meat and vegetables, sardeles pastes (really fresh sardines), koukia (beans), sweetbreads, meatballs, cheese, sausage or fried fish.
- Ouzo Giannatsi from Plomari
- Plomari by Arvanitis
- Ouzo Mini
- Ouzo Veto
- Ouzo Kefi & Ouzo No 12
Ouzo turns cloudy when water is added, for reasons too complex to explain unless you have a degree in chemistry.
Ouzo 12 is actually named after the number of the barrel it was stored in when it’s producer was just a small family distillery.
Ouzo is drunk like water in many villages of Greece