Greece is not your typical go-to when you recall European countries with a prolific liquor market. A wealth of culture, serene coastlines, and Mediterranean cuisine, sure, but liquor rarely figures in Greece’s image beyond languid afternoons drinking wines at a beachside restaurant. Even if it does, people rarely can name a Grecian spirit beyond ouzo, despite the state having a spread of alcoholic beverages to call its own, with recipes dating back to the 14th-century and earlier, produced by some 250 distilleries around the country.
A general lack of awareness when it comes to Greek spirits is not unfounded, especially in Asia. Though the country exports around 70 per cent of its distillates, a bulk of them go to neighbouring nations. Recently, however, Greece’s native alcohol scene has garnered some international buzz, what with its federation of spirit producers battling to increase overseas presence. There is definite promise for Grecian liquors to find footing in Asia, given how the spice-forward profiles of its boozy creations mirror the likes of the aperitifs we often consume in cocktails like the negroni (albeit with a tad more anise).
The first step in that welcome direction is The House of Metaxa’s arrival in Singapore, promoting a different side to Greek spirits with aged metaxa, a Mediterranean version of a cognac.
To get you ahead of the curve, we present our guide to the traditional boozy beverages from Greece.