There are countless reasons to visit mainland Greece and the Greek Islands from the local cuisine to the crystal clear seas, rugged landscapes, and some of the most stunning views on the planet.
When you visit Greece, you should enjoy everything it has to offer, not just the famous museums and monuments! And, I’m betting you might not have thought of the Greek drinks you should try while you’re there. Join me as we run through the most famous Greek drinks from ancient traditional wine and teas to newer Greek liqueurs.
One of the most popular alcoholic Greek drinks and one you have to try is Ouzo. Ouzo is an anise-flavored drink and is Greece’s national drink. If you asked every Greek you met what alcoholic beverage they always drink, they’d say they drink ouzo.
The national drink of Greece is made by fermenting grains or grapes and it is distilled with fennel, anise, and local herbs to create a very unique taste. Every ouzo distiller has its own special recipe and they will never disclose it.
Ouzo has a strong taste of licorice and was first produced in 1856 in Tymavos and today there are more than 300 Ouzo brands all with their own unique flavor.
Ouzo is usually kept in the freezer to ensure it’s served freezing cold and is then poured into a glass with water or over a few ice cubes. When you add cold water or add ice to ouzo, it reacts and turns milky.
If you only want to try one of the Greek alcoholic drinks on your visit, make sure it’s Ouzo as it’s a delicious drink and a traditional one too.
Traditional Greek Coffee is a spin-off of Turkish coffee and is made by adding very finely ground coffee with water and sugar to a traditional cezve or ibrik coffee pot. The pot is then heated very slowly to create a rich deep flavored coffee that is also very strong. When the coffee is served it comes with a very dark color and frothy foam texture on the top.
Greek coffee also comes in other forms, one of which is Espresso Freddo which is made by combining coffee with ice, the other is a Greek Frappe.
If it’s too hot for a coffee, try a Greek Frappe that is made by combining instant coffee with ice, water, sugar, and milk. The instant coffee is shaken up with the ingredients to create a fluffy texture and is one of the tastiest non-alcoholic Greek drinks in my opinion.
One of the unique drinks in Greece and a healthy refreshing drink you should try while you’re there is Ayran. While this isn’t one of the most popular Greek drinks, it is made for drinking at any time of day and it could even replace your daily breakfast.
Ayran is made by mixing Greek yogurt with water and salt and sometimes cucumber too. Once blended, it’s always served cold and it is a popular beverage to have at any time of the day. It’s also quite a famous Turkish drink too.
The flavors in this popular Greek drink come from it being mixed with some salt and it tastes tangy and salty, and of cucumbers, if they are mixed in there too. It’s very easy to make fresh at home too, just add the ingredients to a blender.
Tsipouro is one of the less famous Greek beverages outside of Greece but it is one of the favorite drinks in Greece with the locals.
Tsipouro has a distinct flavor that comes from Ouzo as it, like Ouzo, is a super-strong Greek Liquor. This liquor is made from distilling grape skins and any leftovers from Greek winemakers until it becomes a 45% liquor.
This popular drink in Greece used to only be made at home but has become more popular over the years and you can now try it in Tsipouro bars or meze restaurants. It’s traditionally served with a meze and or can be drunk by itself, but it’s always nice to eat Greek food at any opportunity.
You can either drink a Tsipouro flavored with or without anise and served with or without ice and even mixed with water.
Metaxa is made from grapes, and it’s not made from typical grapes, it’s made from Greek grapes only.
Metaxa is a Greek word and when translated it means silk and the Greeks refer to this drink as the silkiest and soft amber spirit on the planet and even as the “the bottled sun of the Aegean islands”.
This drink was named after its original distiller, Spyros Metaxas and it was first produced back in the 1800s. Metaxa is made from mixing Greek wines and their distillates with local botanicals such as rose pellets or nutmeg, which is then left to age in oak barrels.
Metaxa can be aged five, seven, or twelve years or even longer. This drink is usually consumed straight with a single ice cube or can be consumed in a cocktail. There are numerous cocktails you’ll find Metaxa in including coffee royale, Greek tycoon, and lots more.
Kitron is another of the Greek alcoholic drinks you have to try while in Greece. This drink is made only on the island of Naxos, and if the Kitron your drinking didn’t come from Naxos, then it’s not real Kitron. Like real champagne only comes from the champagne region of France, the same works with this drink.
This Greek alcohol is made by gathering citron tree leaves that are only collected in between autumn and winter when the leaves are full of flavor. The essential oils are then removed from the leaves by soaking them in water and alcohol, and the remains are distilled. Water and sugar are then added to get the drink to the right percentage.
Kitron has quite a particular taste and it comes in various colors and flavors depending on the local ingredients and local varieties.
Soumada is one of the best tasting, most delicious non-alcoholic Greek drinks in my eyes and it hails from the stunning island of Crete. It’s full of rich aromas, sweetness, and most people drink it in the mornings at home or at a cafe.
To make soumada the Greeks blend almond, water, and sugar which is then simmered in special sugar syrup. This mixture can have a sweet but also very bitter taste to it and therefore extra ingredients are added when it’s prepared.
Things like cinnamon sticks, orange peel, cloves, and other ingredients are added to make Soumada more palatable. You can buy it in a bottle and you should serve it cold in a tall glass.
While lemonade isn’t just a drink from Greece, it is one of the beverages that has been drunk in Greece for centuries, particularly during the summer. In fact, you’ll find this beverage all over Greece in the summer months being served everywhere.
The lemonade in Greece is prepared with a pretty standard recipe. One simply takes some fresh lemons, makes lemon juice, mixes it with some soda water, and then add sugar to taste. It tastes much better sweet in my opinion.
Sometimes limes are used and lime juice is the base depending on where you buy this drink from.
There isn’t a more refreshing non-alcoholic drink in my eyes that should be consumed while looking at the views from an amazing island.
Greek Cider is another of the Greek beverages you should have a sip of while you’re in the country. Like all forms of cider, Greek cider is made from fermented apples and it comes in many forms and is usually served chilled with things like dried flowers, and other ingredients.
You’ll find many Greek cider brands to choose from while you’re there and the most popular one in Greece is Milofetis, so start there and then try all the others too, if you’re a cider fan.
The last of the Greek Beverages you should try we are going to look at is Rakomelo. Rakomelo hails from the stunning island of Crete and it is made by mixing tsikoudia and honey.
Tsikoudia is a special liquor from Crete that is also known as Raki, and raki as you probably know is a Turkish spirit. Raki, however, is flavored with anise whereas tsikoudia is actually flavored with cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and other local spices and herbs.
Rakomelo is one of the drinks in Greece that is usually made at home by simply adding warm tsikoudia to honey. This drink is usually served warm and is enjoyed by Greeks in winter as a healthy remedy to stave off colds. But, it can also be drunk in the summer, served cold with or without ice before or after food as a digestive or aperitif.
While you’re in Greece, you can also buy a commercial version of rakomelo in a bottle if you would like to try it or bring some home.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!