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Drinks in Greece

Find out about some of Greece's most popular drinks...

Water is always served with meals, along with wine or beer. Ouzo is drunk with mezedes but rarely with full meals, except with seafood in the summer. Most Greeks drink and in some places (rural Crete for example) it might be considered insulting to a host to refuse a drink.

Alcohol

There are many Greek drinks, the best known being Ouzo and Retsina.

  • Ouzo (Ούζο): Strong spirit flavoured with aniseed and drunk with ice and water in the hot summer; there are many varieties sold in ouzeries
  • Retsina (Ρετσίνα): White wine flavoured with pine resin. Originally made over 2,000 years ago, the pine resin was used to help prevent the wine spoiling
  • Tsipouro (Τσίπουρο): Very strong spirit, nearly pure alcohol
  • Raki (Ρακί): Very strong spirit from Crete, nearly pure alcohol
  • Rakomello (Ρακόμελο): Raki mixed with honey, cinnamon and cloves and served very warm. Drunk during the colder, winter months
  • Mavrodaphne (Μαυροδάφνη): A Greek port wine

Drunkenness

Being visibly very drunk in public is not socially accepted. There is very little unruly behaviour in Greece and drunkenness is associated, very negatively, with mainly British tourists. It is very rare to see fights, nudity, vomiting or other disruptive behaviour in Athens.

Coffee

Greek coffee, known to the rest of the world as Turkish coffee, can be ordered mono (single) or diplo (double), referring to size not strength. This is a small coffee made by heating (but never boiling) water with ground coffee. These are poured together into the cup where the grinds settle to the bottom. Greek coffee must never be stirred and must be drunk carefully so as to not drink or disturb the grounds at the bottom of the cup.

Frappé coffee is iced instant coffee, drunk mainly during warmer months. In cafés, frappés tend to be relatively strong and heavy. As they drink, Greeks often top up their frappé with water thus lightening it and extending their drinking time.

The milk served in coffee is always condensed milk, never fresh milk, and is heavier and sweeter than fresh milk.

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