An integral part of visiting another country is discovering and trying the local food and drinks. Greek cuisine is one of the most delicious out there, and you will find out that there are plenty of local amazing drinks of Greece to try as well.
Greece’s mainland and islands are a true paradise if you like alcoholic drinks: wines, beers, spirits, and liqueurs have been made for centuries, and drinking them is a part of the local culture.
Some of them, like Ouzo, is known and loved around the world, but others are produced in small quantities, and you won’t find them anywhere else.
Enjoying a drink during a sunset aperitif, a relaxing dinner, or a fun night out will make your holiday in Greece memorable! Plus, you will have the perfect souvenir for your friends and family back home: what’s better than a bottle of an excellent Greek drink to gift someone you love?
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a local enjoying an Ouzo
Ouzo is the star on every Greek table during the aperitif. Ouzo is very similar to the sambuca liquor as it’s a dry, clear, and anise-flavored drink.
Ouzo’s birthplace is the town of Plomari, on the island of Lesvos. Today, more than 300 distilleries around Greece produce this spirit following the traditional recipe. The top-selling brand of Ouzo is Isidoros Arvanitis.
Ouzo is an important part of Greek culture and is best drunk cold on the rocks.
Also called Tsikoudia, Raki is a spirit produced in Crete. It is made from all the leftovers of wine production: grape skins and other remains are fermented for six weeks and then distilled twice. The main flavor you will taste drinking Raki is anise.
In almost every village in Crete, there are at least two families that have the official license to produce Tsikoudia. However, you can taste this incredible spirit everywhere in the Cycladic islands.
During your holiday in the archipelago, make sure to drink Raki at the end of your meal, served icy cold.
Tsipouro is a popular spirit made in several Greek regions, including Thessaly, Epirus, and Macedonia. Tsipouro was first produced during the 14th century by a group of Orthodox monks on Mount Athos.
You should drink Tsipouro only if you like strong flavors, as this distilled spirit has 40-50% alcohol. It is made from fermented grape skins once the juice has been extracted.
There are several varieties of Tsipouro, so depending on where you are in Greece, you can taste one specific type. For instance, in Thessaly and Macedonia, Tsipouro is anise-flavored, so it tastes very similar to Ouzo.
Get ready to have a great aperitif with local mezé (appetizers) and a freezer-cold glass of Tsipouro!
Complimentary Tsiporou and cake after a meal
If you have to try at least one alcoholic beverage in Greece, that should be wine! Greece was a major wine producer in ancient times, so drinking wine is an integral part of the country’s culture, and things have come a long way since Retsina and Domestica of the late 1900’s.
There are many different Greek wines, perfect different moments of a meal, different food and different palates. From deep reds to sweet wines, sit at the table of a traditional taverna and get ready to sip!
Retsina is one of the most popular Greek wines. It is a white wine with a distinctive flavor thanks to the infusion of the resins of Aleppo pine in it. Two varieties of grapes, the Assyrtiko and the Savatiano are used to make the Retsina wine. The taste of the wine varies depending on the grapes used to make it.
The best way to enjoy Retsina is by accompanying it with a platter of rice and vegetable-stuffed dolmades, or fresh sardines.
A very special wine is the red Limniona, made with the namesake grapes, which is quite a rarity in Greece. Mainly produced in Thessaly, Limniona is a wonderfully aromatic wine with a complex flavor profile, including blueberry, licorice, basil, and thyme.
Limniona is perfect for drinking while indulging in the cuisine of northern Greece, rich in food that is butter-based instead of olive oil. One of the best combos is a glass of Limniona with the classic dish moussaka!
This is an grape indigenous to Santorini and much sought after. It has won numerous awards and is considered one of the best wines to be produced by Greece. In fact it also has PDO status – Protected Designation of Origin Santorini.
The unusual and very rich volcanic conditions on Santorini meand it is grown in mineral rich volcanic soil but in often windy conditions leading to very unique wine making techniques.
If you are visiting Santorini we highly recommend you do a tour at one of the wineries to learn more about this. And a tasting too of course!
