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Greeks have quite a few types of drinks that can be found all over Greece or can be local to a specific area. From coffees to hard alcohol drinks, Greece is unique in many cases. The most famous is of course Ouzo which is also a registered trademark, but the Greek Coffee is also popular as well as the Frappe cold coffee for summer. The Greek wines, especially the ones we have in Rhodes are also well known, and Retsina which is again a unique wine type alcoholic drink.
Alcoholic drinks are very cheap in Greece and especially in Rhodes (due to lower taxes the Island has), compared to the rest of europe, and the quality is usually quite good, but you should know that you get what you pay... dont be fooled by very very low prices in bars, the quality will also be low.
Cafeterias are quite popular in Greece, especially during the summer, where the visitor may enjoy a cold drink cooling down the very hot days and nights... They serve all types of Italian coffees as well as the Greek ones, especially Frappe. But you can also find alcoholic drinks even at the cafeterias.
The age limit for drinking or buying alcohol in Greece is 16. Driving under the influence is frequently checked by police by roadblocks and tests using sophisticated equipment, so dont even try it!! You may end up at a filthy holding cell for a night, and if its a weekend, until Monday!! In addition, many road accidents in Greece and Rhodes happen due to drunk tourists out of control. Make sure you always have someone sober to take you back...
We will introduce the Greek Traditional drinks of Rhodes Island here:
Ouzo - The original Greek alcohol drink
Some like it, some don't. Its because of the original anise-flavored taste, its strength (about 40% ABV). It originates from the 14th century, from Tsipouro which is another original Greek drink, only Ouzo was anise flavored. Ouzo is a protected designation of origin product, which means that the name Ouzo its prohibited to be used outside Greece and Cyprus.
It is very strong, and many drink it with water, it is usually preferred with Ice. It is clear like water, but when mixed with water, it loses its transparency and becomes semi-transparent white.
My favorite Ouzo kind is Plomari, but almost any kind will taste very similar anyway.
Ouzo is best when consumed with food (almost never on its own), and especially with mezedes (a variation of small plates with various types of traditional food, either meat or fish oriented but not both)
You have to try Ouzo when you visit Greece and Rhodes (even if you dont like it right away, give it a chance, you may like it a lot after you drink it), but be careful in the beginning, 1 or 2 glasses of Ouzo may get you drunk without you noticing... At least it doesn't leave you with a big headache like other drinks would...
Emery wine maker company makes 3 Rhodian Ouzo in Rhodes, Rodini, Ouzo 13 and Rhodes. you can find more information at: www.emery.gr
Souma is a traditional drink and can be different from place to place, some make it out of figs, others out of grapes, in Rhodes you will find Souma made out of Grapes mainly. It is a strong drink with a taste of alcohol... very difficult to like unless you are a strong drinker!!! It turns white with water like Ouzo does.
Souma is usually produced at villages using traditional methods, good souma you can find in Sianna village at Manos Mastrosavvas restaurant where he produces it from generation to generation using the traditional methods. Here you can see some photos of the production process.
Word of advice: Take it easy with Souma, it is very strong and will get you drunk very fast... make sure you eat while you drink...
The Great Wines of Rhodes
Rhodes Island has a very reputable wine making tradition, due to the climate which is highly favorable to viticulture. Rhodes winters are short with plenty of rain, on the other hand there is no rain during the growing season. During the summer's heat the cool winds help the soil temperature for good wine making.
Wine making is evident and popular even from the 7th century BC...
Two major wine producers consume most of the grape produce, KAIR and EMERY. They have been winning awards in world wine competitions for many years now, making the Rhodian wine popular. The most common varieties are "Athiri", "Mandilaria" and "Moschato White"
Most of Rhodes grape wine yards are found at the Embona area, where there are also many small private producers with excellent biological wine, especially red sweet. When visiting Embona you can find this local wine quite easily and with very low prices.
From Emery wines, the very well known wines are: Mithiko, Rodofili, Villare
From CAIR wines, most popular are: Archontiko, Moulin, Rodos 2400 and the Sparkling wine CAIR Demi Sec.
For more information visit the major winemaker's websites www.cair.gr and www.emery.gr
Frappe Cold Coffee
Frappe is a cold coffee drink, very popular in Greece and in Rhodes. The good thing about it is that its easy to make, and you can drink it even without ice, just with cold water, or even not so cold water... so you can have a Frappe made anywhere you are at any time...
Its not very good for the stomach, so if you are sensitive, dont try it, and note it is quite strong and may keep you awake at night if you drink it late. But it will surely wake you up well and refreshed in the morning... and it will refresh you during the very hot days of the summer...
Almost every bar, restaurant, cafeteria, kiosk, boat, will serve you a cold frappe!!
Now you will probably like this and you will try to make it in your own country, but unfortunatelly you are probably out of luck... The Nescafe instant coffee sold outside Greece does not produce the same result... it doesnt really make the amount of foam that it makes here. I have tried this in the USA, UK and Austria and it didn't really work...
You make Frappe easily, the steps are:
1) Put a couple of centimeters (about 30ml) of water in a shaker (image 1) Dont put too much water because the foam will not be enough,
2) Add 1 to 1.5 small (about 4grams) spoons of Nescafe Classic instant coffee, sugar of your preference (1 small spoon is considered normal, 2 is considered sweet) (image 2),
3) shake it well until it ALL becomes a homogeneous foam (image 2) the foam can be up to half the glass, it depends on the amount of water and coffee you add. Note that the best way to shake it is using a frappe mixer (there are portable battery operated mixers as well as electric ones but the battery operated are not very strong)
4) poor it in a water glass, add a couple of ice cubes, and fill the rest with water until the foam reaches the top of the glass (image 3). You also need a straw. You may also add some milk if you prefer. You can drink this slowly it may even last for hours...
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