What is ouzo?

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May 11th, 2000, 12:50 PM
  #1
Mercury
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What is ouzo?

Going to Greece soon and I keep hearing about ouzo. Can anyone tell me exactly what it is. Many thanks!!

 
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May 11th, 2000, 12:55 PM
  #2
Thyra
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Ouzo is a strong, licorice tasting liqueur, that is best when sipped slowly. Check out www.greektravel.com for any and all information about Greece
Including the best place to buy Ouzo. I have had it in the US and it tasted a bit like Nyquil, but I can't vouch for the quality of that particular brand. A true affectionado could no doubt tell you more.
 
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May 11th, 2000, 12:59 PM
  #3
elvira
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Vengeance of the Greek gods for abandoning them.

The only legal, drinkable liquid that you can light on fire without warming it first.
 
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May 11th, 2000, 01:09 PM
  #4
frank
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Ouzo is an aniseed based spirit used for sprinkling on salads and lighting fires.
Also avoid "raki" a drink composed of resin and resin.
 
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May 11th, 2000, 01:31 PM
  #5
frank
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What is the worst "local" drink you have tasted?
1)Italian whiskey ( called V5)
2)Indian coconut spirit
3)Ouzo
4)Raki
Any more?
 
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May 11th, 2000, 01:48 PM
  #6
rand
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Worst? Bantu Beer. Fermented fruit and vegetable bits indiscriminately mixed. Not filtered, so still lumpy. Sold in 'milk cartons' at any store next to the milk.
 
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May 11th, 2000, 03:24 PM
  #7
Scott
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In all Greek resturants that I've been in in Europe the waiter brings you a shot of Ouzo. Most of the time it is cold. I prefer to place a bottle in the freezer then when it is frozen take it out, by the time that you take the cap off it will have liquified. I prefer to shot it rather than sip, it is very strong but if you shot it almost frozen you can't really taste it, but then your neck starts to warm and this sinsation moves down to your chest. It works wonders if you are sick. I've been told that there is a big difference between what is sold in the U.S. and here in Europe and that U.S. military are not supposed to drink it in Europe because it may contain Opium (sp). I don't know this to be true but I can say that this Ouzo packs a big punch
 
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May 11th, 2000, 08:48 PM
  #8
Beth Anderson
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ouzo is disgusting. the reason they freeze it is so you cannot taste it as much. try it, by all means - if you are in greece you have to - but I bet you do not like it.
 
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May 11th, 2000, 11:32 PM
  #9
just
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This stuff sounds alot like Jagermeister, another foul-tasting, cough syrupy drink that supposedly has some opium derivatives in it.
 
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May 12th, 2000, 03:09 AM
  #10
s.fowler
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Ouzo and its Balkan relative, rakija, are fire-waters of the highest order. Do NOT drink without food close at hand!

The worst drink has to be what is described as follows: Bitter Herb Liqueur - A Hungarian national herb drink. Yes folks. It's UNICUM.It was presented to us by our Hungarian host at breakfast. Without being specific, may I say the relationship between my breakfast [ingested] and my body was nearly altered by this unique item. Hungarians swear by it -- they can keep it. [And as much as I love Hungarians and Hungary, it makes me wonder....]
 
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May 12th, 2000, 03:23 AM
  #11
frank
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I forgot grappa (how could I ever forget grappa),a Sicilian aperitif.

The idea is to drink it as an appetizer, as you will immedediately eat anything put in front of you, just to get rid of the taste.
It is truly the worst in my experience.
 
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May 12th, 2000, 07:17 AM
  #12
lindi
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UNICUM was first made hundreds of years ago by the doctor of a king. The king was very sick, and his doctor made him this drink from hundreds of herbs. He ordered him to drink some daily, and guess what, the king soon became healthy again. S.Fowler you are right, Hungarians love it! But I guess you have to taste it more than once to get used to its taste. We often give a small bottle of UNICUM as a gift from Hungary, and a Canadian friend once said that when we go to Hungary, would we bring him a couple of bottles of Unicum? He loves it!
As for Ouzo, they sell it in different strengths, just look for the number on the bottle. My mom drinks it with lots of ice or watered down. I don't like anis, but then I'm not drinking age anyway yet. But I like Unicum, it tastes bad, but "good bad"!
 
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May 12th, 2000, 07:31 AM
  #13
dan woodlief
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I don't know if it was the worst, but one of the strongest was kirschwasser (cherry brandy) in Germany's Black Forest region. I think it is about 90 proof. Jet fuel, if you ask me.
 
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May 12th, 2000, 07:33 AM
  #14
Brian in Atlanta
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Grappa is indeed hard to swallow, but Mezcal (Mexico) is worse.
 
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May 12th, 2000, 07:35 AM
  #15
Rex
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Frank,

If you have any bottles of grappa you bought and brought home, not realizing what it was - - please send them to me.
 
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May 12th, 2000, 07:41 AM
  #16
Paulo
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Just trying to set the record straight ...

Frank, I guess you're referring to "retsina", a white resinous wine. We experimented it in our first night out in Athens ... it tasted weird. As we went along in Greece we insisted tasting it at dinner and it tasted better each time out (our wives scratched it from their menu, though). The taste varies depending which king of wood was used to provide the resin.

Raki is the Turkish counterpart to Greek's Ouzo, which in turn is quite similar to the French Anisette (with Pernaud as the most known brand). You may have it as a shot, like Scott explains or sip it diluted in water with thinly crushed ice (more like a refreshment drink).

The Grappa is a grape distillate. The traditional grappa has no colour because it's not aged in wooden casks (like the cognac). In the Middle Ages it was called "acqua di vita" and was used to help farmers go through low winter temperatures and to heal diseases. As such, though nowadays it's produced all over Italy, it's origin was certainly in the mountainous north (and not Sicily). There's a city near Vicenza in the Veneto that has adopted the spirit in its name: Bassano del Grappa.

Paulo
 
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May 12th, 2000, 07:47 AM
  #17
Paulo
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I'm afraid Rex you're not alone. I'm also a candidate to get Frank's unwanted bottles
Paulo
 
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May 12th, 2000, 08:08 AM
  #18
elvira
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The Basque herb liquor, Izarra, which is pretty bad.

Coors Light and several Italian beers of the same ilk.

Cheap metaxa (even the good stuff is iffy)

My first experience with ouzo: college roommate married a Greek guy; at the wedding reception, the groom's male relatives all stood at the bar drinking this clear liquid - THAT THEY WOULD SET ON FIRE, BLOW OUT THE BRIGHT BLUE FLAMES, THEN DRINK IT. I couldn't figure out why, during the church service, I kept smelling licorice. I thought all the guests had eaten Good'n'Plenty as some sort of Greek tradition.
 
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May 12th, 2000, 08:53 AM
  #19
Ariel
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I think some of you missed the cultural experience of some of these drinks. while I haven't tried some of the the more internesting ones mentioned, I do drink raki when in Turkey (with my husband's family). We sit on the balcony of their summer house, overlooking the Med and watching the sun set and we eat meze (cold appetizers) and talk about everything. The actual process is to take a sip of raki and then a small bite of food. The point of such a 'meal' is to talk for many hours, eat some good food and drink slowly.

Anyone goingto Greece or Turkey should not AVOID these drinks, but look for the opportinuty to enjoy them as they are intented.
 
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May 12th, 2000, 09:00 AM
  #20
frank
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Raki-you are right I meant retsina.I have tried Jaegermeister its horrid.I have no grappa, I was given it by a malicious "friend" years ago, I can still taste it.
 
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