Top 5 Must-Try Greek Drinks: Experience the Authentic Flavours of Greece

With your flights booked, cases packed, insurance paid for and your job already forgotten about, the most important things to think about as you are about to start your Greek adventure are what the local food and drink is going to be like. Here are 5 classic Greek alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to try as you experience this wondrous country.

1. Ouzo

Even though having this tipple in the number one spot is a bit of a cliché, it cannot be denied that Ouzo holds a special place in Greek culture as the country’s national drink. Its production dates back centuries, with its roots in Greek tradition and hospitality.

One of the customary ways to consume ouzo is by mixing it with water. When water is added to ouzo, it turns from a clear liquid to a cloudy white colour. This process is known as the “ouzo effect”. Mixing ouzo with water not only changes its appearance but also alters its taste and aroma, mellowing out the strong aniseed flavour and creating a smoother, more refreshing drink.

Ouzo is often enjoyed in social gatherings, family celebrations, and tavernas throughout Greece.

2. Tsipouro

Tsipouro is a traditional Greek spirit that is similar to other grape-based spirits like Italian grappa. It is typically produced by distilling the residue of wine pressings (grape pomace). This process results in a strong, clear spirit with a high alcohol content, usually ranging from 40% to 45% ABV.

Tsipouro has a long history in Greece, particularly in regions where winemaking is prominent, such as Macedonia, Thessaly, and Epirus. It has been enjoyed for generations, often as a homemade spirit produced by local distillers. While traditionally consumed straight or as a shot, it can also be mixed with water or ice.

3. Retsina

Retsina is a white Greek wine which has been produced since Ancient Greece. It is known for its distinct flavour, which comes from adding pine resin during the winemaking process. After fermentation, the wine is aged in barrels or amphoras lined with pine resin. During the ageing process, the resin infuses the wine with its flavour and aroma. Retsina continues to hold a special place in Greek wine culture, cherished for its unique flavour and connection to Greece’s rich heritage.

4. Greek Beer - Mythos

Greek beers often incorporate local ingredients, such as Greek barley and hops, which can give them a distinct flavour profile. Even though there are many brands we could have highlighted, Mythos is one of the most popular Greek beers, and is known for its crisp and refreshing taste that has a slightly sweet malt character and a subtle hint of bitterness.

Because of the warm climate, Greek beers are often crafted to be refreshing and easy to drink, making them popular choices, especially during the summer months or alongside Greek food. Crack open an ice-cold Mythos (or 3!) while savouring a Greek sunset, and you’ll be in heaven.

5. Greek Coffee

The tradition of Greek coffee is deeply rooted in Greek culture and has been cherished for centuries. Greek coffee is made by boiling finely ground coffee beans with water and sugar (if desired) in a special pot called a ‘briki’ or ‘cezve’. The coffee is brewed slowly over low heat, allowing the flavours to develop, and creating a rich, strong brew.

Greek coffee is traditionally served in a small cup with a glass of cold water on the side. The coffee grounds settle at the bottom of the cup, so it’s customary to let the coffee sit for a moment before drinking.

Drinking Greek coffee is a social ritual that often involves gathering with friends or family at a ‘kafeneio’ (traditional Greek coffeehouse) or at home. It’s a time to relax, chat, and enjoy the company.

P.S. It is best not to mention in Greece (and especially Cyprus) anything about the similarity between Greek coffee and Turkish coffee culture, or for that matter Greek delights and Turkish delights!