Tsipouro is a distilled spirit, a very strong alcoholic drink, some of which are made as strong as 45% alcohol per volume.
It is believed the first Tsipuro was made by the Greek Orthodox Monks on Mount Athos in the 14th Century. After the wine grapes are harvested and pressed for wine making, the grape skins are left over.
The Greeks, being inventive, used these in the distilling process and created this drink. Generally there is not a lot of flavour to this drink, although some have spices or herbs added to give a little flavour.
Aniseed has been used to flavour some brands, creating a better quality drink, and more expensive. This is more popular in the northern parts of Greece. Slightly reminiscent of Ouzo, although a different drink entirely.
Tsipouro is also known as Raki in parts of Greece. In Crete, a similar drink is made, but much stronger. This is called Tsikouthia.
You will drink this strong liquor in tiny shot glasses and that is all you need. It will leave a trail of fire down your throat as you consume it. Not too many foreigners to Greece can manage or acquire the taste for this drink.
Although it is called Raki in parts of the country, it is not to be confused with the Turkish Raki, which is an entirely different tasting drink.
Tsipouro is pronounced tsi-pour-o.
Tsikouthia is pronounced tsi-kou-thia.
Stin Iyassus - Cheers!
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