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Just go around the streets of Athens for a day, especially in the central area of Plaka right under the Acropolis, to see small tables with portions of mezedes and a bottle of Greek ouzo to accompany them. This is in fact the typical Greek meal during summertime, in the city as well as in the islands.
Drink ouzo with ice, the way Greeks drink it, its anise flavour is ideal for refreshing you in the hottest days. Its alcohol content is the perfect detonator to spend a few hours of fun in the company of friends.
In Greece there are specific places, called ouzeries, where they serve this tasty drink along with small plates of food. All you have to do is sitting there and taste ouzo with ice cubes in a small glass, adding cold water eventually and eating what you just have on the table.
It, however, is not just a drink. It can also be an excellent ingredient for many recipes of the Greek culinary tradition: baked meat, pan fish. Trying ouzo liquor in the kitchen becomes an innovative way to present always new and extremely tasty recipes.
Ouzo is a traditional strong drink that every summer is consumed by the Greeks as an aperitif but also as an alcoholic drink at dinner, certainly one of the best known Greek drinks in the world. It can be enjoyed on its own or as a drink as part of a more complete meal that usually includes seafood.
Thus, from a typical drink of the Greeks, it quickly became the custom of anyone who spends their vacation in Greece. Its unmistakable anise-based flavor (the essential oils of anise are among the most powerful) conquers everyone. The monks of Mount Athos also have their own production that goes hand in hand with other grape-based spirits.
Ouzo origin and main production area is located in the heart of the Aegean Sea, on the island of Mytilini, where the first producers arrived from Asia Minor at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The island of Mytilini was then named PGI production area of the ouzo, thus confirming the close bond that the raw materials have on the Greek island, the production processes and the use of the same ouzo in the culinary tradition.
Greek ouzo is produced with a clever mix of anise, fennel and wild herbs collected from the island's mountains, has soon become an icon of Greek lifestyle. A typically Mediterranean lifestyle: relaxed, flavoursome and in company.
Despite being due to a very specific area of the country in terms of origin and production, the Greek ouzo has nevertheless been adopted as a traditional drink by a large part of the Greek population. Its characteristic flavor and its pleasant and decisive alcohol content make it one of the favourite drinks all over Greece.
Initially produced by some families originating from Mytilini and with production facilities on the island itself, today the Greek ouzo is produced more or less in all areas of the country and the brands on the market are increasingly more and more appreciated.
Among the favorites by the Greeks themselves, but also by tourists who visit Greece, you can certainly identify the Ouzo Plomari, the Barbagianni and the famous Ouzo 12. These are certainly the best known and most popular brands in bars and taverns .
For those, however, who want to try more traditional ouzo recipes, it is still possible to find small family productions that pass on from generation to generation recipes that the fathers of fathers created over a century ago. One example is the Ouzo Giannatsis, which has been producing traditional Greek ouzo on the island of Mytilini for over a century.