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The Truth About Ouzo

plomari ouzo

A friend once told me that drinking ouzo is an art and a way of life. I wasn't really sure what they meant by that, until I visited Mytilini. Mytilini (Lesvos) is known for its ouzo. Most café owners in Greece will agree that the best ouzo comes from there. The Mytilini ouzo brands are famous all over the country, maybe even the world.

But what I came to realize was those words my friend spoke described ouzo more accurately than anything else could. See, ouzo is not just a drink. It's not just its taste that makes it a favorite in Greece; it's the way you drink it that makes the difference. It's an experience that cannot be described.

As you probably know, the key to drinking ouzo is to eat snacks, known as mezedes. Combining ouzo with mezedes enables you to sit and drink slowly for hours, without the alcohol overwhelming your system. You will find some mezedes recipes in this site. Of course, there are countless mezedes and each taverna or kafeneio will serve different dishes. But the point is mezedes are an inseparable part of the ouzo experience.

There are several ouzo brands in Lesvos, but I'm only going to refer to a few that either are quite popular or I personally love.

Ouzo Barbayanni

The factory which produces the specific brand of ouzo Barbayanni is situated right outside Plomari along with the Greek ouzo museum visited by dozens of tourists every year and especially during the summer months. Ouzo Barbayanni is very tasty and among the most renowned in Mytilini and Greece.

Ouzo Giannatsi

From Plomari is a lovely ouzo, for example. It's distilled in an old-fashioned wood burning kazani (still). There are two varieties, one of 42% and the other 45% alcohol. Unfortunately, it's hard to find outside of Plomari.

Ouzo Mini

Is probably the most famous ouzo of Lesvos. It's mild and smooth with an alcohol content of 40%.

Ouzo Pitsiladi

Is a great distilled ouzo. Ouzo Dimini is distilled as well. It's tasty and its bottle has the shape of a still.

Ouzo Plomari

Is very popular in Greece. It's the only ouzo with a cork.

Ouzo Veto

Is popular in Andrea. It has an alcohol content of 42 % and it's quite strong. The strongest ouzo, though, is Barbayannis, of 46%. It's the most famous of the Plomari ouza.

Ouzo Kefi

Lignos is an old traditional family business which produces the tasty Ouzo Kefi. You will find it in the center of Mytilini where there is also a store from where you can buy some bottles of the famous Greek spirit as well as other drinks such as liqueurs in different tastes.

Ouzo Matis

Ouzo Matis is a very famous brand of the Greek spirit in Mitilini which has gained many awards based on its taste and quality. It is out in the market since 1882 and you can find it in every store of the island including the center of Mytilini where the production process takes place.

Finally, there's Brettos

From the distillery in Kydatheneon Street in the Plaka of Athens. It's the best non-Mytilini ouzo.

lesvos ouzo

Now, some advice as to how to consume ouzo. Eat and drink slowly. Don't be macho. Drink ouzo with water. When you pour it in the ouzo will turn into milky white. I can't tell you how much to pour, it's just a matter of taste. You should water it down as you drink it. In other words, you should keep adding water.

Most of the ouzos on Lesvos are not distilled. In other words they just buy the ingredients and then assemble them in the shops and then bottle it and sell. Some of the most popular brands are assembled rather than distilled. But it is a fact you should look for distilled ouza because they are by definition better.

plomari ouzo - ouzo bottles

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