Greece is not only known for its cuisine, but also for its unique traditional liqueurs. Many of the favorites, surprisingly enough, are derived from ingredients that have amazing health benefits as well. Let’s look at some unique selections that are perfect for the cooler autumn season, and the Greek ingredients that make these spirits truly unique!
Tendoura Liqueur from Patras
Tentura is a liqueur has been a cornerstone in Patras since the 15th century. It is full of beneficial spices that are commonly found in Greek cuisines such as fermented essences of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and Greek citrus fruits.
Many local families that make it say that they have their own “special family secret” recipe, so don’t be surprised if you taste some different flavor variants of this unique Greek liqueur!
Rakomelo comes from two words: from the liqueur, raki (ρακή) + meli (μέλι), meaning honey. This Greek mixed alcoholic drink is considered a digestive spirit and is often used as a medicinal remedy for a sore throat and cough. It is known as a regional drink of Crete, where it is produced.
When you sip this drink, you will feel it warm your throat, and go down into your stomach! It is quite strong and said to be high in powerful antioxidants such as flavonoids and a good cure for a common head cold, even Greek children are often given this liqueur when ill!
The ingredients are raki or Tsipouro combined with Greek honey along with spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, or other regional Cretan herbs.
This artesian liqueur which is a spiced nectar comes from the Greek island of Kythira, located opposite the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese Peninsula.
This drink’s name comes from a time when Venetians ruled over the island. At the time, this spiced nectar was only consumed by the wealthiest citizens — luckily this has changed. What you get with this liqueur is a base made of Hamburg Muscat grapes macerated with fruit and spices such as oranges and cinnamon sticks.
Mastic Liqueur from Chios
This tree-trunk resin has valuable health properties such as aiding in relieving digestive issues due to its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Mastiha resin also can help treat ulcers, help ease symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), help lower cholesterol, promotes liver health, and more.
This sweet liqueur is either served cold over ice, chilled or room temperature, depending on who you talk to. It is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) listed product. This liqueur is flavored with mastic distillate, or mastic oil, that comes from the mastic trees on the island of Chios.
Nowadays, a new trend is to create mastic cocktails at bars throughout Greece. So, if you like mastic, the next time you are in the country, try one out for yourself.
Kitro (Citron) Liqueur from Naxos
The Greek citron variety of Citrus medica was initially cultivated throughout the Ionian Islands, particularly Naxos and Corfu, as far back as the 17th century.
What is citron? Basically, it is one of the original 4 citrus fruits (the others being: pomelo, papeda, and mandarin). This fruit is packed with health benefits and makes a great companion to your infused water drink.
Citron is valued in Greece for its abilities to prevent cancer, encourage weight loss, reduce blood pressure, lower acidity in the gut and aid in other digestive disorders, relieve pain, strengthen the immune system — and much more.
This sweet liqueur is made from the fruit and leaves of the citron tree and is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) listed product. It is made by a distillation process of pure alcohol in traditional copper stills.