Ouzo: The Drink Of Greece

Greece is known for its history, its beautiful beaches, and the amazing food and drink. Even more popular than Greek wine is ouzo. A visit to Greece would not be complete without a glass of ouzo and laughs with friends. Here is everything you need to know about the most popular drink in Greece. 


The origin of ouzo is somewhat debated, but many people agree that Nicholas Katasaros founded the first ouzo distillery in 1856 with his family. That same distillery still makes the popular Greek drink to this day. 

How It's Made

Ouzo is made from the skins and stems of grapes after being used to make wine. These parts of the grapes are then distilled into a strong alcoholic liquid. Ouzo is always flavored with the licorice-tasting spice anise, but many manufacturers also use mint, mastic, and coriander. Don't expect to learn the exact recipe, because all manufacturers keep the recipe a secret. 

How to Drink Ouzo

At 40% alcohol, don't chug ouzo or take shots. While it should be cool to be refreshing on a hot day, don't refrigerate it. Most people won't add ice to the drink. However, it's common for people to add cold water, which will make it a milky color. 

Since ouzo is strong, most people enjoy one glass for hours. It's also typically enjoyed with mezethes (small plates of food) to help soak up the alcohol. Ouzo is known for sneaking up on people so be careful! Enjoy it, laugh, and experience the Greek culture associated with the drink, but drink it responsibly. 

Where to Drink Ouzo

In 2006, the Greek government determined that ouzo can only be called ouzo if it was made in Greece. For the best ouzo, try going to the island of Lesvos. 

The Greek Tragedy

Mixers are frowned upon with the popular drink.  However, there are some popular drinks that locals find acceptable. One is The Greek Tragedy This drink is 3/4 ounces of ouzo, 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth, 3/4 berry liqueur, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Strain into a Champagne chute after shaking in a shaker filled with ice. 


There are a number of different brands for people to enjoy. Each brand has a distinct taste, but they all share the same anise flavor and Greek culture. Popular brands include:

  • Ouzo 12
  • Sans Rival
  • Ouzo Barbayianni
  • Ouzo mini

If you're planning a trip to Greece, you definitely should not miss out on this distinctly Greek drink. You can also discuss other travel must-haves with a travel agency, like Delfinia Group. Keep these drinking tips in mind and remember to drink responsibly! Cheers!