Santorini also offers one of the other best wines in Greece, the Vinsanto, also known as ‘the Ambrosia of the Gods’. Vinsanto is made from a rare, sun-dried grape that can only grow in the island’s volcanic soil.
This classic dessert wine is a deep red color with amber tints and has an incredible flavor profile, with its distinctive taste of sweet spices mixed with dried fruits.
There is no better way to end a meal than eating a dessert, a fruit, or a platter of soft cheeses while drinking a glass of Vinsanto on the side.
a wine flight at Santo Winery, Santorini
unique winemaking techniques on Santorini
wine tasting at Kostantakis winery on Milos
A fantastic wine from Central Peloponnese is the Moschofilero. It is an aromatic white wine with flavorful notes of peaches and lemon.
Given the flavor profile, Moschofilero pairs amazingly with seafood dishes, salads with fresh herbs, and yogurt and sour cream dips (such as tzatziki).
A popular wine in northern Greece, Malagousia is a rich white wine with several characteristics similar to Chardonnay. While drinking it, you will taste hints of peaches, fresh herbs, and flowers.
To enjoy Malagousia at its best, accompany it with olive oil-based dishes, especially seafood, vegetable stews with herbs, and fresh salads.
Widely produced in Attica and Central Greece, Savatiano is a perfect ‘meal wine’ that will delight every aperitif or dinner!
This unique white wine has an earthy and fruity flavor that matches heavily with marinated meats and spicy food.
If you like the French Cabernet Sauvignon, make sure to try a glass of Agiorgitiko.
Agiorgitiko is an indigenous grape from the Nemea region in the Peloponnese that gives birth to a wonderfully full-bodied, fruity red wine with a hint of spices (like nutmeg and oregano). You can also get a rosé version of Argiorgitiko with an amazing deep pink color.
Agiorgitiko wine pairs wonderfully with roasted meats, tomato sauces, and spices.
Xinomavro is a cherry red wine from Naoussa, a village on the island of Paros. This world-class wine has a rich and complex aroma of red and black fruits. As it ages, Xinomavro matures the characteristic tomato and olive fragrances, followed by plum, cherry, and spice flavors.
Incredible with any type of meat, don’t miss the chance to taste a glass of Xinomavro while eating a platter of wine-flavored cheeses.
If you enjoy the sweet Muscat, you need to try the one produced on Samos Island. With a beautiful golden color, Samos Muscat has expressive notes of honey and citrus with added hints of apricot and tropical fruit.
As with every Muscat, it’s a delicious pairing to any dessert dish, especially the ones with chocolate!
An ancient grape, the Limnio variety is indigenous to the Greek island of Lemnos.
Limnio is a light red wine with an elegant aroma dominated by fresh, aromatic herbs and red berry fruits.
Limnio is amazing paired with aged cheeses, game meat, and roasted dishes.
wines of Monemvasia
one of the many wine growing regions of Crete
Skouras Winery Nemea, Peleponnese
There is nothing better than a cool beer during the Greek summer heat!
There are breweries all over Greece, so you will have plenty of choices when it comes to beer. Here’s a list of the best beers you can try in Greece.
Mythos, Fix, and Alpha
These are the three big commercial brands found in every liquor store and sold in most bars and tavernas.
Mythos is the most popular beer in Greece and is sold all over the world. It is actually now owned by the Danish Carlsberg Company but continues to be made in Greece.
Launched in 2018 by the Athenian Brewing Company and Mamos family brewing in Patras this beer played a big part in the craft beer revolution in Greece and continues to be a firm favorite with locals.
A popular label made in Argus, in the Peloponnese, Zeos counts six different beers, including Pilsner, Lager, and Black Weiss. The main flavor of the label is honey.
Hailing from the Macedonian Thrace Brewing Company in Komotini in Northern Greece this beer is very popular in Thessaloniki and other places in the north but can be found across the country.
Voreia beer is produced in Thessaloniki. The label has different beers, but you really should try the Imperial Porter, with a distinct hint of cinnamon and vanilla.
You will spot this beer everywhere on the island of Evia. The label has numerous different beers, including a Pilsner, pale ale, and golden ale.
