In my short tenure as a world traveler i have traveled to all kinds of really cool places and seen all kinds of wonderful things as well as been able to taste the foods and enjoy the cultures. One of the things I never do when I am traveling is to eat anything that might remotely be American fast food. When i am out and about somewhere in the world I want to taste what the locals eat and drink.
In fact we were talking just last night about drinks and drinking traditions and there’s this drink that they have in Crete called Tsipouro which is often offered at the end of a meal in a Taverna or a household…and I think you can buy it just about anywhere. It comes from the pomace or residue of the wine press and is about 45% alcohol. I didn’t know that at first. My Greek friends just said that I had to try it since I was traveling to Crete. So I did.
I have to say…I don’t particularly care for it. Even the little bit that you get at the end of a meal is enough to knock you off your feet. In my opinion there are much better things to drink at the end of a meal in Crete. My favorite is Masthica, a specialty liquor that is only produced in Greece since the plant that it is made from only grows on one Greek Island.
I’ve heard that they have tried to replicate the growing conditions so that the plant could be cultivated in other places but that efforts to do that have failed 100%. So Masthica continues to be unique to Greece.
The other liquor that i personally like is Ouzo. If you don’t like the taste of licorice (anise) then don’t bother. But i like the taste. In Hollywood type movies you might see people drinking shots of Ouzo and then dancing a lot before they all pass out. But during my travels to Greece I was introduced to a more civilized way to drink it.
Pour your ouzo into a glass and then drop ice cubes into the liquor and instantly the liquor turns from a clear liquid to a milky white. In Greece, in the summer, because it’s hot the ice melts at about the same rate as you might sip the liquor so while you might get a little buzz you probably won’t pass out from a little ouzo that’s been watered down with melting ice.
So the next time you travel to Greece try one, or all three and let me know what you think.