What are some common and popular Greek beverages?

By: | Post date: 2017-01-01 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Modern Greek

  • Coffee:
    • Turkish coffee (renamed Greek coffee) for the older generation
    • Frappé coffee for the younger generation
    • Instant coffee (“Nes”) as a lighter, more western option
    • Variants such as Vienna Coffee for a night out
    • Nursed for hours at a café
    • First beverage at home in the morning
  • Herbal teas
    • Sage, Camomile, Nettle
    • Drunk when you’re ill, as a restorative
    • Stereotypically associated with old people; hence Zambetas’ great lyric, Οι νέοι θέλουν έρωτα, κι οι γέροι χαμομήλι, “The young need love; the old need camomile”
  • Tea
    • That thing that English people drink
    • Traditionally treated as a counterpart of herbal teas: a health drink, rather than a social drink
  • Wine
    • The traditional drink of feasting and celebration; can be seen at the dining table
    • Not watered since Byzantium
    • But already resinated since Byzantium (see below)
    • Traditionally, there’s some homebrew lurking around in the village; buying a decent commercial vintage is a nouveau things
    • There are fine venerable distinctive grapes in Greece—Category:Grape varieties of Greece – Wikipedia is a long list. But traditionally, people drink whatever’s handy locally. In my experience, it’s on the sour and unsubtle side.
  • Retsina
    • Resinated as a preservative
    • A tart taste that makes no sense outside Greece, but a lot of sense with lamb chops with oregano
    • Default drink of the taverna
    • Endearingly served in tin pitchers
  • Beer
    • Introduced with the Bavarians in the 1830s. The venerable and recently revived brand Fix was originally Fuchs.
    • In my youth, there were just two brands: Amstel and Heineken (locally called “Green”), with an occasional showing of Löwenbräu. There’s a lot more now, including local brews (and the beginnings of microbrews).
    • Traditionally the secondary, lighter alternative to wine; more common (I think) when going out than in feasts at home.
  • Raki/Tsikoudia/Tsipouro
    • Traditional hard drink
    • Drunk straight in shot glasses
    • If you’ve had grappa, you’ve had raki. It’s a Pomace brandy.
    • Drunk with mezze (tapas)
    • Much more a drink of manly men celebrating each other’s manliness than a feast drink
  • Ouzo
    • Variant of raki
    • Drunk straight in shot glasses, or watered down in tumblers
    • Actually corresponds to Turkish rakı, with the whole aniseed flavour and the turning white with water
    • Drunk in ouzeries (tapas joints), and I assume by manly men celebrating each other’s manliness
  • Whisky
    • The urban and urbane counterpart to raki
    • The choice of the Greek going to a Western-style bar
    • The choice of the Greek showing off their affluence
  • Coke
    • Default soft drink, like it is eveywhere
  • Sprite
    • Second default soft drink, like it is eveywhere
  • Gazoza
    • Traditional equivalent to Sprite, though a bit more lemony
    • Fell out of favour in the last few decades
  • Visinada
    • Sour cherry juice (or cordial, and sometimes carbonated)
  • Byral
    • A local imitation of Coke
    • Big in the 60s, before Coke was launched locally

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