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Ouzo ….

There comes a point in anyone’s travels, when you are going to meet this stuff, and indeed, the Aniseed flavour is quite intense. Often mixed with such things as Pomegranate, the choice is quite literally endless, but it’s often the “home brews” that matter the most

A small “nip” glass, with a single ice cube covered with Ouzo, deserves the “wait”, until enough melted ice water makes this unassuming liquid ready to drink. To drink it too soon before the ice starts to melt is to do it an injustice, but soon your nose will begin to register that Aniseed scent, and just as surely as the resultant milky mix draws your tongue to the end result, until you end up happily tipping it down your throat

I’ve been to Crete a few times, and sometimes your host will offer a small glass before the meal, or perhaps afterwards, it matters not when the offer is made. I was up in the mountains recently, visiting a bakery (at 11 am), when my host presented a tray with several “nip” glasses, complete with ice cubes, that were starting to turn decidedly “milky”, as Ouzo does. To say that I “partook” of this offering (a couple of times) goes without saying

For the uninitiated, the “gift” of Ouzo is one that’s expected to be accepted, both as a sign of friendship, and of also of “union”. When, in the case of that bakery, the stuff is “home-made”, the link becomes closer. By accepting, you not only compliment your host, but also his skills at making Ouzo — and when you reach for that second glass, you have a friend for life

When you leave that country, with any variation of the stuff that takes your choice, it pales into comparison with the “sharing”, the moment when you get that “smile” from the person who is offering it

I am sitting here drinking it now, but not for the Ouzo itself (although it’s an enjoyable experience) , but because every sip takes me back to Crete, and that bakers smile when I lifted that second glass …..
 

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The sharing of a host's offering, and seeing the pride that goes along with it, make intimate traveling experiences so special. Well said Purple.
 

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Metaxa, Ouzo is the best to me....
In the 70's I flew RC aircraft competition. One late evening we were hanging out at a nice fire and one of my buds brought out a Liter bottle of Metaxa Ouzo. It was passed around with the warning that you have to have a love of black liquorish, if not just smell it and see if you can stand a swig! I loved it, those that tried it were doing the Ouzo howl! hahahaaa..... Have a bottle in my basement and take it out on occasion. We have a friend that is a little Italian. She has her various bottles of Ouzo... After dinner we will do a shot each... My wife and her husband can not stand it....hahahaaa....

Purple's description is spot on... Friendship and appreciation of the brew!
Jim
 

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Beautiful story Purple. My sister in law is Danish and we have had many Smorgasbords where Aquavit is served. We have similar memories of all the toasts before each course. There seems to be at least two kinds of Aquavit that the Danes like I like the more clear one. Caraway I think is the main flavor. I’ve never tried Ouzo but I am sure I would like it. I’ve never been to Crete either but would love to go there. Thanks for sharing.
 

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I believe a good traveler is one who can figure out how to escape the easy trappings of globalized tourism and make these sort of local connections. The food, the drink, the people can rival the sights.
One really shouldn't come across as an Ugly American like some elderly friends who returned from China whining that they didn't have any good American food there.:rolleyes:
 

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I have enjoyed a nip or two of Ouzo a few times and enjoy trying what I will label "Exotic Elixirs". Some time back I was gifted a bottle of "Absente" and you just reminded me to give it a taste test as it has been stuffed in the back of my spirits closet a few years now. There is supposed to be some fancy way of preparing this stuff I will have to read up on before the test. My same customer also gifted us a bottle of fine SAKI he purchased while in Japan but we all sat that evening and emptied that bottle using the prescribed method for serving it. Very nice drink for sure.

One of my fishing buddies is a liquor distributor salesman and he know I prefer Tequilas. He is always being gifted special bottles from the brewers to promote their brand and he in turn gifts them to me. I have probably tried most of the high end tequilas in about every form with few exceptions, the ones that cost ridiculous dollars. As a tequila aficionado I can say the price has absolutely nothing to do with how good a particular brew is. Like the fine Scotch whiskeys it is an acquired taste and just because a brew is aged and claimed to be very special does not necessarily make it a great drink IMO. I happen to like the cheap tequila Jose Curervo Gold just as much as many of the higher end offerings.

We now have a few small micro breweries locally making various shades of beers and hard ciders but I have one brand of beer I enjoy and all the rest just don't do a thing for me. My wife is a wine lover and I hate the stuff. She enjoys going on wine tasting tours at some of the local wineries and I have to go with her. YUK, but I have tried a few that I can drink in very small doses. These tasting tour are a hoot though as so many begin getting lose after a few too many tastes. Pretty funny seeing a guy carrying his GF or wife out or trying to bring her under control while there.

GaryL
 
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