Ouzo is a Greek traditional aniseed flavoured spirit. The ouzo of Plomari is aproduct of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) from the EU and patented trademark of a whole category. It is produced traditionally only in Greece and is loved by both Greeks and foreigners alike, making it the national spirit of Greece.
Aniseed spirits can be found in all Mediterranean countries: Pastis in France, Sambuca in Italy, Raki in Turkey, Arak in Arabic countries, Mastiha in Bulgaria. Ouzo is superior to the other aniseed spirits because:
• it comes from superior production process (distillation) while most of the other aniseed spirits come from mixing or soaking of the aromatic seeds
• the production process is similar to gin’s and it can be only compared to the premium spirits’
• Due to its supreme quality has export activity in many countries
PLOMARI. THE BIRTHPLACE OF OUZO
Lesvos is well known for the tradition in Ouzo production and Plomari is known as the homeland of Ouzo. Its production began in Plomari, in the 19th century by Greek families and until today is distilled in the same way.
The island is endowed with fertile land and high quality ingredients from the nature. The combination of all these alongside with its geographical position between Europe and Asia, allow the local producers to make ouzo of excellent quality for many reasons. For example, anise from Lisvori is used, which is considered to be the best in the world.Also, the inhabitants of Plomari, being cosmopolitan sailors and merchants, were from a wealthy class who really knew how to enjoy the small pleasures of life. Their insularity was tied with this fragrant drink which “travelled” them away while they were not travelling with their boats. And that is how trade and exports of Ouzo were launched.
The designation “Ouzo of Plomari” is also a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) from the EU certifying the exquisite ouzo quality that is produced in the area.In fact,anouzo has to be produced exclusively in the Plomari area of Lesvos in order to be called “Ouzo of Plomari”.
THE PRODUCTION PROCESS
Ouzo is a traditional distillation product from fine ingredients of the Greek land. More specific, the distillate from cereals is used, which is placed in copper stills and is flavoured through the distillation process, with herbs and seeds; the dominant flavour is the one of the anise that gives ouzo this distinct taste.
Making ouzo is not an easy thing to do. There are many parameters and conditions. The main ones are:
1. The recipe: Everyouzo has its own unique recipe that shows which herbs and seeds and what quantities will be used in the distillation process or how many times the distillate will go through the still. A good ouzo recipe ensures a balanced aromatic character and a nice and tasty result.
2. The ingredients: The excellent quality of the ingredients is essential if we want to have an excellent result. Of particular importance are the water and the anise, which is the main aromatic ingredient of ouzo.
3. The art and mastery of the distiller: The zeal, the knowledge, the long tradition and the talentof the distiller play a very important role in the quality of the distillate.
4. Distillation with the traditional method:Based on legislation on ouzo production, at least 20% of the alcohol is required to go through the distillation process in order to be flavoured with the herbs and seeds of the recipe. Some producers choose to create ouzo from 100% distillation. In this way they achieve better refining as all the agricultural-origin alcohol passes through the distillation process, creating thus ouzo with a more harmonious character and soft texture.
5. Also, the traditional method of distillation in handmade copper stills is the only method of production that gives the distillate its distinctive character.
6. Quality controls at all stages of the production process for quality assurance
THE RITUAL OF OUZO CONSUMPTION
Ouzo in Greece is served as an aperitif to accompany appetizers and food.
The flavours that accompany Ouzo are conflicting and aggressive. Sour and salty, sweet and bitter, with ouzo always prevailing among them.Beforeorafterthemeal.Withmeatorfish.
The time of Ouzo is not just time for food. It is the time to hang out with our friends.
In many markets abroad, it is consumed as an aperitif or as a shot, because of the digestive properties of its herbs and seeds (advice: first add the water and then the ice so as you can enjoy the aroma flavoursto themaximum).