Nisos is a great beer produced on the island of Tinos. It is a 100% natural Pilsner made with organic products and flavored with local herbs.
If you are not convinced already by the fun name, the Santorini Donkey is a fabulous label that produces yellow, white, and red beers. Make sure to try the Red Donkey, a full-bodied amber ale.
The Santorini Volkan brewery makes two very popular beers, the Santorini Blonde and Santorini Black.
Made with rare Santorini grape honey and citrus, the Santorini Volkan perfectly expresses the peculiarity of the island’s soil.
The Black Santorini is a very rich-bodied beer with intense aromas and an impressive black color that mimics the island’s black cliffs.
The Special Red is a Corfu-based brewery that makes a wonderful amber ale that is unpasteurized and unfiltered. It’s a slightly sweet beer with a delicate fruity flavor.
Produced by Laconian Brewery in Sparta on the Peloponnese, this is an aromatic craft beer, full of malt and a light bitter taste and medium carbonation. It is very popular on the Mainland and is great with almost everything.
The Kumquat is a special liquor produced on the island of Corfu. What is so special about it is that it is made by the distillation of a particular fruit, the kumquat, which is native to China. It was first brought to Corfu in 1860, and it has become the locals’ favorite ever since.
The kumquat is a small tangerine with sweet-tasting skin and bitter flesh, which makes it the perfect ingredient for a liqueur!
There are two versions of the Kumquat liqueur, the ‘white’ and the ‘red’. The white liquor has a 15% content of alcohol, and it is made from kumquat pulp. It’s usually served after a meal, accompanied by coffee.
The red Kumquat (20% alcohol) has a sweeter taste and is made from the fruit’s skin. It is served on the rocks or mixed with other ingredients to make cocktails.
Mastiha is a liquor produced on the island of Chios. It has a very distinct flavor that comes from the main ingredient used in its production, the resin of the mastic tree, that grows on the island.
Mastiha has been produced for over 2,500 years and the drink was believed to aid digestion and soothe stomach ulcers. The sap of the tree was also the original ‘chewing gum’ and much prized by the Ottoman Sultans who gave indemnity to the Matik farmers of Chios when the Chios Massacre occurred. To this day the resin is often referred to as ‘Mastic Tears’.
In the production process, the trees are tapped for their sap which falls into the white powder spread out around the base of the trunks. Then it is harvested and made into a number of products including soap, shampoo, and food and drinks. To make the liqueur the resin is mixed with sugar and then distilled. The resulting flavor is herby with a sharp note of fresh pine.
To enjoy Mastiha at its best, drink it really chilled at the end of a meal. If you are not a fan of liquors, you can mix Mastiha with Prosecco or other ingredients to create delicious cocktails for an aperitif.
If you are on the island of Naxos, you need to try the local liquor, Kitron. The main ingredient to make it is the citron tree, which grows on Naxos.
The citron tree’s fragrant leaves, similar to a lemon, were first used to produce the liqueur nearly 200 years ago.
There are two seasonal distilleries on the island, Vallindras, and Pomponas, which offer tasting sessions!
To make the Kitron, the leaves are mixed with water and distilled several times. There are three different types of Kitron that vary in sweetness and alcohol content.
Kitron is served as an aperitif before the meal. The best place to try it? The Kitron Café Cocktail Bar in Naxos Town, where the liquor is used to prepare delicious cocktails and the Kitron sorbet.
Made in the port city of Patras, Tentura is a fantastic liquor to try. Produced since the 15th century, the name Tentura comes from the Italian word for tincture. The reason it has this name is the intense coppery color resulting from the fermentation of locally grown citrus fruits mixed with cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. The base spirit for making Tentura is usually brandy.
Drink Tentura at room temperature in a glass on the rocks alongside an appetizer or a dessert. A special way to taste Tentura is by adding it to coffee.
Pistachio from Aegina
Aegina island is famous worldwide for its pistachios, which grow in abundance there. It’s not only the best end to a meal, but a bottle of the liqueur will make a fantastic gift to bring back home too.
Masticha bushes on Chios Island