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Travel to Greece Guides > Greek Food and Wine > Greek Local Drinks

  Local Drinks

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While on your Corfu holiday, do not miss out, try some of the local drinks: Metaxa brandy, Ouzo, ice cold coffee, local wines and beers.

Metaxa Brandy

The end to any meal in a Greek Taverna is not complete without a Greek Brandy! Occasionally, I am disappointed to hear a request along the following lines: "It's time for an after dinner digestive. Do you have any proper brandies - not a Greek one?"  Let me explain why I rate Metaxa so highly:

Metaxa is distinguished as the most famous Greek spirit worldwide. It is misled as an actual brandy but in actual fact is something more. Thus, when we are talking about Metaxa we refer to this unique spirit and not to a brandy product. It was invented by a silk trader named Spyros Metaxas in 1888. He was from the Attica region - a province of Athens. The grapes Savatiano, Sultanina and Black Corinth are locally grown and form the basis of this spirit which is twice distilled and blended with aged Muscat wine from Samos, then blended with a secret botanical mix and aged in hand made oak casks. When served in a large brandy glass and warmed by the palm of your hand, the perfumed aroma is a truly intoxicating experience.

Recently, the product has earned world recognition for its quality, color and taste.  Expressions of admiration and adjectives like "The Elixir of Life", "The Nectar of the Gods", "The Blessed Spirit" accompanied Metaxa from its birth, till this very day!
Metaxa is generally available in the following versions: Three Star, Five Star, Seven Star and Twelve Star. Each star represents a year that it has been aged in oak barrels for. Hence the Metaxa 5 star is at least 5 years old. Occasionally, you will find a Metaxa 'Private Reserve' which is at least 20 years old. There is no difference in terms of quality and production process between the different Metaxa stars, as in every family, age is the only uncommon characteristic. It is worth pointing out that other Metaxa products considered as 'collector items' are occasionally available, such as the 'Metaxa Grand Olympian Reserve', and 'Metaxa Golden Age'.


Local wine

Each Taverna usually has its own wine served by the kilo (equal to a litre) - often served in metal tin jugs. The taste and standard varies tremendously. Most often than not, it will be served in a metal carafe - just enjoy!



For beer, think larger! Mythos, Amstel and Hieniken are the locally made favourites.

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Ouzo is a social drink - not to be drunk on its own - rather with friends, and preferably with a small Meze. An Ouzo Meze usually consists of a small pate with a few olives, feta cheese, local sausage and if you are lucky some grilled Octopus. Picking at these nibbles, helps keep the effects of the alcohol from overwhelming you and enables you to sit, drink and talk for hours in a profoundly calm state of mind where all is beautiful and life is fine. This not just a drink, but a part of Greek life!


If you do not like the taste of liquorice, then ouzo is not for you. Fennel extract is the main added ingredient. Ouzo is drunk with ice and water. When you add water, the ouzo turns a milky white. How much to pour in is a matter of taste, so when Ouzo is served, the water is always served separate, leaving the drinker to mix the ratio to their taste.
Occasionally, you will meet a taverna or kafenion owner who makes their own ouzo. Watch out. Though they call it ouzo, it is really 'raki' or 'tsipuro' and does not have that liquorice flavor one associates with ouzo. It is made in homemade stills and goes down smooth but it's effects are rapid and powerful. One glass won't hurt, but two might kill you!
Strangely, it is a drink that does not travel and your desire for ouzo will soon end the moment you step on the plane home!

Greek Coffee

If you normally drink an espresso after a meal, then you must try Greek coffee. It is quite strong and served in a small cup. Remember, when you order it you need to indicate how much sugar should be used when making it: Sketo - none; Metrio - one sugar; Glyko - two sugars. Also, do not make the 'tourist' mistake of drinking the sludge at the bottom! Finally, ordering one Sketos, one Metrio and one Glyko at the same time for your table will really upset your waiter as each needs to be made separately! To learn how to make Greek Coffee: Greek Coffee - how to make it






Ice cold frothy coffee - just try one on a warm summer morning. The best hangover cure yet! 







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