Ouzo

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Ouzo_-_plomari.jpg
Pic of bottle of ouzo that was consumed shortly after pic was taken.

Ouzo (ούζο) is a Greek anise-flavored liqueur that is widely consumed in Greece. The name is of uncertain origin, but dates back to the late 19th century. It is a substitute for absinthe without the wormwood.

The history of ouzo is somewhat murky, but some claim it may date back in one form or another to ancient times. Its precursor is raki, a drink distilled throughout the Byzantine and later Ottoman Empires, often in those days of quality approaching moonshine (similar liquors in Turkey and many Arab countries still go by that name).

Modern ouzo distillation largely took off in the 19th century following Greek independence, with much production centered on the island of Lesvos, which claims to be the originator of the drink and remains a major producer. In 1932, ouzo producers developed the method of distillation using copper stills, which is now considered the canonically proper method of production. One of the largest producers of ouzo today is Barbayiannis (Βαρβαγιάννης), located in the town of Plomari in the southeast portion of the island.

Ouzo starts as a strong spirit made from pressed grapes or raisins. Other herbs and berries may also be added at the fermentation stage. The distinctive smell of ouzo comes from the addition of anise (or star anise) as a flavouring, but other ingredients, varying according to the producer, are also used; common ingredients include coriander, cloves, angelica root, liquorice, mint, wintergreen, fennel, hazelnut, cinnamon and lime blossom. The alcohol and flavourings are placed in warmed copper stills and distilled; higher-quality ouzos may be distilled several times. The resulting spirit is then cooled, stored for a few months, and then diluted, usually to around 40% ABV.

In modern Greece, ouzeri can be found in nearly all cities, towns, and villages. These cafe-like establishments serve ouzo with mezethes -- appetizers such as octopus, salad, sardines, calamari, fried zucchini, and clams, among others. It is traditionally slowly sipped (usually mixed with water or ice) together with mezethes shared with others over a period of several hours in the early evening. When water or ice is added to ouzo it turns milky white; this is because the key aromatic compounds known as terpenes are soluble in alcohol but not water. Diluting ouzo to less than around 40% ABV causes the terpenes to crystalise out of the solution and scatter light.

In many areas, individuals or small-time local producers make tsipouro, which is essentially a home-made small-batch variant of ouzo. The taste of tsipouro varies widely by producer, but many Greeks prefer their favorite local tsipouro to the more commonly-available brands of mass-produced ouzo. The traditional hospitality greeting for travellers visiting the monasteries at Mount Athos is a small glass of tsipouro and a loukoumi, a candy-like homemade treat.

Church of Ouzo: Founded in 1984 and named after the great star called Wormwood that fell from heaven and poisoned the waters in the book of Revelation 8:10-11. Ouzo is a substitute for absinthe without the wormwood.

External links

nl:ouzo fi:Ouzo sv:Ouzo

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